For the past 10 years, the World Trade Center site has been off-limits to the public. That’s about to change, with the opening of the 9/11 Memorial. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
It's been years in the making, and now visitors to the World Trade Center site will finally have more to look at than construction fencing. In one week, they will be able to enter the 9/11 Memorial with its signature feature: Waterfalls cascading down into twin reflecting pools -- voids marking the footprints of the original towers.
"The falls are just what you would hope. They create a beautiful whisper, a sound envelope that drowns out the sound of the city as you’re standing in front of the names," said 9/11 Memorial & Museum President Joseph Daniels.
Inscribed in bronze panels surrounding the pools are the names of the 2,983 victims. Then there’s the plaza, lined with more than 200 oak trees.
But while the memorial is opening, the rest of the site remains a construction zone. Access will be limited to 1,500 people an hour using a timed ticketing system.
The passes are free, but have to be reserved online at 911memorial.org.
Already more than 300,000 people from all 50 states and 65 different countries have reserved tickets. Once visitors have a pass, at their assigned time, they will come to the newly constructed entry plaza at Greenwich and Albany Streets, where ticket holders will be scanned and directed to a welcome center for security screening.
Though battered by Hurricane Irene, the memorial emerged intact and ready for visitors.
"The grass has gone in. And knock on wood, we’re ready to welcome the world on September 11th," said Port Authority Executive Director Christopher Ward.
Workers are now making final touches in preparation for Sunday’s commemoration ceremony, when the memorial will be officially dedicated.
It then opens to the public on Monday.