The 9/11 Memorial, “Reflecting Absence,” opened on the 10th anniversary of the attacks, and hundreds of thousands of visitors have already flocked to the site.
Here’s what you need to know to visit:
Planning: Visitors may reserve free passes online; groups of 10 or more are encouraged to call (212) 266-5200. Visitor passes are issued for specific dates and times to ensure safety during the ongoing construction at the site. The Memorial is open to the public seven days a week.
Preparing: Visitors should come with their printed passes and a valid ID that matches their name as it appears on the pass. All visitors and bags will be screened. Bags larger than 8 inches x 17 inches x 19 inches will not be permitted at the site and there is no bag storage. While visitors are welcome to take pictures, professional photography equipment (think tripods, lights, etc.) is prohibited. Because of ongoing construction in the area, visitors should expect dust and trucks.
Arriving: The Memorial entrance is at the intersection of Albany and Greenwich avenues (here’s a map), easily accessible by the 2, 3 and 4, 5, 6 subway lines. Visitors are encouraged to bring non-perishable tribute items to leave at the foot of the Memorial. However, throwing anything (including coins) into the reflecting pools is strictly forbidden. Also on the list of don’ts is eating, drinking, smoking and pets. However, wheelchairs and other mobility devices are permitted. Here is a complete list of rules.
Navigating the Names: The Memorial features two reflecting pools that sit in the footprints of the original Twin Towers. The names of every person who died as a result of the 1993 and 2001 terror attacks are etched into the parapets surrounding the pools.
The names are grouped into nine categories and further arranged according to affiliation and personal relationships.
On the North Pool are the names of those who died in World Trade Center 1, on American Airlines Flight 11 and in the February 1993 attacks.
On the South Pool are the names of those who died in World Trade Center 2, on United Airlines Flight 175, American Airlines Flight 77, United Airlines Flight 93, in the Pentagon and all of the first responders. Visitors can locate names using the online locator, or using interactive kiosks at the site.
Exploring the Memorial: While the 9/11 Museum isn’t due to open until 2012, visitors can enjoy all of Memorial Plaza. Surrounding the reflecting pools are some 400 oak trees and a special “Survivor Tree” that was nursed back to health following the attacks. iPhone users can also enjoy a free, narrated walking tour by downloading the “Explore 9/11,” app.