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Memorial Plaque at Battery Park, beneath "The Sphere" Sculpture, now a Temporary Memorial

This is the memorial plaque near the resurrected Sphere sculpture at Battery Park, Manhattan, New York City.




'The only work of art to survive the World Trade Center Terrorist Attack'


The Sphere originally adorned the Austin Tobin plaza at the World Trade Center complex, but endures now at Battery Park as an icon of hope and interim memorial to the thousands who perished at the World Trade Center on September 11th. It is the same sphere sculpture that, prior to September 11th, was referred to as “a monument to fostering world peace” that sat atop a granite fountain in the center of the 5-acre World Trade Center Plaza. The Sphere was created by sculptor Fritz Koenig in 1971, and is made out of bronze and steel and weighs approximately 45,000 pounds.


After September 11th, the sphere was found among the twisted rubble of the Twin Towers. Although it sustained a large gash through its center, and it was battered, dented and scared, it remained structurally intact. According to Fritz Koenig's friend and translator (quoted from a BBC article), "they found intestines of one airplane inside a hole that was ripped open in the top of the sculpture. They found a bible in there, an airline seat, papers from offices from the top floor. It became its own cemetery."


Yet amazingly, The Sphere had survived in a condition that would be recognizable to the thousands of New York City office workers and passers-by who had gathered around its base over the past three decades to chat, eat a sack lunch, or just enjoy the sunshine and spectacular view.


Fritz Koenig supervised the reassembly of the Sphere (they dressed the sculpture's wounds without erasing its scars), and he said that incorporation of his creation in the interim memorial at Battery Park ensured the "memory of the place where people worked and met would be truly represented." He said his sphere "now has a different beauty, one I could never imagine. It has its own life - different from the one I gave to it." (Quoted from BBC News)


When I first set eyes on the Sphere, I was stunned by my deep emotional reaction. I thought, “The Sphere was there, at the World Trade Center, on September 11th, 2001, and now it is here--in front of me.” It’s once shining bronze skin is bent and deeply scratched, a star shaped hole is on one side. But the sculpture still survives.


To me, this battered and beautiful piece of art, The Sphere, represents the perseverance, resilience and courage of all New Yorkers that terrible day, and as a moving memorial to those thousands of lost innocents, their lives cut short by incredible evil.


A flame burned in remembrance and flowers were set at the foot of The Sphere. I realized I was looking at one of the only few remaining artifacts from the World Trade Center, and I reflected on what the Sphere represented, and I was overwhelmed.

Tears ran down my cheeks.


I said a silent prayer for the thousands who lost their lives that horrible fateful day. Seeing The Sphere – reassembled in Battery Park, was an awesome experience for me. The Sphere memorial is an example of the true power of art to heal, and embrace the emotions of remembrance.




'The only work of art to survive the World Trade Center Terrorist Attack'


The only work of art in or around the World Trade Center that miraculously survived the terror attack of September 11, 2001, is the monumental fountain sculpture “Kugelkaryatide” created and built by the Bavarian sculptor Fritz Koenig. Although “The Sphere” survived, it is not undamaged. It carries heavy scars that make it an eloquent witness of the disaster. The Sphere, that once stood in the middle of Austin Tobin Plaza, the area between the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan, is currently displayed in Battery Park.


Upon recovery of The Sphere from the rubble pile of the Twin Towers, where an airliner seat, a Bible and papers from the various offices in the World Trade Center were discovered within, it was dismantled and sent to storage near John F. Kennedy International Airport. Although it remained structurally intact, it had been visibly damaged by debris from the airliners that were crashed into the buildings and the collapsing skyscrapers themselves. The hail of steel, flame and debris that fell from the sky that day disfigured The Sphere - but did not destroy it.


The links below will take you to photographs of The Sphere as it appeared prior to September 11, 2001, where it once stood at Austin Tobin Plaza at the World Trade Center, and also to a photo of what The Sphere looked like in the rubble of the two towers after the terrorist attack:






At first, Koenig opposed reinstalling The Sphere, considering it "a beautiful corpse." Its uncovering had been widely covered in local news media in the New York metropolitan area, however, and as it was a memorable feature of the Twin Towers site there was much discussion about using it in a memorial, especially since it seemed to have come through the attacks relatively unscathed.


The sculpture was eventually returned to Manhattan, and on March 11, 2002, six months to the day after the attacks, it was re-erected in Battery Park, several blocks away from where it once stood. Koenig himself supervised the work; it took four engineers and 15 ironworkers to create a new base. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, his predecessor Rudolph Giuliani and other local officials spoke at a ceremony rededicating it as a memorial to the victims.


"It was a sculpture, now it's a monument," Koenig said, noting how the thin globe had mostly survived the cataclysm. "It now has a different beauty, one I could never imagine. It has its own life - different from the one I gave to it." As the center piece of a memorial for the victims of the attack, it will be a witness of the terrible day for generations to come.


The plaque alongside The Sphere reads as follows:


For three decades, this sculpture stood in the plaza of the World Trade Center. Entitled "The Sphere", it was conceived by artist Fritz Koenig as a symbol of world peace. It was damaged during the tragic events of September 11, 2001, but endures as an icon of hope and the indestructible spirit of this country. The Sphere was placed here on March 11, 2002 as a temporary memorial to all who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center. This eternal flame was ignited on September 11, 2002 in honour of all those that were lost. Their spirit and sacrifice will never be forgotten.


Source: Wikipedia.com and PercyAdlon.com


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Taken on October 3, 2004