I grew up in Lower Manhattan.
Though I’ve lived in Maryland since 1973, once a New Yorker…always a New Yorker. So, I’ve always felt the closeness of a New Yorker to the events of September 11, 2001. Earlier this month I finally had the opportunity to visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum to pay my respects to those who died there and also to see the magnificent 1 World Trade Center, which soars above the memorial, just to its North.
The museum and the memorial are fully accessible. But you may have to detour around a bit to avoid some steps at the memorial and to skirt some construction that blocks some nearby sidewalks.
The 9/11 Museum
The museum (the yellow square on the map) is on the Greenwich Street side of the plaza, between the North and South memorials. Trying to ride my scooter along Greenwich Street, on one side of the plaza, and West Street, on the other, required zig-zagging from one side of the street to the other to dodge construction blocking the sidewalk, but it wasn’t a big deal.
At the museum you need a ticket. You can buy one at the museum ($24 a person with discounts for seniors, students, teens and the military), but if you go that route you can pretty much plan on waiting in line at the ticket booth. It’s much easier and faster to buy a ticket on the museum’s web site. Since the tickets are issued for specific entry-times, buying on-line also avoids a possible wait between purchase time and entry time. When I visited there was also a line of ticket-holders waiting to actually enter. However, when a museum volunteer spotted my scooter I was ushered right in via the entrance that’s reserved for staff, museum contributors and relatives of 9/11 victims.
Inside everything is accessible, either via ramp or elevator, and there are plenty of volunteers stationed all over if help is needed. If you’re not using a scooter or a chair be warned, there’s lots of walking. But wheelchairs and walkers are available at the information desk at no charge, first-come first-served. You might want to take advantage of that. There are accessible rest rooms on several levels of the museum.
Guided tours are available, at an extra charge. I was on my scooter but, since my wife is a slow walker, rather than feel rushed by the pace of a group we decided to download the museum’s app to our iPhones. It contains an audio tour which allowed us to go at our own pace.
The 9/11 Memorial Plaza
Twin memorial pools fill the spots where the north and south towers stood. The names of every person who died in the terrorist attacks of February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001 are inscribed in bronze around each pool.
There are several entrances to the memorial plaza. All are shown on the map in this post and there are signs that direct you to each.
Tours of the memorial are available, for a charge, by a memorial staff member or by a 9/11 Tribute Center volunteer, each of whom has a direct connection to the events of that day.
There are NO public restrooms at or near the memorial plaza. There are accessible restrooms inside the 9/11 Museum, but you need a ticket to enter.
1 World Trade Center
1 World Trade Center soars above the 9/11 Memorial Plaza. It’s the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the observation center is on the 102nd floor. A ticket is required to go up to the observation level, even if you just want to eat at one of the restaurants up there. Like the museum, it’s best to buy this on-line before you arrive. The entrance for the observation platform is on the West Street side of the building.
There are accessible restrooms at several locations in 1 World Trade Center but you can’t get to them without an observation center ticket.
If for more information about accessibility you can contact the Guest Services office at 844-OWO-1776.
If you’re in the mood to shop, the very-upscale Brookfield Place is directly across West Street from the 9/11 Memorial. But let me warn you, it’s hard to find an entrance door with an automatic opener. I finally found one far to the right of the main (West Street) entrance. To go from inside the mall to the area, outside, along the Hudson River I could , again, find only one door. Again, it’s not easy to spot and there are no signs indicating its location…near P.J. Clarke’s restaurant.
For a nearly-new building, the lack of automatic doors that are easy to locate is inexcusable, Pelli Clarke Pelli architects. Just sayin’.
For some information about getting around via public transit in NYC check the NYC Travel page on this web site.