911 Tribute in Light

Six months after the Twin Towers were destroyed, they resurfaced as two blue beams of light dazzling the Manhattan skyline. 

Since September 11, 2003, two pillars of light have pierced the Lower Manhattan sky each year from sunset to dawn, briefly restoring our skyline to its prior state. 

Tribute in Light was first installed as a months-long temporary artwork in early 2002 to memorialize the September 11 attacks. 

It was reinstated on the second anniversary, and the practice has continued ever since.

Artists John Bennett, Gustavo Bonevardi, Richard Nash Gould, Julian LeVardiere, and Paul Myoda conceptualized the project with lighting input from Paul Marantz. 

The Municipal Art Society and Creative Time collaborated on the unique public art piece.

It has been under the auspices of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum since 2012 when it took over the lease for the Battery Parking Garage, where the light fixtures are located.

Timings of 911 Tribute in Light

The homage lights up the sky on September 11 every year. 

The 9/11 Memorial Museum welcomes the general public to view this particular homage from the Memorial Plaza, which will be open from 3 pm to midnight.

The first presentation of the homage took place six months after the September 11 attacks. 

The installation operated temporarily from March 11 to April 14, 2002. 

Since then, on September 11, the two beams have shone brightly into the sky. 

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation funded the homage as it began on the six-month anniversary of the attacks and has continued to support it for years after that.

The twin beams, assembled on the Battery Parking Garage roof south of the 9/11 Memorial, reach up to four miles into the sky.

They are made up of eighty-eight 7,000-watt xenon light bulbs arranged in two 48-foot squares, reflecting the shape and orientation of the Twin Towers. 

The installation can also be seen from a radius of 60 miles around lower Manhattan.

Every year, a team of several dozen technicians and lighting professionals collaborate to install 88 enormous spotlights over many days, splitting them into two 48-foot squares positioned to imitate the shape and orientation of the towers. 

They appear in the night sky at the approximate site of the original towers.

Want to visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum? We recommend checking out the tickets for the 9/11 Memorial to enhance your trip to New York City!

Viewing Points of 9/11 Tribute in Light

The beams will shine four miles into the sky and can be seen from 60 miles away, beginning at dark and lasting until daybreak. 

You can glimpse the iconic monument anywhere in the city or neighboring areas, but we’ve compiled a few outstanding viewing sites.

The Chapel of St. Paul

St. Paul’s is across the street from the original location of the Twin Towers and has been dubbed “The Little Chapel That Stood” because it remained standing after the World Trade Centers collapsed. 

You can look at the 9/11 Tribute in Light from here.

The Bell of Hope (a gift from London following the 9/11 attacks) will ring at 8.46 am on September 11, the exact time the first jet impacted the North Tower. 

It is then followed by a traditional fireman’s salute to memorialize those who have died.

Washington Square Park

The Washington Square Arch provided a beautiful perspective of the Twin Towers. 

Today, it’s a lovely site to see the Tribute in Light.

Viewed from an Observation Deck

Numerous observation platforms provide breathtaking views of the city. 

The top deck of the Empire State Building, directly north of the memorial lights, will be illuminated in memory of 9/11. 

The Hudson Yards Edge outdoor terrace is also fantastic for viewing the Tribute in Light.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Light beams flare high over the Manhattan cityscape across the East River. 

Brooklyn Bridge Park is large enough that you may find a peaceful location to enjoy it.

Brooklyn Heights Promenade

The Brooklyn Heights Interfaith Clergy Association has held a candlelight vigil and commemoration along the Promenade for the past 20 years. 

It’s an emotional sight and experience, with stunning views of the Tribute in Light across the lake.

American Veterans Memorial Pier

This memorial honors the 283 Brooklyn residents who died on September 11. 

The Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan are visible from the pier, providing excellent views of the Tribute in Light.

9/11 Memorial Park in Queens

This location in the Rockaways was formerly an empty area where neighborhood inhabitants stood and watched the Twin Towers collapse. 

On the September 11 anniversary, the park remembers the events of 9/11, and visitors may view the unmistakable beams soaring into the sky.

The Staten Island Ferry

The Staten Island Ferry
Image: USnews.com

The Staten Island Ferry provides a spectacular perspective of Manhattan. 

Seeing the homage from afar, mirrored on the river, with the Statue of Liberty in view, is an unforgettable experience.

Liberty State Park

Liberty State Park in New Jersey, located opposite Liberty and Ellis Islands, is a public park where tourists may see the beams from across the Hudson. 

Endless Sky, a memorial to the 749 New Jersey citizens killed on 9/11, is also located there.

Eagle Rock Reservation

This 400+ acre park offers New York City skyline vistas and the iconic 9/11 beams visible from the New Jersey hillside. 

The park also features a 9/11 memorial and will hold a solemn remembrance event.

Every New Yorker remembers their personal experiences from that day and silently pays tribute to the lives lost on September 11. 

At the same time, the memorial’s impermanence allows us to move forward during the other 364 days of the year. 

The 9/11 Tower of Lights event is a great lesson in preservation: remembering the past makes us stronger in the future.

Featured Image: 911memorial.org

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