The newly opened 9/11 Memorial - honoring those who perished in the 2001 and 1993 attacks - is quite beautiful. The architects did an incredible job of creating a timeless way to remember the lives of those lost. The pools are incredibly large, but what surprised me even more is that the grounds surrounding them are even bigger - creating a beautiful green space amidst a concrete construction jungle. There's a unique reverence at the memorial - almost like people are looking at others and asking, "Did you lose someone? I'm so sorry." They only allow a certain number of people in per time slot so it helps keep the memorial peaceful and serene.
Tickets are free, but reservations must be made in advance. If you're booking a trip or live in the area, I would recommend getting tickets soon because space is limited.
As you walk in, you can see the south pool straight ahead.
This is a view of the south pool - looking north. These pools are the largest manmade waterfalls in North America and sit within the footprints of the original Twin Towers.
The names listed seem to go on forever. It's heart wrenching to think that for some - this is the only memorial they have for their loved ones.
The Freedom Tower almost disappears in the clouds while looking over the memorial. Original pieces of the World Trade Centers are inside the museum, which will be opened later.
This made my heart sink.
The memorial is surrounded by construction - yet you can almost forget you're in Manhattan because of the landscaping surrounding the memorial. It sort of blocks out the chaos of the city streets.
This is a view of the north pool - looking south towards the southern tip of Manhattan.
I believe this is the callery pear tree that was originally planted at the WTC in the 1970's and survived the 9/11 attacks. It was uncovered from the rubble and revived in the Bronx over the past decade. It's quite a remarkable story. You can read more about it here.
There is something so refreshing about the sound of the water flowing. It doesn't quite drown out the construction or street traffic entirely, but it does make the area feel serene and sacred. I would highly recommend visiting the 9/11 Memorial. It really is a special place.