Walk time: 24 minutes without stops
Lower Manhattan is known as the home of the American financial markets, as well as some early American history. Not as well-known is the number of memorials found in this area of New York City. This tour highlights memorials closest to the Museum, which is itself a memorial.
Our tour starts above the 9/11 Memorial at Liberty Park. In the early days after the 9/11 tragedy, as rescue crews worked to find potential survivors of the attack and to clear the debris, one hopeful moment was finding the bronze sculpture by Fritz Koenig called “The Sphere.” Originally set in the plaza between the two World Trade Center buildings, the sculpture survived the September 11 attack damaged but intact. Today “The Sphere” overlooks the 9/11 Memorial plaza from Liberty Park.
From Liberty Park, walk north through the 9/11 Memorial. For anyone interested in exploring Lower Manhattan, a trip here is a must. Even if time prevents a visit to the 9/11 Museum, the two memorial pools that sit in the footprints of the former Twin Towers are a somber and beautiful reflection. The names of the 2,983 people who were killed in the 2001 and 1993 terrorist attacks are inscribed on bronze parapets.
Walk toward the river and follow the river path called The Esplanade through the marina. At the south end of the marina is the NYC Police Memorial, created in honor of those who lost their lives in the line of duty, the Police Memorial is located at Liberty Street and South End Avenue. The memorial was dedicated on October 20, 1997, and is currently being expanded as more names are added due to deaths from 9/11-related illnesses.
Turn right at the police memorial and take the first set of steps on your left. At the top of the steps, to your right is a slab of concrete with a green caricature painting: A segment from the Berlin Wall. Before the destruction of the wall in 1989, this segment stood in downtown Berlin in the area between Potsdamer Platz and Leipziger Platz. It was part of the inner wall designed to prevent East Germans from escaping.
Now walk back to the river and continue south along the Esplanade. After a few blocks, you’ll see the top of the Museum’s six sided original Core building among the treescape. Pass the South Cove marina, and as you approach the Museum, you’ll first see a statue of a woman and two children in a ship pointing across the Hudson at Ellis Island - the Mother Cabrini Memorial, honoring the first American citizen to be canonized as a saint in the Catholic Church. Mother Cabrini dedicated her life to serving her community and those less fortunate, with an emphasis on immigrants to the United States.
Both a museum and a memorial, the Museum’s original Core building is six-sided to symbolize the six points of the Star of David and the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. The Museum’s mission is to educate people of all ages and backgrounds about the broad tapestry of Jewish life over the past century - before, during, and after the Holocaust.