Date: May 26, 2005
Press Release Number: 65-2005
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey will continue to store and preserve more than 1,000 artifacts recovered from the World Trade Center site following an action today by the bistate agency’s Board of Commissioners.
The Board authorized an additional $4.9 million for the program to continue storing artifacts recovered from the World Trade Center site after the September 11 attacks, supplementing $5.75 million authorized for this program in October 2002. The Board’s action also reconfirms the Port Authority’s commitment to protect World Trade Center site historic resources.
The artifacts include the last steel column removed from the site, other large pieces of steel, emergency vehicles, 18 sections of the World Trade Center antenna and two PATH cars. They are stored at John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Hangar 17.
This is the largest collection of World Trade Center artifacts, although it represents less than one half of 1 percent of all of the debris removed from the World Trade Center site.
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “As an agency that lost 84 of its employees on 9/11, we feel it is our duty to make sure that this tragic day is never forgotten. The twisted pieces of steel, the burned-out fire trucks and PATH rail cars that were salvaged from the rubble tell a story of devastation and heroism, and we will do whatever we can to make sure that the story will be told for generations to come.”
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “The artifacts that we have painstakingly preserved are among the few remaining remnants of a site that will forever be etched in the minds of the American public. We want the public to learn as much as possible about the horrific attacks, and when eventually put on public display, these objects will provide them with a greater appreciation of exactly what transpired on that day.”
Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler Jr. said, “The World Trade Center was the Port Authority’s home for more than 30 years, and these artifacts will be a lasting tribute to the men and women who lost their lives that day. We have worked closely with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to make sure many of these items will return to the World Trade Center site, where they will continue to be preserved and viewed by millions of visitors trying to better understand the tragic events that unfolded on 9/11.”
The Port Authority appointed a committee to make recommendations for the salvage of objects from the World Trade Center site just weeks after the collapse of the Twin Towers. The Port Authority called upon the services of Voorsanger and Associates to perform the on-site object identifications.
During the past three years, the Port Authority has taken extensive steps to preserve the artifacts in its custody at Hangar 17. These efforts include a $300,000 restoration of the last column, the 62-ton beam that was the last piece of steel removed from the site in May 2002. In addition, the Port Authority has built separate enclosures to house emergency vehicles and some of the more environmentally sensitive objects to better stabilize them and to provide additional protection from corrosion that initially formed at Ground Zero. Ongoing work will include continued maintenance work at the hangar and provisions for the handling of additional World Trade Center artifacts requiring interim storage and preservation.
Some of the artifacts eventually will return to the World Trade Center site and become part of the memorial center. Others eventually may be provided to museums and other institutions where the public can view them.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit rail system; the Port Authority-Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the New York Container Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.
The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.