9/11 Museum brings Liberty back Downtown

Tourists by the new open walkway at Liberty St., Friday, May 16. Downtown Express photo by Josh Rogers
Tourists by the new open walkway at Liberty St., Friday, May 16. Downtown Express photo by Josh Rogers

By JOSH ROGERS  | The opening of the 9/11 Museum this week for previews has freed up much of the World Trade Center to visitors, allowing strollers to visit the memorial, and pedestrians to cross the site at Liberty St.

“We went for a stroll last night,” Kristine Boel, 29, said Friday as she walked again with her newborn, two-week-old daughter, Olivia, her husband, Christian, and their French bulldog. “It gives you another place to walk. We’ve been watching all the work from our window.”

She said she would “definitely” visit the museum soon after it opens to the general public, May 21. She said it was moving to see images of the museum on TV —  “it took my breath away.”

The memorial, which opened almost three years ago on the tenth anniversary of the attack,  required reservations for free tickets up until late in the day yesterday.

Museum officials said Wednesday at a press preview that the opening is an important milestone for the memorial as well.

“It will be a park for people to come sit on a bench and contemplate,” Alice Greenwald, the museum’s director, told Downtown Express May 14.

The next day,  President Obama and other officials attended the opening ceremony for the museum, which has information on the 2,983 killed in the attack’s three locations, and is also full of large artifacts from the W.T.C. like firetrucks damaged in the attack and the remnants of the “Survivors’ Stairs,” which helped hundreds evacuate the W.T.C. on Sept. 11, 2001.

Prior to the public opening Wednesday, the museum is open by reservation to family members of the victims, rescue workers, survivors and Lower Manhattan residents.

The memorial plaza was busy with visitors May 16 as well as people using the new walkway.

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum has made other additions during this opening period including adding an outdoor cafe/food truck and moving the Downtown Alliance information kiosk to the memorial.

An Alliance worker said things were much busier in the temporary location near Greenwich and Liberty Sts. Just then, four  men dressed in business suits walked by and one had a question for a police office officer: “Can we exit that way?”

Yes, they can.