At The World Trade Center
Visitors to the WTC will find a bustling construction site. Though with work active in literally every corner of the famed 16 acres, catching a glimpse of the west and east bathtubs is increasingly limited by perimeter fencing and construction equipment. Sidewalks are partially open on the north, east, and south sides of the site, but as rebuilding ramps up pedestrian areas will be more limited.
For the next several years visitors can take in the best site views from the pedestrian bridges across West Street, located both on Liberty and Vesey Streets. The temporary PATH train station interior also provides limited views within the site below street level.
Across West Street in Battery Park City, visitors also can view the WTC from inside the World Financial Center. There they can dine at more than a dozen restaurants both indoors and on the waterfront, shop at the many luxury and national retail stores, and visit the Winter Garden galleria, where performance and installation art is regularly exhibited.
To the immediate north visitors can relax at 7 WTC park, located at Vesey Street between West Broadway and Greenwich Street. The triangular park opened on May 23, 2006 upon the opening of 7 WTC-the first rebuilt Trade Center tower-bringing public seating, a fountain, and artist Jeff Koons's red stainless-steel sculpture Balloon Flower to the landscaped plaza.
The 7 World Trade Center tower is itself an artistic work. Its lighting and exterior was designed by architect and artist James Carpenter, who created a unique "ship-lap" configuration for its ultra-reflective glass façade. This form lets small gaps between floors capture natural light that is reflected onto the glass skin, making the building appear glow by night and by day change in color depending on the weather and angle of the sun.
Carpenter also designed the tower's distinct stainless-steel podium. The façade is made of two layers of thin steel prisms that create a reflective surface. The three-story-tall building lobby on Greenwich Street maximizes natural light, while the façade glass is held in place by an impact-resistant steel cable design.
Inside the lobby, visitors can see downtown's only permanent installation by artist Jenny Holzer. Positioned behind the front desk, the 65-foot-wide, 14-foot-high installation features scrolling text illuminated by white LEDs within an acid-etched, diffused, translucent glass. The continuous stream of text runs on an eight-hour loop and features the poetry and prose of authors Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg, Langston Hughes, Elizabeth Bishop, and others.
The Tribute WTC Visitor Center is open at 120 Liberty Street at the site's south border (www.tributenyc.org). Created by the non-profit September 11th Families' Association, the Tribute Center opened in September 2006 with the support of then Governor George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It is open seven days a week as a place where guests can view exhibits, join walking tours, make donations, and hear personal stories about the events of 9/11 and the 1993 WTC bombing.
The 9/11 Memorial Preview Site, at 20 Vesey Street, opened in August 2009 to educate the public about the plans for and progress of Memorial and Museum currently being built at the World Trade Center site. Visitors can view real time images of the construction progress and participate in the creation of the Museum by sharing your 9/11 story. The site is open seven days a week.