To the average New Yorker, perhaps not much. But from a tourist’s perspective, 9/11 pervades much of our culture now.
From the moment they step on the plane, tourists are accosted by TSA agents, just-in-case of that rogue terrorist. Right down to the museums tourists visit, those fateful attacks still haunt us.
Visit the kid-friendly FDNY Museum and you’ll discover two full rooms dedicated to the firefighters lost. The International Center of Photography now houses an exhibit on photos taken on the day, as does the brilliantly-restored New York Historical Society. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the world’s largest art museums, has set aside wall space in the Education Center to hang quilts made in honor of those who were affected by the attacks.
And of course, if one travels to the actual World Trade Center site, the remnants are visible. The site itself is being built up – one tower has already made it past 104 floors! The memorial, which just opened this September 11 on the 10th anniversary, is a beautiful space that fits within and around the footprints of the original World Trade Center. In the footprints themselves are waterfalls that empty into black chasms and surrounded by the names of the almost 3000 people who lost their lives. In between is a grove of trees chosen specifically for their color and long-standing ability. The memorial is so popular that timed admission is required, and visitors must book their free tickets weeks ahead of time or risk them being sold out; the memorial just reached one million visitors. Getting in is much like the airport, with security at every stop of the way, metal detectors and scanners included.
Around the area is Ten House, the firehouse that lives right next door; a Memorial Visitor Center, which houses many artifacts from the day; and Trinity Church, which somehow withstood the power of the crumbling towers. The 9/11 Museum is currently under construction, although that has been suspended temporarily due to budget constraints.
Flags continue to proudly display patriotism, the names and pictures of lost firefighters are posted outside firehouses, city cemeteries have portioned off grave sites, museums house 9/11 artifacts, and the city skylines has completely changed.
While New Yorkers, in their constant rush through life, may not notice the changes that have slowly but surely taken place over the past 10 years, visitors are all too aware of just how much the September 11 attacks have affected this city.
And yet, we’re still here. New York is still the greatest city in the world and we’ve proved to ourselves and to those who seek our demise that we are strong and able to persevere. Tourists see our determinations, despite these attacks, and can pay tribute to the brave men and women who gave their lives over ten years ago.