View Full Version : New Jersey Selects Its 9/11 Memorial

June 30th, 2004, 07:25 PM
July 1, 2004

New Jersey Selects Its Sept. 11 Memorial


Frederic Schwartz's winning design for the New Jersey 9/11 Memorial in Liberty State Park.

The winning design for a Sept. 11 memorial in Liberty State Park in Jersey City features two stainless-steel walls and beams of light.

A design featuring two stainless-steel walls that look from a certain perspective as if the World Trade Center towers had been neatly felled and had landed in New Jersey has won the competition for New Jersey's Sept. 11 memorial, Gov. James E. McGreevey announced yesterday. The winning proposal came from the Manhattan-based architect Frederic Schwartz.

The design for the memorial, which is to be built directly across the Hudson River from ground zero at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, was the unanimous choice of a panel that represented the families of the nearly 700 New Jersey victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, officials said.

Mr. Schwartz's memorial, "Empty Sky," is reminiscent of Maya Lin's Vietnam War memorial in Washington. It has two facing walls of brushed stainless steel with the names of each New Jersey victim engraved on them. As Mr. Schwartz's firm put it: "Individuals' names are within easy reach and engraved deep enough for hand rubbing. The lettering size is three and three-quarter inches high, in Times New Roman, a familiar and easy-to-read typeface."

Each wall will be 30 feet high and 200 feet long, as long as each World Trade Center tower was wide. The walls' proportions will be the same as those of the twin towers if they were lying on their sides. And the surfaces of the steel walls will reflect the changing light of day, as the towers once did. At night the memorial will be illuminated so beams of light shoot into the sky.

Between the walls will be a walkway of bluestone. And at the base of each wall will be a space for visitors to leave tributes to the dead. The plan calls for the wall to cut across a grassy knoll in Liberty State Park, tracing a sightline that looks directly across the river to where the towers once stood.

In the park that surrounds the walls, groves of dogwood will be planted to shelter two beams taken from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. And violets, which are New Jersey's state flower, will bloom. Mr. Schwartz said yesterday in a telephone interview that he planned the memorial to be "powerful, and it should be, to reflect the magnificent people who died."

Nikki Stern, the executive director of Families of September 11, a national advocacy group, acted as an adviser to the New Jersey families. She said that the design "captured a lot of the themes that were laid out by the families group." It pays tribute to those who died at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in western Pennsylvania, where one of the planes hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001, crashed. It frames the Manhattan skyline, it alludes to the World Trade Center, and it can be seen from New York and New Jersey.

"It is a real beacon," she said. Ms. Stern, whose husband, Jim Potorti, died in the north tower of the World Trade Center, said the families also felt it resonated emotionally. "All the names are there, and you can touch and see them," she said.

This memorial, she noted, will be different from the one planned for the World Trade Center site in that it will be above ground and the families of the victims chose the design. The winning entry was selected from 320 proposals in a two-part process. First a jury of design professionals nominated a group of finalists. Then the members of the families and survivors' council selected the winning design.

Mr. Schwartz, who worked with a Massachusetts-based architect, Jessica Jamroz, on "Empty Sky," was a member of the architecture team Think, which was a finalist in the competition to design a plan for the World Trade Center site. His firm, Frederic Schwartz Architects, is also designing the Westchester County Sept. 11 memorial, "The Rising," a sculpture of steel rods to be completed by Sept. 11, 2005, at Kensico Dam Plaza, a county park in Valhalla.

He said that "this space will be different from any other." In New Jersey, he said, he was able to do what he had wanted to do in Manhattan: create a void for contemplation.

"I look up from my desk out my window," he said. "It was filled with the World Trade Center, and now the sky is empty."

Frederic Schwartz says he hopes his Sept. 11 memorial reflects "the magnificent people who died."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company



June 30th, 2004, 08:59 PM
I wonder how the memorial with the lights will be seen from New York at night.

June 30th, 2004, 09:01 PM
I wonder how the memorial with the lights will be seen from New York at night. Didn't even know that there was a New Jersey 9/11 memorial competition too.

June 30th, 2004, 09:54 PM
More photos from Frederic Schwartz Architects:




Lauren Loves NY
June 30th, 2004, 11:35 PM
I like this one a lot. Very good choice.

This isn't the same project that Tsereteli's design was being considered for, is it? This is NJ state's memorial, and Tsereteli's is for Jersey City - is that right?

July 1st, 2004, 12:16 AM
That's right; here (http://forums.wirednewyork.com/viewtopic.php?t=2166) is the thread for the Jersey City 9/11 memorial.

July 1st, 2004, 08:04 AM
July 1, 2004

New Jersey's Memorial to Face Ground Zero From the River


NEWARK, June 30 - Gov. James E. McGreevey unveiled on Wednesday the winning design of the state's official Sept. 11 memorial, featuring two walls of brushed stainless steel that will face ground zero from Liberty State Park in Jersey City.

The memorial, entitled "Empty Sky," will stand 30 feet high and extend for 200 feet. Walking between the steel walls in the northwest corner of the park, visitors will be face to face with the names of more than 700 New Jersey victims of the World Trade Center attack, engraved in nearly four-inch-high letters. The memorial was designed by Fredric Schwartz, a New York architect who also created the official Sept. 11 memorial for Westchester County.

At an unveiling ceremony at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, Mr. Schwartz, who entered several other competitions, said he was grateful that his model was chosen from the 360 bids received by the state.

"Each memorial I designed was different," Mr. Schwartz said, "but each is the same, because it is a monument for family and friends who lost a loved one on that terrible day."

The walkway of the memorial walls will be lined up perfectly with the space in between where the towers once stood. Mr. Schwartz said the planned Freedom Tower at ground zero would not encroach on his memorial's intended view of the empty sky.

A 12-member jury comprised of victims' family members unanimously chose Mr. Schwartz's design. The memorial will be open to the public 24 hours a day and will send two beams of light into the night sky every night.

"Our goal was to provide a memorial that enshrined the best nature of those lives," Mr. McGreevey said. "Also, to teach the next generation the blessings of our country and of the loss of that day."

State officials were also quick to point out that this design was not related to a controversial memorial featuring a teardrop suspended in a 10-story bronze tower, also planned to adorn the Jersey City waterfront.

Mr. Schwartz's design will be set in a large field on the banks of the Hudson River and will be surrounded by dogwood trees and violets, the state flower.

"The design really represents our families, all families and the state," said one juror, Victor Santillan, 28, of Parsippany, who lost his sister, Maria Santillan, in the 2001 attack.

Mr. McGreevey said the memorial will cost about $7 million and will be financed through private donations and state funds. It is unclear when developers will break ground or when work will be completed.

Another juror, Betsy Parks of Bayonne, whose brother Robert Emmett Parks Jr., died in the attack, was drawn to the symbolism of the memorial.

"It is going to be huge, just like the towers. The names will be large, just like the people who died," she said. "It will be open and lit up every day just like the trade center was. It was the perfect design in our minds."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

July 1st, 2004, 09:56 PM
I don't know if I like it is too simple. Blah... :|

July 1st, 2004, 10:18 PM
the Vietnam memorial is very simple but has a profound effect on those who visit it. Its not really how the memorial looks that gives it its importance but, what it expresses and its effect on those who visit it.As of beauty of the memorial in my opinion, its good. Reminds me of the vietnam memorial though. I do wonder what is going to be the national 9/11 memorial if there is going to be any wich there should be already proposals for washington d.c.

May 1st, 2006, 01:59 PM
This is a seperate monument than the one proposed for the Bayonne piers. Liberty State Park is in Jersey City . . . Bayonne piers, to those of you blinkered by the 5 boroughs, would be in Bayonne which is to the south of Jersey City.

The monument is mostly good - it is monumental in size, has a certain quality of reserved statement, it is non-representational, and would make a good addition to the Liberty State Park waterfront. And, as a cooridor of two columns aimed directly at the downtown skyline, it perfectly fits with a quintessential Jersey attitude about Manhattan's loss - the WTC defined the skyline from that angle (seen from Hudson county, seen from the highway overpass), it WAS, in a sense the city. So, a monument devoted to lost lives, which recreates that view in such a sombre way as this seems fully appropriate.

On the downside, this design is so clearly and blantantly derivative of the Vietnam Veterans memorial. names printed on walls, a non-representational monument, a monument which is landscaped so that it is PART of the landscape, a architectural intervention which points to a scar in the culture's collective consciousness. I wonder what Maya Lin is thinking right now . . .

Secondly, and more importantly, it does not seem that these plans take into account the dramatic change that will occur in the downtown skyline when the freedom tower and other WTC towers are rebuilt. How, for instance, will the two vertical lines which the monument puts into our view of the skyline at some distance interact with the new tallest building in downtown manhattan. This monument seeks to recreate (through illusion and only from a certain angle, of course) the old view of two twin towers; and this is at odds with the whole project of the freedom tower, which is to create a new tower which bears some relation to the old (in height, in footprint, in location), while not duplicating it. I am not convinced that the visual effect this monument will have, will be quite as successful once the freedom tower is built.

May 30th, 2006, 11:56 PM
Estryker, the angle that it points to was developed with the current plan for the Freedom Tower and surrounding buildings and non of the other buildings will be in that corridor.

9/11 memorial could block historic view

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

As work begins on the state's 9/11 memorial in Liberty State Park, an advocacy group is taking aim at state officials for approving a design that blocks views of the Manhattan skyline.

"The state of New Jersey should already have had a public meeting at Liberty State Park on the design of the 9/11 memorial, which blocks the historic view of New York City," said Sam Pesin, president of Friends of Liberty State Park.

The memorial - called "Empty Sky" - features two 30-foot high and 200-foot long stainless steel walls perched on a 10-foot high grassy knoll.

It has been nearly two years since family members of those who died on Sept. 11 chose the winning design - which was selected out of a field of 320 entries - and preliminary landscape and site-preparation work is nearly complete on the giant mound.

But Pesin said it's still not too late to scrap the design and go back to the drawing board.

"The public, who uses the park, deserves a role," he said.

Tom Vincz, a spokesman for the Department of the Treasury, which is overseeing construction of the memorial, said the department has received requests made by Friends of Liberty State Park and has forwarded them to the Department of Environmental Protection for review.

Preparation work is expected to be completed this week. The state will then seek bids for construction of the memorial.

May 31st, 2006, 03:41 PM
Why not make the walls transparent? Would'nt it serve the same purpose? Glass walls would be symbolic of democracy and can be illuminated at night and not block views of the surroundings.

July 31st, 2006, 01:00 PM
Critics: Skyline vanishes behind 9/11 memorial

Monday, July 31, 2006

New Jersey's planned 9/11 memorial in Liberty State Park is designed to embrace the panorama of Lower Manhattan and Ground Zero, but critics, including the mayor of Jersey City, say the tribute will ruin the view.

"It destroys a natural attraction and a beautiful vista," said Mayor Jerramiah Healy, who recently asked Gov. Jon Corzine of Hoboken to consider a different spot in the park for the memorial.

Jersey City officials have been barraged with calls from residents since crews started dumping soil in the northeastern corner of the park several months ago, Healy said.

State officials say the mound, which is now 14 to 20 feet high, will be compacted into a rolling knoll up to 10 feet high in some places. Two stainless-steel walls will rise from it, 30 feet high and 200 feet long, bearing the names of the more than 700 New Jersey residents who died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Some contend the memorial will be too big and will mar the view of Lower Manhattan from parts of the park. Some say the modern design will clash with the historic landmarks in the vicinity, including the Central Railroad of New Jersey Train Terminal, which dates back to 1889.

Sam Pesin, president of the 800-member volunteer group Friends of Liberty State Park, likens the view of Manhattan from the waterfront park to a "national shrine."

"We feel there should be a public meeting, and we want the hill design revised," Pesin said. "Certainly everyone understands the tremendous pain that the victims' families have, but this is an issue of democracy and a memorial that's going to last generations."

The memorial's design is meant to incorporate the sweeping view, said Lisa Jackson, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection, which is overseeing the project.

The memorial is called Empty Sky, and its walls, set 16 feet apart, are meant to create a visual corridor focusing on the void where the World Trade Center's Twin Towers stood across the Hudson River.

Last week, Jersey City Planning Director Robert Cotter sent a letter to Jackson saying under state law the DEP should have asked the city Planning Board to review the proposal before beginning work.

P.N.:This I'am against. Let it get built. You have a whole another 1,121 acres to get a view. This just absurd. Build it already. ALso you are allowed to walk up the lil' 10 ft mound and go in front of the memorial to get the view. The onyl way this messes it up is if you are standing right behind the damm monument, otherwise you can see it jsut fine. UGH!! I will be at the meeting to express how I feel!

October 7th, 2006, 06:56 PM
Gov says 9/11 monument will be built on LSP site

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Despite opposition from local lawmakers and residents, Gov. Jon Corzine says he wants the state's 9/11 memorial at Liberty State Park to go ahead as planned.

But the president of the volunteer Friends of Liberty State Park said he would file a lawsuit to prevent the construction of "Empty Sky" as planned.

Corzine, who met Wednesday with Hudson County lawmakers to discuss the controversial project, declared he wholeheartedly supports "Empty Sky" as it was drawn up.

The memorial will consist of two 30-foot high, 200-foot long stainless steel walls inscribed with the names of more than 700 state residents killed in the terrorist attacks. The memorial would sit on a 10-foot high hill on the park's waterfront next to the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey train terminal.

The proposed memorial has drawn opposition from the Friends of Liberty State Park and others who say it would block the spectacular views of Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty and New York harbor.

Sam Pesin, president of Friends of Liberty State Park, called the memorial a "massive monstrosity" and said the governor was making a "colossal mistake" by supporting it despite the opposition of the park's users.

"This decision shows total disregard for the democratic process, Liberty State Park, and the people who use it," he said, adding his organization would file a lawsuit later this month to try to block the project from going forward.

"I thought that once he read about the sensible reasons for the opposition, he would realize how right it would be to relocate the memorial. I really am surprised and extremely disappointed," Pesin said. "This is like a slap in the face to the Statue of Liberty."

Assemblyman Lou Manzo, D-Jersey City, who has said he's in favor of a 9/11 memorial but in another location so as not to obscure the view, expressed disappointment with Corzine's endorsement.

The unobstructed views of where the Twin Towers once stood, Manzo said, would be the "most fitting way to remember the victims of Sept. 11." He suggested the memorial be placed alongside the park's Grove of Remembrance, also dedicated to the state's victims of 9/11, which is along the cobblestone road (Audrey Zapp Drive).

Manzo, Pesin and others also have complained about the lack of public input in the process. Though "orientation meetings" were held during the open submission stage of the memorial design in which 350 proposals were submitted, once the six final designs were chosen by a jury of 12 family members of 9/11 victims, there were no further public hearings until the final design was announced.

Elaine Makatura, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, which is overseeing the project, welcomed the governor's support.

"It's been five long years and we need to remember the residents of New Jersey who died on this tragic day," she said.

Asked whether enough public hearings were held to discuss the placement of the memorial, Makatura said she "didn't want to rehash old issues," but that "this has been an open process all along."

October 11th, 2006, 01:17 PM
how historic is a view that's only been there since they filled in dumps and the old train tracks.

The people that are complaining should go look at the view from anywhere else along the NJ side of the river. There's still another 20 miles of the view for them.

October 11th, 2006, 02:43 PM
There were never dumps down there miller it was all railyards. The Jersey Central Railroad Terminal next to the site took 2/3rds of the immigrants that came through Ellis Island, more then NYC so in that respect it isa historic view beacuse that is what people saw when they first came here.

I still feel the memorial should be built there and agree with you of the rest of the waterfront offers views hell LSP itself has 1,121 other acres to see the skyline from lol.

October 16th, 2006, 12:47 PM
There were never dumps down there miller it was all railyards. The Jersey Central Railroad Terminal next to the site took 2/3rds of the immigrants that came through Ellis Island, more then NYC so in that respect it isa historic view beacuse that is what people saw when they first came here.

I still feel the memorial should be built there and agree with you of the rest of the waterfront offers views hell LSP itself has 1,121 other acres to see the skyline from lol.

Yeh, that was my home course for XC in college and the view will be the same on for the other 99.9% of the park not next to the memorial.

also, from www.libertystatepark.org (http://www.libertystatepark.org):

"Today, Liberty State Park continues to serve a vital role in the New York Harbor area. As the railroads and industry declined, the land was abandoned and became a desolate dump site."

March 14th, 2007, 12:43 AM
LSP Friends sue, say 9/11 tribute gets in the way

Friday, March 09, 2007

Claiming the Sept. 11 memorial rising at Liberty State Park in Jersey City would block "sacred" and "dramatic" views of Ground Zero and Lower Manhattan, the nonprofit Friends of Liberty State Park announced yesterday it has filed a lawsuit against the state to stop the project.

At a news conference held at the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, just across from the waterfront site of "Empty Sky - New Jersey September 11 Memorial," members of the group said they filed the lawsuit Monday against the state Department of Environmental Protection, the agency in charge in the project.

The lawsuit, filed with the Appellate Division of the New Jersey state Superior Court, alleges the DEP pursued a permit process for the project that, among other things, cut out public input, and that then the state violated its own rules by not having the State Historic Preservation office sign off on the project.

"The DEP took some shortcuts that led to the public being excluded," said Cynthia Hadjiyannis, the attorney for the FOLSP.

If successful, the court would pull the building permits for the $12 million memorial, then take out the appropriate permits, which would allow for public input into the design and location of the memorial, Hadjiyannis said.

DEP spokeswoman Elaine Makatura said the FOLSP was saying again yesterday what it's been saying for a long time - and they're wrong.

"There was a lot of time and lot of opportunity for public input," Makatura said. "This project is approved and it's moving forward."

However, Makatura wouldn't comment on the legal issues raised by the lawsuit, saying DEP attorneys haven't finished their review.

Empty Sky is comprised of two massive stainless steel walls, 30 feet high by 200 feet long, between which visitors have a clear view of Ground Zero. The two walls are to be inserted at a 10-foot-high hill, which appeared yesterday to be complete.

FOLSP officials grew alarmed last summer when the hill cut off views of Lower Manhattan, especially when one is standing close to the hill. However, unobstructed views of the famous skyline are still available by walking around the memorial and standing on the public walkway at the railing.

At a massive rally held last summer, several public officials, including Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy and state Assemblyman Louis Manzo, D-Jersey City, lambasted the design of the memorial and asked Gov. Jon Corzine to reconsider its location.

But when Corzine met with Hudson County lawmakers in October, he told them he wasn't budging.

"By its very nature it (Empty Sky) will have a severe negative impact on Liberty State Park," said FOLSP President Sam Pesin. "It will block powerful views toward Lower Manhattan from the closest and busiest area in the park."

But Mohammad Riaz, a visitor yesterday to Liberty State Park from Allentown, Pa., found nothing objectionable about the design.

"If you can walk around it, it's OK," Riaz said. "I think it'll be good."

March 14th, 2007, 09:00 AM
thats a awfully bad excuse to block this thing, JC lost alot that morning and Ive been wiating to see what they come up with. JCMAN keep us informed on this from a local point of view

October 8th, 2007, 11:01 AM
9/11 memorial unexpectedly expensive

Monday, October 08, 2007

The state's 9/11 memorial at Liberty State Park turned out to be more costly than expected, halting construction while the memorial's designers look for ways to save money without altering the project.

Opponents of the memorial's location - who have tried to block its construction, saying it would obstruct views of the Manhattan skyline - now hope the growing cost of the project will help sway others to their argument.

But the state Department of the Treasury said the project will continue at the same location, albeit at a slower pace than anticipated, Treasury spokesman Tom Vincz said.

Phase 1 of the project - demolishing the plaza in front of the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey train terminal and preparing the ground for the steel structure - is done.

Construction was supposed to begin this fall and take 14 months, and a contractor was to be chosen this summer, but with bids coming in between $22 million and $25 million - more than double the state's $9 million estimate - the Treasury has held off awarding the bid and has instead asked the memorial's architect to tweak the project to make it cheaper without changing the original concept, Vincz said. Five contractors will then be asked to submit new bids.

Vincz said $13 million has already been committed for the project, with $6 million from state coffers and $7 million from Port Authority. But while the new bids are expected to be much lower, it remains to be seen if they will be anywhere near the state's $9 million estimate.

"I don't think the people of this state will want to pay for a memorial that's going to cost this much," said Sam Pesin, president of Friends of Liberty State Park, who has opposed the memorial's size and location.

Assemblyman Lou Manzo, D-Jersey City - who also was already against the design, called "Empty Sky" - says the state would have to dip into discretionary funds to pay more toward the project, and that money could be better used elsewhere, such as children's healthcare.

Vincz said the project's cost has gone up because it's a unique concept and the price of steel has been volatile recently.

Only a handful of companies can build the memorial as designed, which will have 30-foot-high and 200-foot-long concrete walls covered with stainless steel. The names of New Jersey residents killed in the attacks will be etched into the steel. An employee of one of the companies that submitted bids to work on the project said the design requires an unusually high level of accuracy.

Also contributing to the cost, the employee said, is the elaborate landscaping surrounding the site and the fact that the structure is to be aligned exactly with Ground Zero.

The Friends of LSP, with 900 members, says the monument was picked by a group of 9/11 victims' families without input from the public.

The organization's lawyer, Cynthia Hadjiyannis, said the state Department of Environmental Protection improperly granted approval for the project with a general permit, instead of a waterfront development permit, which would have required public notice and comment on the project. The Friends of LSP have filed an appeal with the state's Appellate Division against the DEP in an attempt to stop the project.

October 10th, 2007, 08:28 PM
Jersey City 9/11 memorial put on hold

by Russell Ben-Ali Wednesday October 10, 2007, 7:19 PM

Jennifer Brown/The Star-Ledger
An artist's rendering of "Empty Sky."

Plans to build a 9/11 memorial at Liberty State Park in Jersey City have been put on hold after construction bids came in $12 million higher than the state budgeted, officials said.

Known as "Empty Sky," the award-winning memorial design has angered some park advocates who say the sheer size of the project threatens to block the park's majestic harbor views. But cheaper doesn't necessarily mean smaller, state officials say. They said they will try to streamline costs and reduce the amount of steel needed to complete the project without significantly changing its concept.

Bids submitted by contractors on the project ranged from $22 million to $25 million while the state has $10.1 million available for construction, said Tom Vincz, a spokesman for the state Treasury Department. He said state officials will ask the architect to revise plans and ask contractors to resubmit new estimates based on the revision.

Vincz said the memorial's intricate design and the volatile cost of steel likely contributed to the high estimates. But he declined to say whether the state would ask the architect to reduce the memorial's size. In the meantime, construction on the project, which was slated to begin this fall and last 14 months, has been put on hold, Vincz said.

"Empty Sky" is a modernistic memorial design from New York architect Frederic Schwartz that will honor the 691 New Jerseyans killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It consists of two parallel stainless steel walls, each 200 feet long and rising 30 feet, that symbolize the fallen Twin Towers.

Read the full story in Thursday's Star-Ledger

October 19th, 2007, 04:21 AM
State's 9/11 memorial at standstill, says official

Friday, October 19, 2007

State Department of Environmental Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson confirmed yesterday that the state's 9/11 memorial, planned for Liberty State Park, is "at a standstill."

The project, which the DEP oversees, has turned out to be far more expensive than the state budgeted for, but Jackson said she hopes that the state can find the funds to construct the memorial.

Jackson spoke about the project during an interview following her appearance at the park's Interpretive Center to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the passage of the Clean Water Act.

Critics say the steel structure is too costly and a "monstrosity," in the words of Assemblyman Lou Manzo, D-Jersey City. The Friends of Liberty State Park, an advocacy group, has objected to the proposed design on the ground that it would block views of the New York City skyline from the park.

But Jackson defended it, saying the design would be a "fairly minor obstruction in one area" and 9/11 is part of the park's legacy.

"All parks have to balance the legacy of the past with what it will be in the future," she said.

Plus, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, she added.

"For some it's quiet contemplation," Jackson said. "For others, they want a place where they can see their loved one's names."

April 28th, 2008, 01:04 PM
Public meetings sought on park's Sept. 11 memorial

Monday, April 28, 2008

With work slowed by budget constraints, state Sen. Sandra Bolden Cunningham says there's time to meet with community groups to discuss the future of the "Empty Sky" memorial to Sept. 11 at Liberty State Park.

Cunningham, D-Jersey City, told the Budget Appropriations Committee last week that she wants the state Department of Environmental Protection to hold public meetings with family members of victims as well as local residents about the project, which some say will block views of Manhattan.

Citing "tough fiscal times" and cost overruns, Cunningham said she'd like to see if the money earmarked for the uncompleted project could be better spent elsewhere.

Assemblywoman Joan Quigley, D-Jersey City, who is on the budget committee, said DEP Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson told her last week that progress on the project had been "stymied" by cost overruns.

But James "Rick" Cahill, chairman of the New Jersey 9/11 Memorial Foundation, who lost his 30-year-old son in the tragedy, said state money for the memorial was committed years ago.

"The state is not on the hook for any more money," he said.

Cahill said the New York and New Jersey Port Authority committed $7 million and the state of New Jersey capped its contribution at $6 million in 2004. The New Jersey 9/11 Memorial Foundation, which was created last month, aims to raise at least $15 million more to see the memorial through.

The state's 9/11 memorial at Liberty State Park turned out to be more costly than expected and construction was halted while the memorial's designers looked for ways to save money.

Construction of the two 30-foot-high and 200-foot-long concrete walls covered with stainless steel etched with the names of the 710 New Jersey residents killed in the attacks was scheduled to begin last fall, but bids came in between $22 million and $25 million - more than double the state's $9 million estimate.

"The memorial was a commitment for years. To rescind would be sad and is a sign of '9/11 fatigue,'" said Barry Zelman, whose brother, Kenneth Zelman, was killed on the 99th floor of the North Tower. "Americans don't need help in forgetting the most tragic day of our history."

May 2nd, 2008, 11:14 PM
Hudson legislators tell gov not to ask for more money for 9/11 memorial

by Charles Hack Friday May 02, 2008, 5:30 PM

All nine Hudson County state legislators have signed an open letter to Gov. Jon Corzine expressing opposition to spending any more state money on the "Empty Sky" 9/11 memorial in Liberty State Park in Jersey City -- even though no further state expenditures are currently planned.

The letter says they want money used "for more pressing issues" and urges Corzine not to propose any funds "in an updated version" of the state budget.

The project stalled last fall after bids to build the walls of the monument came in between $22 and $25 million, more than twice the $9 million originally estimated.

James "Rick" Cahill, chairman of the New Jersey 9/11 Memorial Foundation, said he did not expect more than the $6 million for the memorial that the state committed in 2004.

The foundation, which was created last month, aims to raise at least $15 million more through private donations to see the memorial through.

The legislators' letter also cites opposition from the Friends of Liberty State Park, which opposes the memorial on the grounds that its planned 30-foot-high and 200-foot-long walls would block views of the Manhattan skyline from directly across the river from where the World Trade Center stood.

"It's about saving the sacred views, saving the public plaza and stopping the design for this location," said Sam Pesin, president of the Friends of Liberty State Park.

The authors of the letter also want a 10-foot-high earth mound that would serve as a base for the monument removed, calling it an "ugly pile of dirt behind a plastic fence."

State Sen. Sandra B. Cunningham, D-Jersey City, told the Budget Appropriations Committee last month that she wants the state Department of Environmental Protection to hold public meetings with family members of victims as well as local residents about the project.

A spokeswoman for Cunningham, Tralonne Shorter, said that while she still opposes using state funds for memorial, since testifying she had spoken to families of the victims and is waiting to be "fully briefed" on their position.


JCMAN Thought Of The Night:
Not for nothing, I support the Friends Of Liberty State Park, but not on this. The "ugly pile of dirt behind a plastic fence" is there because you guys originally delayed the project, then the costs went up!!! Build this memorial; there are over 2,100 acres to see the skyline from and oyu can walk through and around the memorial. Also the plastic fence blocks more views then the current mound behind it does!!!! Build it already!!! I lost 3 friends that day and New Jersey, being we lost the second most residents of any state except New York, deserve a memorial that memorializes them fittingly and represents the state and what it lost!!!

May 6th, 2008, 11:41 AM
I am sure many of your readers, especially relatives of the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and at Shanksville, PA, are wondering whatever happened to the Memorial that was to be built at Liberty State Park in Jersey City.
The Memorial, called “Empty Sky”, is alive and well.
Since the groundbreaking on September 10, 2004, which was attended by over 350 family members and several political dignitaries, the ground has been prepared and is settling so the construction can commence.
As with any public works projects, many different areas of government are involved to ensure the project is completed in compliance with State laws, whether environmental or treasury, all areas need to be in reviewed for the protection of the individuals who will be visiting this beautiful site.
As can also be expected in times of slight inflation, there have been increases in costs associated to the Memorial. In March of this year, the original Family Members and Survivors Committee voted to form the New Jersey 9/11 Memorial Foundation. Our purpose is to raise the additional funds to ensure the completion of the Memorial. We do not expect any additional funds from an already fiscally challenged State.
Rest assured this Foundation is committed to raising the funds needed so that the 743 New Jerseyans who perished in the attacks will be properly remembered. We are prepared to see this through and are optimistic that our goal will be reached in spite of recent opposition. We have had the support of 3 governors and one acting governor over the past 6 years and look forward to that continued support.

I would urge family members to contact their local Senators and Assembly members to voice your support for the completion of the Memorial.


James C.”Rick” Cahill
New Jersey 9/11 Memorial Foundation

September 11th, 2008, 09:32 PM
Gov. in LSP to announce plans for 'Empty Sky' funds

by Paul Koepp/The Jersey Journal
Thursday September 11, 2008, 7:03 PM

Byron Smith/The Jersey Journal
At the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal in Liberty State Park, visitors look at mementos and messages to the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

Byron Smith/The Jersey Journal
Gov. Jon Corzine and Family & Survivor Advisory Committee member James Cahill discuss the plans for the "Empty Sky" memorial during a news conference at the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal.

Byron Smith/The Jersey Journal
Mementos and messages to victims of the 9/11 attacks are seen in the historic railroad terminal.

The state's planned Sept. 11 memorial in Liberty State Park is called "Empty Sky," but for now it remains an empty lump of dirt and weeds surrounded by a fence -- and some people argue that if and when it is built, it will still be an eyesore.

Gov. Jon Corzine came to the Central Railroad of New Jersey terminal today to announce that a foundation will raise roughly $12 million in private funds for the project, as its cost balloons to an estimated $25 million. The original tab for the project was $9 million when ground was broken in 2004.

Designed by architect Frederic Schwartz, it will consist of a pair of stainless steel walls -- 200 feet long and 30 feet high -- replicating the imprint of the Twin Towers on the Manhattan skyline. The walls will contain the names of the 743 New Jersey residents who died in the attacks.

"It's absolutely essential to maintain that memory," Corzine said.

He said the state will use $1.2 million of the $13 million previously committed -- $7 million from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and $6 million from the state -- to do grading and landscaping on the memorial site.

Money is not the only obstacle to the memorial.

The Friends of Liberty State Park, the park's volunteer caretakers, say the memorial will wreck views of Downtown Manhattan from the busiest part of the park. Tanya Chauhan, a Jersey City resident who worked in Tower 5 of the World Trade Center, said she used to bring family and friends to the spot before it was fenced off.

"I loved how the closer you got to the city, the bigger it was, and the more majestic the view was," she said.

The Friends have filed a lawsuit charging that the state Department of Environmental Protection failed to hold necessary public meetings before it issued permits for the project.

Their attorney, Cynthia Hadjiyannis, said the state's reply to the lawsuit was due today, but oral arguments may not take place for several months.

In addition, all nine Hudson County state legislators signed a letter to Corzine in April stating their opposition to using any more state funds for the project. State Sen. Sandra B. Cunningham, Assemblyman Anthony Chiappone and Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy attended the event this afternoon to reiterate that they do not approve of the project as it is currently designed.

Corzine suggested that modifications to the design could be considered, although he said he has seen no evidence that views will be significantly harmed.

For more information on the New Jersey 9/11 Memorial Foundation, go to: nj911memorial.org.

December 11th, 2008, 06:10 PM
This post isn't about the 9/11 Memorial, but a proposed Irish Famine Memorial in Liberty State Park just over the bridge from Ellis Island. So I felt that it's warrented here because there is some oppostition to a 12 Celtic Cross that would part of it.

Liberty State Park monument to Irish hits snag

by Paul Koepp Wednesday December 10, 2008, 9:50 PM

Vincent McHale stands in front of the Liberty State Park site where the Sons of Saint Patrick of Hudson County want to put a monument commemorating the Irish Famine.

The Society of the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick of Hudson County has a spot picked out for its planned "Irish Famine Monument," right across from the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in Liberty State Park.

The group has secured about $25,000 of the $65,000 it will cost, as well as the backing of Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, County Executive Tom DeGise and other local and state politicians.

But the Friendly Sons are having trouble convincing the state Department of Environmental Protection to give the go-ahead to a 12-foot-tall Celtic cross in honor of their Irish immigrant ancestors.

The DEP's Division of Parks and Forestry wrote to the group in July to say its application had been denied because there are already monuments in the park dedicated "directly or indirectly"*** to the same theme.

At a Society meeting in Jersey City last week, Vincent McHale, a longtime member and the driving force behind the monument campaign, said it would fittingly honor the "thousands and thousands" of Irish immigrants whose first taste of America came in the rail yards of Johnston Avenue.

From there, McHale said, they boarded trains headed across the country, where many young, orphaned immigrants were adopted into families and put down roots.

"That's why we're spread out so much throughout the United States," he said.

From among the masses who were forced from Ireland in the potato famine of the 1840s, "These are the people who survived and built this great country," McHale said.

The Society plans to continue raising funds and lobbying state officials in hopes of winning approval for the monument.

Sam Pesin, president of the Friends of Liberty State Park, said park users should have a chance to discuss the proposal at a public hearing -- a process he noted was not followed for the planned "Empty Sky" Sept. 11 memorial, which FOLSP and local officials have opposed.


*** That is bull, there is a monument in the park to Christopher Columbus/Italian Americans and a monument in the park dedicated to victims of the Holocaust, nothing about them has anything to do with the Irish. Plus the Holocaust monument is atleast 12 ft tall. I don't get the problem. Again I hope this gets built!!!

November 23rd, 2009, 10:32 PM
Appeals court rules against Friends of LSP in 9/11 memorial fight

By The Jersey Journal
November 23, 2009, 9:38PM

jersey Journal file photo
Construction in May of the hill where the Empty Sky memorial will sit at the foot of Audrey Zapp Drive at Liberty State Park in Jersey City.

The nonprofit Friends of Liberty State Park has lost a court challenge to prevent the state's planned 9/11 memorial from being built along the park's waterfront.
An appeals court ruled yesterday that the group's petition wasn't filed in a timely manner.

"It's disappointing they (the court) didn't evaluate the substantive issues in the case," said Cynthia Hadjiyannis, the organization's lawyer. "It's an important case."

The group had argued that the state Department of Environmental Protection did not allow sufficient public input on the project and that the "Empty Sky" memorial would blocks views of Ground Zero and the Manhattan skyline.

"It's definitely in the wrong place," said Sam Pesin, president of the group. "Re-locating this memorial is the best solution."

The challenge to the DEP permit was filed in March 2007.

The court ruled that challenge should have been filed within 45 days of the state obtaining permits to start construction. The state obtained permits on May 5, 2005.

The court also stated that the challenge wasn't filed in a reasonable time frame after citizens should have realized the memorial was being built.

Hadjiyannis said last night that the group had no way of knowing when the state obtained permits, adding yesterday's ruling might be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

The "Empty Sky" memorial will consist of two 30-foot high, 200-foot long stainless steel walls.

The walls will be engraved with the names of the roughly 750 9/11 victims from New Jersey, said E. Betzy Parks, spokeswoman for the 9/11 Memorial Organization.

The memorial is in its third phase of construction and the walls will be erected soon, Parks said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

November 24th, 2009, 12:16 PM
Its about time. Look forward to seeing this when completed.

November 26th, 2009, 10:15 AM
I think it is ridiculous that they are erecting a 9/11 memorial for $25 million while the State of New Jersey is essentially bankrupt.

I, as a NJ taxpayer, am having it shoved down my throat by the NJ government, and I protest.

Hopefully Christie will stop it and we'll be left with one fugly mound, which one day will be leveled.

November 26th, 2009, 04:49 PM

So... the people who were murdered that day, isn't worth the $25 million dollars for a permanent memorial?

November 27th, 2009, 11:54 AM
Worth a $25 million memorial?

I'd say yes, although there will be a $1 billion memorial at Ground Zero.

Can NJ afford it?

Absolutely not.