Purpose: Staten Island was hard hit by 9-11. Immediately after the event, Snug Harbor was hosting 2-3 funerals per day, many of them for rescue workers. As such, there was huge demand for a large scale Staten Island memorial to honor both those that died and the heroism of all those who served. The SIBG has created a memorial built with natural elements that will aid healing for both firefighters--in particular the Rescue 5 firehouse with whom they are working--and all Staten Islanders. They have converted a small building into a permanent 9-11 tribute center where a permanent display, a rotating display, and a documentary viewing space are housed. Working closely with a clinical psychologist, a city parks landscape architect, as well as a 150-person citizens committee to create this memorial. The goals of the committee were clear: to create a natural space that offers solace, beauty, and a destination for remembrance and healing.
Reason site was selected: Prior to 9-11, the site had been considered by the SIBG to have "unrealized potential" as a woodland garden. The living memorial project presented a chance to redevelop a site and create a space with a feeling of enclosure, direction, flow, journey, privacy, and opportunity, interacting with all of the senses throughout. It will include a central allele that the sun will pass through to create a dappled effect, and visitors will walk down gently graded switchbacks to end at an artesian well and "gazing sphere" (made from WTC scrap) at the bottom of the site.
Events planned for site: The site will feature the restored 18" caliper callary pear from the WTC site that the SIBG staff nursed back to health. This September 11, the groundbreaking ceremony will feature planting of the cuttings from this tree. The staff is working with the city councilman and many other partners to put together the large-scale public event, hopefully to involve every single fire company in Staten Island. Beyond that, the tribute center will offer a chance for changing events and interaction, but the living memorial will remain as a permanent, personal, natural destination for healing and peace.
Do you believe your memorial is a sacred place?: The SIBG staff firmly believes in the power of trees and the ability to create a healing space, and they hope that the community will find it sacred as well.