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Looking down at the 9/11 Memorial from the top of 1 WTC
Let's begin our tour at the temporary PATH Station. It's on the corner of Vesey and Greenwich, just east of 1 WTC. When the new transportation hub opens in 2014, it'll no longer be necessary, and by 2015 it'll be removed. After that, the Performing Arts Center may be built here if funds can be found.
We've now walking behind the PATH Station and are looking South across the 9/11 Memorial Plaza to the Memorial Museum pavilion designed by SnÃ¸hetta, the Norwegian architecture firm. 4 WTC can be seen being built just above the memorial flowers.
From the viewing platform we're looking deep into the pit- there's a massive substructure for the transit lines and WTC buildings still being constructed down there.
A closeup of the memorial pavilion- this will be the main entrance to the museum.
We have now ascended to the 30th Floor of 1 WTC. Notice the windows have been completed- glass on the facade is up to the 45th Floor- and the building itself has been built to the 70th story- going up to 72 stories this week.
Ascending to the 61st Floor, you can see what things look like before the glass arrives- netting prevents people from falls.
These cranes are cool: they can actually lift themselves up on a jack, while support is built beneath- so as the building advances up they go with it. The driver sits in a glass-bottomed booth- not for the faint of heart.
This is the south side of 1 WTC- you can see the thick concrete walls, which are a security measure.
The North Memorial Pool at the 9/11 Memorial
Here we can see some of the 180 swamp oak trees that have already been planted on the plaza. Eventually the trees will reach 60' high. Fifty more will be planted before the 10th anniversary. By September 11th this year, the entire Memorial Plaza and both pools will be complete- only the northeast area by 2 and 3 WTC and along Greenwich will still be under construction.
Hidden behind the trees you can see the exhaust buildings for the museum, clad in metal.
A view of the south pool, which is being finished. The designers felt the original color of the pool was too light, so the base is being finished with darker panels. The pool should have water again in a few weeks.
Once inside the museum pavilion, you see these two enormous "tridents" from the exterior base of the original World Trade Center buildings. In the distance you can see 1 WTC, which will eventually top out at 1776 feet (including the antenna).
From the entry way of the museum, we descend 80 feet to the base of the "bathtub"- here you can see the bottom of one of the memorial pools. The museum is officially scheduled to be complete by Summer 2013, but rumor has it that it might be completed ahead of schedule, by the 2012 anniversary.
A view of the descending walkway inside the museum.
A view of one of the large exhibition halls in the museum. Inside the white box is the famous "last column" removed from the original site. On the left side you can see the "tie-backs" holding up the wall of the WTC bathtub. In the center top you can see the large hole in the ceiling which the museum is using to bring in large artifacts, like firetrucks.
On the right you can see the famous "survivor stairs" from the original site- they had to be carefully supported with a metal framework before they could be moved.
The scale of the museum is enormous- and descending the walkway and stairs to the bedrock is a very moving experience.
Looking back up towards 1 WTC from the south memorial pool- the museum pavilion is in the middle right.
A final overview of the site from the top of 1 WTC- this is looking south, with 4 WTC visible in the upper left side of the image. Click here for a large version of this shot.