Governor George E. Pataki, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Chairman John C. Whitehead today unveiled plans for an interim memorial for victims of the September 11th World Trade Center attack and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The centerpiece of the memorial will be "The Sphere", a monument to fostering world peace that was located in the World Trade Center plaza fountain prior to the attack. The Sphere sustained a gash through its center, but it remained structurally intact and safeguarded by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.
The interim memorial will be located near the southern tip of Greenwich Street, which terminates at Ground Zero and resumes on the northern side. The Sphere, created by Fritz Koenig, will be situated in an historic area of Battery Park, on the Eisenhower Mall, near Bowling Green and adjacent to Hope Garden. It will be framed by rows of trees and park benches on either side.
Governor Pataki said, "Nothing can truly blunt the feeling of loss for the victims' families, and for all New Yorkers, but The Sphere, a monument that symbolized fostering world peace when it was a focal point in the WTC Plaza, is a fitting interim memorial. As we strive to heal from the unspeakable horror of September 11, we can look to this symbol of hope as a place from which we draw strength, and remember."
Mayor Bloomberg said, ""The intention of the interim memorials is to provide all New Yorkers with a place to pay tribute to the memory of those we have lost in the tragic events of September 11th and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Our hope is that the 'Tribute in Light' memorial provides a small amount of respite, and that 'The Sphere' memorial serves as a place to mourn and reflect. Both memorials express the power of art to heal and serve as a symbol of the spirit and courage of America and the resilience of New York City."
LMDC Chairman John C. Whitehead said, "The Sphere is a fitting centerpiece for the interim memorial. It has always served as a symbol of world peace and now it will stand as a testament to our resilience in the aftermath of this terrible tragedy. The interim memorial will provide a respectful and contemplative place for families, survivors and the general public, while the creation of a permanent memorial is pursued."
Sculptor Fritz Koenig said, "The Sphere was found upright in the rubble after the attack. It should be placed upright again so that its spirit would not be corrupted, and that the memory of the place where people worked and met would be truly represented. As an artist and a craftsman, I offer my professional services to help to put it up for the families of the victims, in the best possible way."
LMDC President Lou Tomson said, "Numerous talented people devoted their time and energy to conceive and then implement plans for an interim memorial that would be in place by March 11. I want to thank all of the agencies and individuals who made this memorial a reality, especially the families. Their insight helped guide us throughout this important process."
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, "The Port Authority family lost 75 police and civilian coworkers on September 11. The Koenig Sphere, which was damaged but not destroyed, is a fitting centerpiece in a memorial that symbolizes the sorrow that all New Yorkers share, and our determination to rise above tragedy and rebuild a better world."
Christy Ferer, the Mayor's Liaison to the Families and member of the LMDC Families Advisory Council, said, "The Sphere was always an important meeting place and has great personal significance for those who worked in the World Trade Center. For that reason, it is an appropriate and touching symbol to show that the spirit of global peace it represents will endure."
The 15-foot diameter Sphere was created by sculptor Fritz Koenig in 1971 as a monument to fostering world peace through world trade. Prior to the attack, it sat atop a granite fountain in the middle of the 5-acre World Trade Center plaza. It is made of steel and bronze and weighs approximately 45,000 pounds.
The interim memorial will be dedicated during a ceremony on March 11.
About the LMDC
The LMDC is a joint State-City corporation formed by the Governor and Mayor to oversee the rebuilding and revitalization of Lower Manhattan. The LMDC is governed by a 16-member Board of Directors -- eight appointed by the Governor, eight appointed by the Mayor -- and is chaired by John C. Whitehead. To assist in its mission, the Corporation has formed several Advisory Councils and a general Advisory Committee comprised of federal, state and city elected officials, business and civic leaders to represent the interests of various constituencies affected by the September 11th attacks. The Councils will provide input on such issues as transportation and infrastructure, business development and retention, residential concerns, development, tourism and the arts, and the planning of an appropriate memorial.