September 10, 2012

The 9/11 Memorial That Will Soon Be Homeless

One of the emblems of the original World Trade Center was the large modernist sculpture that sat at the center of the huge windswept plaza.  Called "The Sphere" it was made by the German scultptor Fritz Koenig and placed on the site in 1971.  Despite the collapse of the twin towers around it, it remained remarkably intact with some holes and dents to its bronze skin.  Six months after the attacks it was relocated to Battery Park where it remains today with an eternal flame burning at its base.

This weekend, the Times City Room blog ran a story about a group of volunteers who decided to clean the memorial as the 11th anniversary approaches. One of them, Michael Burke, lost a brother on 9/11 who was a NYC fireman. This fall, a massive renovation of Battery Park will displace The Sphere.  Unfortunately, it has nowhere to go. The 9/11 Mueeum doesn't want it for its collection and the 9/11 Memorial Commission does not want artifacts cluttering up the plaza.  There is a plan to place it in Liberty Park, a part of the Trade Center site development on Liberty Street, but that is not even due for completion until around 2014.

So until then, this remarkable piece of 9/11 history will probably have to go back into storage. It's really a shame the city or the Port Authority can't find a better way to take care of this monument and keep it in the public eye until the new park is ready.

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