Right before Hurricane Irene was scheduled to hit New York City, a large group of volunteers removed tiles commemorating the 9/11 attacks from the chain link fence at Mulry Square in the West Village. Today, the tiles are going back up.
According to DNAinfo, the tiles are being reinstalled as part of the Father Mychal Judge Walk of Remembrance today. Last week, Dusty Berke, West Village resident and self-described "Village Angel," told us that the group never intended "to donate or take them anywhere. We managed to remove the entire Memorial and get it safely tucked away only minutes before the rain started coming down... Everyone was asking what was going to happen to the tiles and I did hear someone mistakenly say they might go to a museum or something and I suppose some of the fragile tiles might end up needing a good home but that good home should be right here where they belong."
Berke added that she had no idea so many people had joined her and other Village Angels, "One by one people passing by stopped to help and people started showing up with clippers, carts, even a broom to help clean up after ourselves... I was so busy working that I didn’t even realize how many people had joined in to help so when I looked up and saw the fence was lined with people young and old lovingly removing and organizing the tiles I thought now that’s the American spirit, actually it’s a human thing... We managed to remove the entire Memorial and get it safely tucked away only minutes before the rain started coming down."
Community Board 2 wants to keep the tiles at Mulry Square, but the property is owned by the MTA, which wants to build a ventilation station there. Berke said, "My hope is that we might be able to find a compromise and encourage artists and architects to design a more thoughtful structure than the [current one] proposed that would happen to house the ventilation system yet be a proper Memorial."