Macaulay Seminar One at Brooklyn College
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9/11 Memorial

The 9/11 memorial showed me that Art isn’t just something for artists or “artsy people.”  I learned that art can be used to channel the public feeling or help the regular people heal too at the 9/11 memorial.

The memorial had some key themes, like absence, time, and an unwillingness to let the collective spirit of NYC be crushed.

The 2 pools in place of the towers really brought home that something used to stand there, and the fact that I couldn’t see the bottom made me think of death for some reason. The water in the pool flowed downwards into the bottomless pit that sucked it down and made me feel like I was about to fall in.The black paint is supposed to wear off and show the copper underneath, which I found symbolic- black and shiny metallic paint seems to signal new, gaping, evil shock, while copper seems more distinguished and old, like the Statue of Liberty.

The names of people who had died at the site of 9/11 were carved in the bronze on the edge of the pools; Firemen, Emergency Medical Technicians, people who had worked in the towers, and even the fetus of a woman who had been taking a stroll in the area were all represented. For some reason, the fetus being mentioned in the carving made the scope of the tragedy sink in, because not only were the people who were there died- their potential descendents died as well, in a sense.

Parts of the original towers, like the tridents, were there as well.

The Survivor Tree, a pear tree that survived 9/11, was the perfect symbol of how New Yorkers feel about 9/11- just like the tree survived and grew, so will New York City. All of the other trees in the memorial are new oak trees because the Survivor Tree is there to stand out. It was nursed back to health for 9 years before being returned to its old home. True recovery takes time.

Construction is taking place in the area as part of the memorial. The construction says that life is still being lived at the World Trade Center. I feel that this is an important message to the terrorists behind 9/11. It says that New York City is doing what New York City does- build things and rebuild on top of old things- and that they do NOT have the power to alter the way we are.


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