Ground Zero

Ground Zero

The term "Ground zero" was primarily used in English for the site of an atomic bomb explosion. However, after the tragic terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001 on New York's Twin Towers, the skyscrapers of the World Trade Center, it became the name of the area of Lower Manhattan where the attacks occurred.

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The original World Trade Center complex consisted of 7 buildings, of which the two nearly identical skyscrapers called the Twin Towers were the tallest buildings in the world for a long time with their height of 420 meters. However, after the attacks of September 2001, which are still vividly remembered by many of us, there is practically nothing left of the World Trade Center. Both the North and South towers collapsed, taking all the surrounding buildings with them.

After the removal of nearly 2 million tons of debris, which took more than 8 months, the empty site was spontaneously given the name Ground Zero. Adjacent to Ground Zero is a new World Trade Center skyscraper called One World Trade Center.

The National 9/11 Memorial: two infinity pools

The main site of Ground Zero is an almost mystical memorial consisting of two pools, called the Reflecting Absence Project. The two identical 4,000m2 poolsexactly replicate the foundations of the Twin Towers, with artificial waterfalls created around their perimeter, falling into the depths in the middle of the pool, with the bottom of the pool not visible from any point along the perimeter.

The water falling into the infinite void symbolizes the loss of life and feelings of physical desolation after the attacks.

Around the perimeter of the pools, bronze plaques are engraved with the names of 2,983 victims, 2,977 of whom were killed in the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 and 6 victims who died after the 1993 WTC garage bombing.

The memorial was unveiled on the 10-year anniversary of the attacks and includes, among other things, the so-called Survival Tree, a tree that miraculously survived the fall of the rubble and is now surrounded by dozens of other trees.

White roses by the names of the victims

When you arrive at the 9/11 Memorial, you will notice several white roses stuck into seemingly random names on the plaques with the names of the victims each day. These white flowers are placed each morning by the staff of the adjacent museum next to the names of those who would have had birthdays that day.

Of course, you'll also see other flowers or American flags stuck in, brought by relatives or friends of the victims.

9/11 Museum

Just steps from the pools, visit the underground museum that covers all the events of the terrorist attacks and preserves the memories for future generations. Although many people approach the terrorist attack museum with a dismissive attitude beforehand, we can definitely recommend a visit.

The events of 9/11/2001 were significant for the entire world, and the museum accentuates this fact in a very matter-of-fact way, along with a very tasteful remembrance of the sacrifices made by ordinary people and the firefighters and police officers who helped clean up the aftermath of the attack.

One of the main displays is part of the surviving structure of one of the towers or a fire truck partially crushed by the fall of the skyscrapers.

An emotional part of the exhibition, called Memorial Hall, displays photographs and stories of all of the nearly 3,000 victims, as well as audio recordings of people around the world describing how they felt and what they were doing when they heard about the attacks. Hand on heart, those of you who remember the terrorist attack in New York will know exactly where you were at that moment.

Cones of Light to the Sky

Every year on the evening of 9/11, powerful spotlights placed at the exact center of the pools, the center of the foundations of the North and South Towers of the former Twin Towers, light up to create the memorial illusion of buildings pointing to the sky.

Accommodation near Ground Zero

You'll find a number of larger hotels in Lower Manhattan, but due to the location's considerable exposure right in the commercial heart of New York City, expect prices most often between 5,000 and 293 eur per night. The hotels closest to Ground Zero are the ones we'd recommend with good ratings and reasonable prices by local standards:

How to get to Ground Zero?

Ground Zero is located in Lower Manhattan and is easily accessible by subway, but you can easily get around the attractions in this part of the city on foot.

One of these attractions is the nearest subway station connected to the Westfield Shopping Center, which has a very interesting architectural entrance. This entrance is combined into one giant WTC Transportation Hub, which connects these subway stations:

  • WTC Cortlandt: red line 1
  • Cortlandt St: yellow lines R, W
  • Fulton St: red lines 2, 3, green lines 4, 5, blue lines A, C, brown lines J, Z
  • World Trade Center: blue line E
  • Chambers St: blue lines A, C
  • Park Place: red lines 2, 3

In addition, the PATH train line from New Jersey has a terminus here.

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