Your Trip to NYC: The Complete Guide SEE FULL GUIDE prev next Your Trip to NYC: The Complete Guide Weather & Climate New York Airports NYC Hotels Neighborhoods to Know Driving in NYC NYC Public Transportation NYC Attractions & Landmarks Top Things to Do in NYC Free Things to Do in NYC Beaches Near NYC Best Museums in NYC Theater in NYC NYC's Best Live Music Venues One Day in NYC: Itinerary Day Trips From NYC Best NYC Tours The Best Food to Try in NYC Family-Friendly NYC Restaurants NYC's Best Bars Breweries in NYC Your Trip to NYC: The Complete Guide close Overview United States New York New York City 9/11 Tribute in Light Illuminates the NYC Skyline Written by Heather Cross Heather Cross is a longtime New York resident who has written about the city since 2002. She is also a travel agent and NYC & Company-certified New York City specialist. Tripsavvy's Editorial Guidelines Heather Cross Updated 07/13/19 Share Pin Email Noam Galai/Moment/Getty Images For many New Yorkers and New Jersey residents who had shared a view of the skyline of Manhattan prior to September 11, 2001, a strange thing happened to all of them that day. Two towering buildings that were emblazoned in their brain's picture of the skyline were instantly erased. Every year at dusk on the anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks that took the buildings and the lives of many Americans, you can see the ghostly illumination in the night sky of two towers of light. The Tribute in Light is an art installation that was produced by the Municipal Art Society of New York that serves as an annual memorial to never forget the tragic events of that fateful day. Since 2011, they have been presented by the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Where and When The Tribute in Light is usually illuminated from dusk on September 11 until dawn on September 12. It is also often illuminated in the evenings before each anniversary for short periods of time for testing, so if you are in town the few days before the anniversary, keep an eye out for it. The Tribute in Light is best viewed from the waterfront outside of Manhattan, including Jersey City, the Brooklyn Bridge Promenade, and Gantry Plaza State Park, though the Tribute in Light can be seen from many places in and around New York City. On a clear night, it can be visible for more than 60 miles away, as far north as Rockland County, which is about an hour's drive from New York City, as far east as Fire Island in Suffolk County, New York, on Long Island, and as far south as Trenton, New Jersey. Tim Sklyarov / Getty Images First Display of the Tribute in Light The two beams of light were first lit at 6:55 p.m. on March 11, 2002, on the six-month anniversary of the attacks on a lot next to Ground Zero. The memorial was first turned on by Valerie Webb, a 12-year-old girl who lost her father, a Port Authority police officer, in the attacks. Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City and Governor George Pataki of New York State were with Webb when she flipped the switch. How the Tribute In Light Is Made The two towers of light are composed of two banks of high wattage spotlights—44 for each bank, which creates each beam of light. The lights point straight up. Each 7,000-watt xenon light bulb is set up in two 48-foot squares, mirroring the shape and orientation of the Twin Towers. Each year the memorial is set up on the roof of the Battery Parking Garage near the World Trade Center. Since 2008, the generators that power the Tribute in Light are fueled with biodiesel made from used cooking oil collected from local restaurants. The Memorial's Designers Several different artists and designers independently came up with a similar idea and they were then brought together by the Municipal Art Society and Creative Time, a New York-based non-profit arts organization. The Tribute in Light was designed by John Bennett, Gustavo Bonevardi, Richard Nash Gould, Julian Laverdiere, Paul Myoda, and lighting designer Paul Marantz. Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit World Trade Center: A History of the World Trade Center Towers The 10 Best New York City Museums Images of the World Trade Center, 1970-2001 Visit New York City's 13 Top Attractions Tips and Info for Visiting Ground Zero at the World Trade Center Site NYC for First-Time Visitors See Lower Manhattan in Two Days: The Perfect Itinerary The 9 Best NYC Helicopter Tours of 2021 Top Summer Things to Do in Brooklyn The Best LGBTQ+ Hidden Gem in Every State The Best Time to Visit New York City My Adventures in Pride: LGBTQ+ Festivals Around the World 8 National Park Sites With Ties to LGBTQ+ History How and When to See the Eiffel Tower's Dazzling Light Show The Best Monuments and Memorials in Washington, D.C. The Ultimate Itinerary for a European-Inspired Solo Trip Around the U.S.