In 1609, representing the Dutch, Henry Hudson sailed into what is now called New York’s harbor. The city was founded on the premise of trading goods, cultures, services and ideas. This is what set New Amsterdam apart from the colonies being established in Massachusetts and Virginia where the settlers came for religious freedom. The British took over in 1664, renamed the city New York. The two cultures worked together to transition a new government because it was in the best interest of both parties. It was the land of opportunity through tolerance. Unless you are descended from the American Indian, your family left their homes to form a new life here. Immigration is what built America.
In 1673, the Dutch reclaimed the city and renamed it New Orange. This only lasted 15 months and the British regained control until the American Revolution. This melting pot of ideas and tolerance built this country.
Now, 10 years after the events of 911, a Memorial has been established to remember what happened 10 years ago. After clearing through security, you enter the new 911 Memorial site in an orderly procession about a block from the security area. You enter a “holding pen” based upon the time of the ticket and then walk to the site. This is still a construction site as the new buildings are worked on 24 hours a day. The new World Trade Center is being built just like the Empire State Building, one floor per day. The cement trucks take priority in the crossing areas. The drivers are responsible for delivering the concrete to the site before it hardens.
The site of the 911 Memorial is stunning. The voids where the two towers once stood have been replaced with two fountains. The two spaces incorporate a square border of stone with water cascading into nothingness. Instead of only feeling the sense of emptiness, the water cascading down the sides and into the void constantly replenishes the space, signifying rebirth and vitality as an inspirational reminder of a life cycle. The names are carved into a bronze plate around the fountain. The raised letters capture the time and place of the people that lived and worked together to signal a life in context as co-workers, friends and family are placed in groups rather than alphabetical.
The trees add a softening to the space from glare of the buildings under construction around the site.
It’s a place to remember how New York started, the people that lived and worked in the World Trade Center Towers. From the very beginning of world trade, let’s hope that people will continue to reach out and learn from one another and continue to share ideas. It is in everyone’s best interest by each of us for all of us.