Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Rebuilding of Ground Zero, Part 113

The 9/11 Memorial continues taking shape as the trees that will comprise the memorial grove are starting to be installed this weekend.

Sixteen swamp white oaks are the first of nearly 400 trees arriving on Saturday at the World Trade Center site, where more than 2,700 people were killed when terrorists attacked the twin towers.

Eventually the green sanctuary will dot a cobblestone plaza surrounding two huge pools built on the footprints of the destroyed towers.

"After all the tragedy, the idea of the first living component going back is emotionally significant to the rebuilding process," said Tom Cox, CEO of Environmental Design, the Houston company that has cared for the trees and is taking them to the trade center site.

Cultivated for four years at a New Jersey nursery, the 16 trees were being loaded onto eight tractor-trailers at midnight Friday for the 35-mile (56-kilometer) trip to Manhatan. Cranes were to set them into place Saturday morning before crews plant them on the eight-acre memorial plaza.

Joe Daniels, president of the memorial foundation, called the trees' arrival "a big milestone ... after nine years of both recovery and construction."

Designers Peter Walker and Michael Arad envisioned a peaceful, green space that would bring solace to Sept. 11 victims' families and visitors. Benches will invite visitors to linger and walk along its cobblestone and stone pavers accented with plantings and low ground cover.

The memorial plaza will essentially become is a rooftop garden, built atop the deep chasm left by the destroyed towers on Sept. 11, 2001. The museum commemorating the 2001 attacks, commuter train platforms and a parking garage are being built as far as 70 feet (21 meters) below ground.
That photo is courtesy of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum live camera, and was a screen capture taken August 28, 2010. It shows the installation of the first trees for the memorial just to the left of the North Tower footprint. This view also shows the tower footprints that are nearly completely clad in granite. The structure running along the bottom third of the photo is the MTA's 1 Line, which is adjacent to the PATH terminal that is being built. The Freedom Tower (1WTC) is being built in the top right corner.

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