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The September 11 Memorials of Brooklyn, New York
September 11, 2001, is a day that lives in the hearts and minds of people worldwide — and there's no overstating its impact on the New York City borough of Brooklyn.
Brooklyn's 9/11 memorials pop up all over: in Coney Island and Brooklyn Bridge Park, Park Slope and Sunset Park, Bay Ridge and Red Hook. The solemnity of the memory and magnitude of loss are captured by "living memorials" of trees and in hard bronze sculptures. The styles vary, from graphic representations of the men and women who died, to simple street signs, so easy to miss, that mark the spot where a loved one once lived or worked.
What Happened on 9/11?
On September 11, 2001, terrorists crashed two hijacked planes into the huge "twin towers", officially known as One and Two World Trade Center, in lower Manhattan. Within two hours, both buildings collapsed. Shortly thereafter, 7 World Trade Center also collapsed. Nearly 2,800 people died. Among them were 343 firefighters, 23 police officers, 37 Port... Authority police officers, and more than 2,200 civilians. The environmental, economic, psychological, and political repercussions were severe. On September 11, and in the immediate days thereafter, Brooklyn, New York City, and the US were in shock.
With Brooklyn's waterfront facing Manhattan, the attack and its aftermath were terribly visible from many Brooklyn neighborhoods.
Impact of September 11, 2001 on Brooklyn
Over a third of the firefighters lost that day were from Brooklyn, along with other first responders, as were many individuals who died at the World Trade Center. In addition, countless Brooklynites lost their loved ones, friends, associates, neighbors, acquaintances. Normal routines were completely disrupted. The Brooklyn Bridge was closed and public transportation impaired.
Thousands of Brooklynites were traumatized and sickened. Many who were exposed on that day to the attacks, and to the WTC "pile" of rubble in the weeks and months following, developed physical ailments from asthma to symptoms of post traumatic stress disorders. Some responders but also workers, students and teachers in the densely packed lower Manhattan area continue, a decade later, to experience various after-effects.
From Makeshift to Permanent Memorials
Anyone in Brooklyn in the days after September 11, 2001 will recall a spontaneous outpouring of makeshift memorials, consisting of notes, flowers, photos, and personal mementos placed in front of firehouses and police stations, at churches and schools and in front of the private homes of men and women who had died in the attack. The victims and heroes of that day were memorialized in as many ways as one could imagine: in candlelight vigils and memorial ceremonies, in religious services, in poetry and song, in wall murals and handsome desktop photography books, in an outpouring of philanthropic giving, in theatrical productions and endless TV reports and newspaper articles; The New York Times profiled the victims, exhaustively, in a series called Portraits of Grief. Ten years after September 11, 2001, few of these "people's memorials" — the impermanent acts from the heart — remain. But dozens of permanent memorials, large and small, mark both the day and honor those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Many are listed in the Voices of September 11th, 9/11 Living Memorial online project.Continue to 2 of 15 below.
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September 11 Beacon Memorial at Pier 69 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
What you'll see: There's a beautiful view of Manhattan from Pier 69 in Bay Ridge, a two-and-a-half acre area that's more formally known as the American Veterans Memorial Pier. It's a popular location for fishermen, sunbathers, walkers, and families. And, in the middle of Pier 69 sits a 25-foot tall symbolic speaking-trumpet, with an interior lamp, the Beacon Memorial.
9/11 Memorial Inscription at the "Beacon": The inscription at the base of the Beacon Memorial reads, BROOKLYN REMEMBERS... FOR THOSE LOST ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2001. It was dedicated in 2005.
On September 11, 2011: Horrified local residents and workers watched the events of September 11th from Pier 69, from which you can clearly see a huge section of lower Manhattan. On a clear day (that September 11th, the sky was blue and cloudless), the views extend as far as the Empire State Building in midtown Manhattan. People standing at Pier 69 when the World Center twin towers collapsed could see them crumble... and disappear from view, albeit in the distance.
About the monument: This bronze monument, by sculptor Robert Ressler, was cast in 2004 in Brooklyn at the Bedi-Makky Foundry in Greenpoint, and dedicated on May 16, 2005. Funds for this monument were raised in part by the community.
How to get there: American Veterans Memorial Pier is on 69th Street off of Shore Road in Bay Ridge. It is accessible by bike or by foot from a lovely residential section of Bay Ridge. From Third Avenue in Bay Ridge, just walk down 70th Street toward the water. You can also get there by car, and park on the side streets.
Fee: Free.Continue to 3 of 15 below.
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September 11 Memorial in Coney Island: Wall of Remembrance at MCU Stadium
What you'll see: This large, handsome three-part memorial plaque, the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance, can be seen on the outside wall of the MCU Stadium, home to the Brooklyn Cyclones.
The first iteration of the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance honored first responders from Brooklyn who died at the World Trade Center site. Today the 30 x 12-foot granite Wall pays tribute to all 416 first responders who died, from all 5 boroughs of New York City.
About the monument:
- This memorial was the idea of Brooklynite Sol Moglen, a passionate baseball fan who after September 11, 2001, re-dedicated his nonprofit organization, Ebbets Field Memorial Foundation, to the cause of creating a 911 memorial.
- Originally created to honor Brooklyn residents, in 2003 it was expanded to include firefighters, NYPD and Port Authority officers city-wide.
- The memorial was created by bronze sculptor Jamie Lester.
- Among the luminaries who have contributed their names and talents to this effort are artist Peter Max, actors... Gary Sinise and Jon Voight, comedian Jackie Mason and Jim Fassel, former head coach of the NY Giants.
- Also associated with this project are 9-11 activist Marian Fontana, author of the best-selling book A Widows Walk and widow of artist-firefighter Dave Fontana, and Mrs. Gil Hodges, wife of the famous Dodger team member.
How to get there: The Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance is located at the MCU Stadium, at 904 Surf Avenue in Coney Island.
When to go: The Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance is publicly accessible and is illuminated every evening until 11 p.m., year-round. No reservations or special admission is needed.
Fee: Free.Continue to 4 of 15 below.
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9-11 Memorial Street Names, Quiet Reminders Posted Throughout Brooklyn
What you'll see: In certain Brooklyn neighborhoods, some street signs have been changed, added, or adapted to include the name of an individual killed on September 11, 2011.
Actually, you have to know where to look for these modest memorials, otherwise, the casual visitor might miss them. However, once you do notice them, the street sign memorials are powerful reminders that the honored individual played a role in this local community.
About the monument: It's not uncommon in New York City for street signs to be used both to identify the street and as an honorary memorial to a prominent person or even entire community.
How to get there: Street signs commemorating those fallen on September 11, 2011 are peppered throughout Brooklyn. In one particularly colorful instance, Richards Street in Red Hook near the Red Hook Fire Company 101 was officially named Heaven Way Street to honor the memory of the seven firemen from local Engine 202 and Ladder 101 who lost their lives as a result of... the World Trade Center attacks. This street renaming was covered by New York City wide media and caused an inadvertent controversy about its religious overtones.
2012 Postscript: The renaming of streets is ongoing. In October 2012, local officials in Bay Ridge sent a letter to the Community Board in support of naming the northeast corner of 5th Avenue and 85th Street “Firefighter Michael G. Behette 9/11 Memorial Way.” Mr. Behette, a Dyker Heights resident, was a firefighter who died in September 2012 from a 9/11-related cancer.Continue to 5 of 15 below.
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September 11th Memorial Daffodil Project in Brooklyn Bridge Park & NYC
What you'll see: In spring, there are daffodils abloom everywhere in Brooklyn (and city wide): in public parks, the lawns of schools, and in tree pits along residential neighborhoods. Many of them are part of the Daffodil Project, which began as the generous gesture of support from a Dutch bulb grower in Holland, who donated a half million bulbs to New York City after 9/11. Learn more about the Daffodil Project.
The most eloquent September 11 memorial of the Daffodil Project in Brooklyn was once along the East River waterfront, from which the twin towers of the World Trade Center were clearly visible. Unfortunately, this same area, best known as the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, also had front row seats to the attack, collapse, and fire at the WTC site. So it is fitting that here the Daffodil Project created a visual echo of the World Trade Towers.
When seen in spring, there were two parallel plant beds resembling the Twin Towers, abloom with yellow daffodils.
On September 11, 2011: Many... people in the Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO neighborhoods of Brooklyn had front-row views of the burning towers and their tragic collapse in the morning of September 11th, and then watched (and in some cases, helped) people stream across the Brooklyn Bridge to escape lower Manhattan.
About the monument: City-wide, the so-called Daffodil Project has been described as "a touching living memorial project that literally grew new roots from the disaster of September 11th".
How to get there: The September 11 memorial planting bed was located at Montague and Furman Streets, below the Brooklyn Heights Promenade; follow the stairway down, or look down from the Promenade.
When to Go: Visit in early spring to see them in bloom.
Note: The above planting was subsumed by today's Brooklyn Bridge Park. However, the Daffodil Project is ongoing, run today by the nonprofit New Yorkers for Parks. On the 10th anniversary of September 11, a quarter of a million bulbs will be available, according to a spokesperson.Continue to 6 of 15 below.
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September 11 Memorial Sculpture at FDNY Squad 1 in Park Slope, Brooklyn
What you'll see: This huge wooden memorial sculpture, titled Out of the Rubble, leaves little to the imagination: it is a graphic depiction that captures the tragedy and heroism of the efforts of firefighters on 9-11. It sits outside the Squad 1 firehouse, next to the Park Slope Food Coop.
On September 11, 2011: On September 11, 2001, the specialized Squad One of the New York City Fire Department lost twelve firemen who raced to the World Trade Center. Their fate was unknown for several days in the chaos that followed the attacks. A total of 343 New York City firemen died, along with thousands of other victims and many other first responders, that day. Twelve of Squad One's twenty-seven members were killed that September 11.
The Park Slope community rallied around Squad One, a centrally located and popular firehouse whose friendly firemen would often show small children the fire trucks, and by September 16th had raised over $50,000 in street donations for a fund for the families... of those lost.
About the monument: This huge wooden memorial sculpture, titled “Out of the Rubble, was sent by N. Thomas and R. Boswell of Portland, Oregon.
How to get there: Located at Union St. bet. 6th and 7th Avenues, this wooden sculpture sits outside the modest firehouse on Union Street between Seventh Avenue and Sixth Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The nearest subway stops are Union Street; Grand Army Plaza or 7th Ave.
Fee: Free.Continue to 7 of 15 below.
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September 11 Memorial Garden of Hope at St. Ephrem Church in Bay Ridge
What you'll see: Alongside the large, imposing St. Ephrem Church is the Garden of Hope, a small beautifully kept and discrete garden area. It features a large statue holding the Twin Towers, below which is an encased bar of metal that was, according to a local source, a piece of steel from the World Trade Center site after the attacks. Flanking this central area are two sets of small, matching gravestones, five on each side; the dates of death are all September 11, 2001.
On September 11, 2011: Bay Ridge suffered many losses on September 11th, from firefighters and first responders to people who worked in the World Trade Center or happened to be there that day.
9/11 Memorial Inscription: The inscription reads, "I will never forget you."
How to get there: The Church of St. Ephrem and the Garden of Hope are located at Fort Hamilton Pkwy. and Bay Ridge Pkwy. in Bay Ridge. (718) 833-1010.
Fee: Free.Continue to 8 of 15 below.
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September 11 Memorial: Official 9/11 Commemorative Medal
in 2010, legislation introduced by two Brooklyn legislators in Congress authorized the striking of up to 2,000,000 silver commemorative 9/11 medals, to be issued throughout 2011 and 2012. The project was introduced into the US Senate by Park Slope resident Senator Charles Schumer, who was born in Brooklyn. It was introduced into the US House of Representatives by Congressman Jerrold Nadler, also born in Brooklyn, whose district includes parts of both New York and Brooklyn. The medal was authorized by the National September 11 Memorial Museum Commemorative Medal Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-221).
What you'll see: The medals to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Two million were minted. $10 from the sale of each medal sale goes to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center site. As described by the US Mint:
"The medal's obverse (heads side) features Lady Liberty holding the Lamp of Remembrance.Behind her are beacons of... light stretching skyward. Liberty, the lamp, and the light symbolize not only the immeasurable loss on that fateful day but also the resiliency and triumph of those who persevered.
The reverse (tails side) design depicts an eagle, symbolizing the strength of the survivors, the families, and the Nation, against a backdrop of cascading water.The flowing water is emblematic of peace, serenity, healing and the continuity of life. Inscriptions are HONOR and HOPE."
9/11 Memorial Inscription: Inscriptions are ALWAYS REMEMBER and 2001 - 2011.
Design Credit: The design of the medals was made by the US Treasury secretary in consultation with the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at WTC and the Commission of Fine Arts, and reviewed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, according to Senator Schumer's office.Continue to 9 of 15 below.
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September 11 Memorial Liberty Oaks at Beautiful Brooklyn Botanic Garden
What you'll see: The Liberty Oaks Memorial is a line of oak trees, alongside the eastern and western edges of the Cherry Tree Esplanade. This area, in spring, is the Botanic Garden's most visited and beloved feature. The Liberty Oaks form two rows which line the eastern and western edges of the Cherry Esplanade. A dedicated plaque is at the southwest end of the Esplanade.
History: According to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden website, these "two allées of Liberty Maples, planted in remembrance of the events of September 11...replaced a similar installation of Armistice Oaks, planted in commemoration of WWI."
9/11 The memorial inscription reads:
In Remembrance Of The Events Of
September 11, 2001
And To Those
Who Lost Their Lives That Day.
The Norway Maples That Grew As
The First Generation Of Trees On
This Site Were Planted In
November 1918 To Commemorate
The WW1 ArmisticeContinue to 10 of 15 below.
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September 11 Memorial Grove in Prospect Park, Brooklyn
What you'll see: The 9/11 Memorial Grove is a small area in the northern part of the Long Meadow, between the two entrances to the Long Meadow nearest to Grand Army Plaza (officially known as Endale and Meadowport Arches.
9/11 Memorial Inscription: Dated 2003, the inscription on a plaque on an oblong stone planted in the Grove reads: "Memorial Grove
Sponsored by The Living Memorials Project
US Department of Agriculture Forest Service
And The Members of Our Community
Who Lost Loved Ones On
September 11, 2001."
History: The Prospect Park Alliance in conjunction with the USDA Forest Service Living Memorials Project created this 9/11 memorial.
According to a press release issued on Thursday, September 4, 2003, "...twenty-five trees live in the Memorial Grove with 17 being donated by the USDA Living Memorials. Individual donors sponsored 8 trees and one bench on behalf of deceased relatives. Averaging between 5-10 years old, the trees are 10 to 15 feet tall at the moment."
Pro...spect Park had an estimated 11,000 trees on its landscape, not including the woodland trees, at that time.
At the dedication ceremony, the press release notes, "ancestral drummer, poet and singer Phoenix Rising will perform songs. Additionally, children from neighboring pre-schools have been invited to attend. Invited guests will also shovel woodchips onto the commemorative trees, and unveil the commemorative plaque."
How to get there: The closest subway is the number 2 o3 3 train to Grand Army Plaza. Subways in Park Slope
Fee: Free.Continue to 11 of 15 below.
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September 11 at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York: 79 Graves
What you'll see: World-famous Green-Wood Cemetery is a vast park-like and entirely man-made environment of rolling hills, paths, and lakes. The Victorian Gothic gate at 5th Avenue and 25th Street is just one of the architectural masterpieces here, along with enormous mausoleums and ornate Victorian monuments. It's a peaceful urban retreat set in 478 acres of rolling park-like hills.
Over five dozen individuals killed on September 11, 2001 are buried here. According to an Associated Press article dated 2006, they include:
- 17 employees from Cantor Fitzgerald
- 15 city firefighters
- victims from two of the hijacked planes, including one of the heroes of United Flight 93
- three victims from the Windows on the World restaurant
- two Port Authority police officers
- one air-conditioning repairman.
In Section 34 one can find the marked graves of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2011. (Read a blog about Memorial Day 2011 at the 9/11 graves in Green-Wood Cemetery.)
Hours: The main entrance... is on 5th Ave., at the end of 25th St., 768-7300.
Fee: Free.Continue to 12 of 15 below.
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September 11 Memorial: Sunset Park Grove of Healing, in Sunset Park, Brooklyn
On September 11, 2011: Sunset Park is one of the highest spots in Brooklyn, from which one has good views of the entire swath of NY Harbor and lower Manhattan. Many people, including first responders from the area, were affected by the WTC attacks on 9/11.
About the monument: This was New York City's first Living Memorial Grove, dedicated November 25th, 2002. According to a media advisory from the NYC Parks Department, "The Sunset Park Memorial Grove consists of 45 trees – 16 Yellowood, 21 Two Winged Silver Bells and 8 White Flowering Red Buds – planted in an oval. In addition, Parks has planted a triangular garden with 78 White Carpet Roses, 70 Cotoneaster Shrubs, and 3,000 White Dwarf Narcissus. Inside the grove, local school children will plant daffodils linking the Living... Memorial Grove to the Daffodil Project, New York City’s first September 11th living memorial effort sponsored by the Department of Parks & Recreation and New Yorkers for Parks."
Fee: Free.Continue to 13 of 15 below.
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September 11 Memorial Tunnel to Towers Run at Brooklyn Battery Tunnel
What you'll see: The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel itself is, simply, a tunnel that's close to Wall Street the World Trade Center site, and the World Financial Center.But it was the site of huge drama and tragedy on September 11th, 2001, as first responders raced through it to arrive at the World Trade Center towers.
If you visit during the annual Tunnel to Towers Run, however, you will see thousands of people running in a memorial fundraiser, including many policemen, firefighters and members of the military. (This is one of the few big annual September 11 memorial events in Brooklyn, and so we've included it in this list.)
How to get there: The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel connects lower Manhattan on the west side to Brooklyn. On the Brooklyn side, it is near to many Brooklyn neighborhoods: Red Hook, Columbia Terrace, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, and Boerum Hill.
Battery Tunnel Siller Tunnel to Towers Run
Since 2002, the Tunnel to Towers Run was begun in 2002 by family members of... off-duty Staten Island firefighter Stephen Siller, last seen running through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel with sixty pounds of gear strapped to his back en route to the World Trade Center after the attacks.
Now an annual event, the Tunnel to Towers Run honors the 343 firefighters and first responders who lost their lives on 9/11. Originally intended as a way for New Yorkers to honor the fallen heroes, it “has now become a yearly tribute to everyone who lost their lives that day and transcends the tragedy,” according to a press release issued by the Foundation.
2009, 2010 Runs
In 2009, more than 20,000 people took part in the NY event.
According to press reports, the event has raised more than $500,000 since 2008. On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the foundation, in coordination with USA Cares and Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. invited communities nationwide to organize similar runs with the goal of one run in 343 different cities across the nation on September 11, 2011.
"This event began as a way to honor Stephen and his firefighter brothers," said Frank Siller, one of Stephen's siblings and the chairman of the Foundation. "Over the years, through an influx of volunteers, donations, and interest, it has continued to grow and evolve. It …not only celebrates the lives of everyone who was lost that day but provides a forum for remembrance of the past and a life-affirming event.Continue to 14 of 15 below.
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Tribute in Light: Once-Yearly Memorial for September 11 As Seen in Brooklyn
What you'll see: Two huge beams light the sky where the World Trade Center twin towers once stood. They can be seen for 60 miles. This memorial occurs on only one day: from dusk until dawn on September 11 to September 12th on the Manhattan skyline.
How to get there: Because they are so huge, the Tribute in Light beams can be seen from anywhere on the Manhattan-facing Brooklyn waterfront, from tall buildings, and from the bridges connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan. 7 Great Viewing Spots to See the Tribute in Light from Brooklyn.
The extraordinary attacks on September 11, 2001 at New York City's and Washington DC shook the nation and had global consequences. But for the people living in New York City, among all the disorienting new realities was the fact that the downtown Manhattan skyline had changed. Like a missing tooth that one's tongue keeps seeking, it was jarring to not have the WTC towers there. People who used them as directional markers to assess which way... was north, south, east, and west, got lost. Something was missing from the skyline. And, of course, the absence of what had been was, and remains, a constant, aching reminder of the thousands of innocent people so brutally killed on September 11, 2001.
The entire nation mourns the victims of September 11th, 2001. But because history happens at a very specific time and place, the sites of the attacks hold a special significance. Silent and vast, the Tribute in Light is perhaps the most haunting, ephemeral and yet comforting of all of New York City's September 11th memorials.
The Municipal Art Society describes their project in these terms: Comprising eighty-eight 7,000-watt xenon light bulbs positioned into two 48-foot squares that echo the shape and orientation of the Twin Towers, Tribute in Light is assembled each year on a roof near the World Trade Center site. The illuminated memorial reaches 4 miles into the sky and is the strongest shaft of light ever projected from earth into the night sky.There's a great deal to learn about the genesis of, and technological wizardry behind, this remarkable project, which is funded in part by private charitable contributions.Continue to 15 of 15 below.
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Fire Department, FDNY Memorial Wall in Downtown Brooklyn Unveiled for 9/11/2011
What You'll See: The Memorial Wall lists the names of 55 FDNY members who have died in the decade since the attack due to World Trade Center-related illnesses.It was unveiled at FDNY Headquarters on Sept. 8, 2011, just days before the tenth anniversary of the original attacks.
History: On September 8, 2011, nearly 10 years after the WTC attacks, the NY Fire Department unveiled a monument in Downtown Brooklyn to fallen firefighters who have died as a result of chronic illnesses caused by their exposure to "the pile," or smoldering rubble from the attack. It is the first such memorial dedicated to those who died long after the attacks.
"This plaque reminds us that 9/11 was not a single event or a day on the calendar, but something this Department faces on a daily basis," said Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano. "The sacrifices made by members of the FDNY on that day will continue for years to come."
Poignantly, the Commissioner noted that two more names were... added in the week leading up to the ceremony.
Inscription: The inscription on the Memorial Wall reads, "DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF THOSE WHO BRAVELY SERVED THIS DEPARTMENT PROTECTING LIFE AND PROPERTY IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK IN THE RESCUE AND RECOVERY EFFORT AT MANHATTAN BOX 5-5-8087 WORLD TRADE CENTER."
FDNY Headquarters is located at 9 Metrotech Center.