(New York City) — Governor James E. McGreevey, along with New York Governor George E. Pataki, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and members of the Port Authority, today announced plans for a state-of-the-art viewing wall at Ground Zero that will permit visitors to both pay their respects and safely view the World Trade Center site.
“The events of September 11th shattered our domestic tranquility and threatened us all,” said McGreevey. “Our neighbors died. Our buildings fell. On America’s second day of infamy, tragedy struck our nation as terrorists attacked the twin towers of the World Trade Center and Washington and brought a flight originating from Newark down in a Pennsylvania field.”
The first portion of the wall, which will display panels with the names of more than 2,800 people who died at the site on September 11, 2001, is being constructed by the Port Authority. It will open on the west side of Church Street, along with a new, 40-foot-wide sidewalk, by September 11, 2002.
“The viewing wall is a welcome opportunity for the families of victims and America to reflect upon the tragedy of September 11th and the memorial site,” said McGreevey. “I thank Governor Pataki for his leadership in constantly ensuring that the interests of victim’s families are paramount.”
\"As we continue to recover and rebuild at Ground Zero, we recognize how important this site has become -- not just to New Yorkers -- but to people throughout the world,” said Pataki. “We will never forget the thousands of heroes lost on September 11th, and this new wall will allow families and visitors to safely and respectfully view the site that and reflect on that fateful day.\"
The World Trade Center site, which now draws about 25,000 visitors a day, will be visible through the viewing wall. The viewing wall will permit passers-by to view the site from the perimeter, while protecting them from construction activity inside the site. Now, visitors seeking an unobstructed view of the site have to go to a single platform.
The viewing wall will be a 13-foot-high galvanized steel fence structure with two-inch-square galvanized steel mesh. It will surround a large portion of the site’s perimeter. Encompassing approximately 1,800 linear feet, the wall will stretch from the northeast corner at Church and Vesey streets, to the south side of the site at Liberty and Washington streets.
The wall will open in phases, as sections are completed throughout the remainder of the year. Next month, the first portion of the viewing wall will be operational on Church Street from Fulton to Cortland streets. A new, 40-foot-wide sidewalk will also be built. At night, the new sidewalk and the viewing wall will be lit by photo-cell-activated lamps. The viewing wall will also include fiberglass panels inscribed with names of the fallen heroes. There will also be panels describing the history of the site before, during and after September 11th.
The viewing wall will feature several alcoves, each about 40 linear feet long, where visitors can stop and reflect while pedestrian sidewalk traffic can continue unimpeded. By looking through the viewing wall, they will have an opportunity to reflect on the enormity of the destruction by viewing the 16-acre site.
Governor McGreevey and Governor Pataki also dedicated an inscribed panel that will be affixed to the viewing wall when it opens. The inscription reads, “On this site, on August 21, 2002, Governor George E. Pataki of New York, Governor James E. McGreevey of New Jersey, and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City proclaimed that in honor of the heroes of September 11, 2001, this viewing wall would be erected by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey so that the world community can reflect upon and remember the events that took place here, and draw strength and inspiration as we rebuild.”
Members of the Port Authority Engineering Department worked closely with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and New York New Visions to develop the special fence. After developing a concept and building a consensus among family, local residential and local business groups, the design was created by Port Authority architects, assisted by the architectural firm Voorsanger and Associates, the structural engineering firm Severud Associates, and the graphic design firm Pentagram Design. The viewing wall is being constructed by the joint venture team of contractors Yonkers Contracting Co./Tully Construction Co./A.J. Pegno Construction Corp., which also is performing PATH service restoration for the Port Authority at the World Trade Center PATH terminal. The viewing wall is expected to remain in place as part of the interim World Trade Center PATH terminal.
New Jersey has several events planned to commemorate the tragedies of September 11th.
“Only time’s healing touch and a continued outpouring of compassion and support can ease the profound suffering that has been inflicted upon our fellow citizens by the horrors of September 11th. However, we must never forget the lives lost and the lessons learned on that fateful day.”
On the evening of Thursday, September 5th, the Governor and First Lady Dina Matos McGreevey will host a private reception at Drumthwacket for the families of victims of September 11th.
On Tuesday, September 10th, from 7 – 9 p.m. a Candlelight Vigil Memorial Service will be held at Liberty State Park in Jersey City. This event is closed to the press and all members of the media are asked to respect the wishes of the victims’ families at the vigil.
On September 11th, Governor McGreevey will take part in the commemoration services at Ground Zero, along with the victims’ families.
Governor McGreevey is also asking all houses of worship in New Jersey to ring their bells in commemoration of the moments that each hijacked plane took the lives of so many innocent victims.
At 5:30 p.m. on September 11th, there will be a concert at the Trenton War Memorial by The Orchestra of St. Peter By the Sea conducted by The Reverend Alphonse Stephenson. The performance will salute our nation’s history and proud intent to remain free from fear and compromise. Governor McGreevey will serve as narrator for the performance.
At 7 p.m. on September 11th, The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, in partnership with Thirteen/WNET, Johnson & Johnson, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, and Governor McGreevey, will present a free outdoor performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem at Liberty State Park. The concert is being recorded by Thirteen/WNET and will be broadcast nationwide by PBS at 10:00pm that evening.
The State is also planning a permanent memorial to honor the 691 New Jerseyans who lost their lives on September 11th. “As with every stage of the commemoration planning, I have respectfully requested the input of victims’ families as we develop this vital project,” said McGreevey. “We will ensure that the permanent memorial reflects the wishes of New Jersey’s families who lost loved ones on September 11th. We look forward to working in conjunction with the victims’ families as we build a memorial that is both meaning and lasting.”
In the coming months, there will be a series of open forums during which victims’ families will continue to have an opportunity to offer suggestions for the location and design of the permanent memorial. In an effort to make these forums as productive and as open as possible, Governor McGreevey is forming an advisory group of September 11th families who wish to be involved in the development of the memorial.
Click here for a virtual tour of the Viewing Wall