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September 11 2001 Memorials in Brooklyn — A Guide for Visitors and Locals

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The September 11 Memorials of Brooklyn, New York
September 11 2001 Memorials in Brooklyn — A Guide for Visitors and Locals

The Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance in Coney Island, at the Brooklyn Cyclones MCU Stadium, depicts the twin towers of the World Trade Center, both destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, killing nearly 3,000 people.

Photo © E. Freudenheim

The September 11 Memorials of Brooklyn, New York

September 11, 2001 is a day that lives in the hearts and minds of people worldwide — and there's no overstating its impact on the New York City borough of Brooklyn.

Brooklyn's 9/11 memorials pop up all over: in Coney Island and Brooklyn Bridge Park, Park Slope and Sunset Park, Bay Ridge and Red Hook. The solemnity of the memory and magnitude of loss are captured by "living memorials" of trees, and in hard bronze sculptures. The styles vary, from graphic representations of the men and women who died, to simple street signs, so easy to miss, that mark the spot where a loved one once lived or worked.

What Happened on 9/11?

On September 11 2001 terrorists crashed two hijacked planes into the huge "twin towers", officially known as One and Two World Trade Center, in lower Manhattan. Within two hours, both buildings collapsed. Shortly thereafter, 7 World Trade Center also collapsed. Nearly 2,800 people died. Among them were 343 firefighters, 23 police officers, 37 Port Authority police officers, and more than 2,200 civilians. The environmental, economic, psychological, and political repercussions were severe. On September 11, and in the immediate days thereafter, Brooklyn, New York City and the US, were in shock.

With Brooklyn's waterfront facing Manhattan, the attack and its aftermath were terribly visible from many Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Impact of September 11 2001 on Brooklyn

Over a third of the firefighters lost that day were from Brooklyn, along with other first responders, as were many individuals who died at the World Trade Center. In addition, countless Brooklynites lost their loved ones, friends, associates, neighbors, acquaintances. Normal routines were completely disrupted. The Brooklyn Bridge was closed and public transportation impaired.

Thousands of Brooklynites were traumatized and sickened. Many who were exposed on that day to the attacks, and to the WTC "pile" of rubble in the weeks and months following, developed physical ailments from asthma to symptoms of post traumatic stress disorders. Some responders but also workers, students and teachers in the densely packed lower Manhattan area continue, a decade later, to experience various after-effects.

On September 11 2001, Brooklyn, New York City and the US, were in shock.

From Makeshift to Permanent Memorials

Anyone in Brooklyn in the days after September 11 2001 will recall a spontaneous outpouring of makeshift memorials, consisting of notes, flowers, photos, and personal mementos placed in front of firehouses and police stations, at churches and schools and in front of the private homes of men and women who had died in the attack. The victims and heroes of that day were memorialized in as many ways as one could imagine: in candlelight vigils and memorial ceremonies, in religious services, in poetry and song, in wall murals and handsome desktop photography books, in an outpouring of philanthropic giving, in theatrical productions and endless TV reports and newspaper articles; The New York Times profiled the victims, exhaustively, in a series called Portraits of Grief. Ten years after September 11 2001, few of these "people's memorials" — the impermanent acts from the heart — remain. But dozens of permanent memorials, large and small, mark both the day and honor those who lost their lives on September 11 2001. Many are listed in the Voices of September 11th, 9/11 Living Memorial online project.

The following web pages describe some, but not all, of Brooklyn's permanent memorials to the fallen of September 11, 2001.

See Calendar of Events in Brooklyn for Tenth Anniversary, September 11, 2011

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