On September 11th, 2011, Barack Obama recognized New York’s newest monument. First time visitors to New York, those who come to the city often, and residents have since been lining up to see the memorial. Visiting the National September 11th Memorial takes some planning, but it’s well worth seeing.  


The Memorial consists mainly of two infinity pools that are situated over the cores of the two Twin Tower foundations. The water runs down the edges of the monuments, waterfall style, and then cycles back up to the top. Around the edges of the pools are the names of all 9-11 victims. The names are not engraved like on the Vietnam Memorial, but instead the letters of the names are punched clear through, so people can leave flowers, flags, or notes standing up right on top of the memorial.


The memorial is simple, which makes it all the more moving. Besides the two infinity pools and tree-lined walkways, there is a museum which is slated to open in 2012. In order to get into the Memorial, visitors have to reserve tickets on their website. Do this a several days in advance. I got online on a Friday and the first set of tickets that were available were for the following Monday at 4:00. If you plan on visiting on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, reserve your tickets at least two months in advance. My friends and I ended up staying in New York an extra day so we could see the Memorial on Monday. Tickets are free, but donations are accepted though the website.

Once securing tickets, they can be printed at home or picked up via a self-service kiosk in the Visitors Center at 90 West Street (the corner of Albany and West). The Visitors Center is very crowded and serves as mostly a gift shop. There is a timeline of  9-11 events on the wall, but that’s about it as far as information goes. The Visitors Center is open daily until 8:30 pm. It opens Mon-Fri at 10, weekends at 9.

Once printing out your tickets, head to the corner of Albany and Greenwich (near Wall Street). You have to show your ticket in order to get in line, and will not be permitted to line up more than 1/2 an hour before the time on your ticket. Once in line, be prepared to wait. We waited in line for a little over an  hour before actually getting into the site, so plan accordingly. Security is pretty extensive, as can be expected.  The website mentions that you need ID, although we were not asked to show ours.    

The Memorial was well worth staying an extra day, the hassle of securing tickets, and the long wait in line. It wouldn’t have seemed right to come to New York and not pay our respects.