Last time I was near the World Trade Center, the fences were still up and you needed tickets to get into the memorial area. That is no longer the case, as of May. This September 11 is the first anniversary of the memorial. You can just walk into the plaza now and visit. I’ll give more information on the bottom – you can see pictures from my visit as you scroll down.
You can see a short video of what the World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial pool looks like here.
How the names are placed at the 9/11 Memorial
The 2,983 names are placed in “meaningful adjacencies,” based on relationships the people had with those they worked with or knew. As you walk around the memorial, you might see sections for Port Authority police officers, various ladder companies and police departments. Most employees of a company are listed together.
The North pool honors those who died in that building, along with those from Flight 11 and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
The South pool honors those who died in that building, first responders, those who died at the Pentagon, and those who died on Flights 77, 93 and 175.
If you’d like to look for someone specific, you can also look ahead of time on the website, or they have kiosks on site. You’ll be given a short bio of the person you look up, find out the requested adjacencies, the panel number and the panel location on the map and where on the bronze panel you’ll find the name. Each bronze section with names has a letter and number below it, N for North, or S for South.
When to go: If you have a choice in times, I’d recommend going first thing in the morning when it’s less busy, or later at night when it’s lit up. I went first thing in the morning when it was serene and calm, and it was easier to have quiet reflection. When I came out of the 9/11 Memorial Museum, it was crowded with tourists, many taking selfies. It was very odd and disturbing. My friend Stacy best expressed the lack of respect here.
Access: The area is still under construction. There are currently three access points (Liberty and Greenwich Street, Liberty and West Street, or West and Fulton Street). You can see a site map and directions (including subway stops) here.
Facilities: Know that there aren’t public restrooms on site, nor are there trash cans. You can find public restrooms in Wagner Park or Battery Park. On Mondays through Fridays, 9-5, you can also use restrooms in Federal Hall on Wall Street.
Before you go: The memorial website suggests you download the commemorative guide before going. The guide is in several languages and gives a history, explains how the names are arranged, how the memorial was designed, and more about the survivor tree and the museum.
The 9/11 Museum: You can read our review of the 9/11 Memorial Museum and whether it’s appropriate to take kids here.