Thursday, October 11, 2012

9/11 Memorial

Just back from a few chilly days in Vancouver - lots to tell you about but whilst I gather my thoughts, I'll catch up with a piece I wrote a few weeks ago.

Whilst in New York a few weeks ago, we visited the 9/11 memorial on the site of the twin towers. It was a moving experience and I hope my comments don't minimise the significance of this site. As a memorial it is very meaningful with two vast sunken pools marking the positions of the two towers. Water trickles down the sides of these black pits from perfectly engineered ledges just below the lips. In the centre of these huge square craters, the water drops again into even deeper hollows.   Around the top of the pools  the names of the 3000 victims of both the 2001 and the 1993 terrorist attacks are engraved in the bronze rims. These are beautiful and poignant reminders of that awful event.

The pools are set in a landscaped plaza which will be the core of the new developments rising  around the perimeter of the site. The landscape is a simple and formal mix of paving, grass, blocks of green ivy groundcover and 400 swamp white oaks. This is Quercus bicolor, a North American native, used for lumber production as well as landscaping.

One particular tree was different - a single specimen of Pyrus calleryana, a native of China, more commonly seen in the UK as the cultivar 'Chanticleer'. This particular tree is known as the Survivor tree and was a part of the landscaping of the original World Trade Centre Plaza, planted in 1970. After the 9/11 disaster, the tree was found, reduced to a stump but still alive amongst the wreckage. It was retrieved and nursed back to health in a nearby park. Once again in 2010 it was wrecked, this time by a storm but still survived. In December 2010 it was moved to its current location as part of the 9/11 memorial and despite supporting guy wires, appears to the not just surviving but thriving.

The Survivor Tree
Visiting the memorial at the moment means a timed ticket, thorough security checks and snaking through to what is really the centre of a vast building site. The museum is not yet open but the plaza and the pools are well worth visiting. More information

1 World Trade Center, one of the new towers, surrounding the Memorial Plaza

1 comment:

  1. The survivor tree tree, very apt for such a poignant place...