Friday, April 6, 2012
Save the Sphere
When the World Trade Center opened in 1971, Fritz Koenig's The Sphere, commissioned in 1966, was the centerpiece of the Austin J. Tobin Plaza, located between the Twin Towers. This large sculpture was a symbol of world peace through trade. For 30 years, the 25 foot sculpture stood in the middle of a series of fountains and was quite a beautiful public space enjoyed by office workers, tourist and Lower Manhattan residents alike.
With the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, The Sphere was discovered in the rubble, nearly intact, and recovered. Six months later, it was placed in Battery Park (pictured above) and re-dedicated as a temporary memorial to those lost on that fateful day. Additionally, there is an eternal flame next to The Sphere, which was lit one year after the September 11 attacks.
As Battery Park will be undergoing renovation, there are plans to remove The Sphere and place it in storage until its new home in Liberty Park, located adjacent to the National September 11 Memorial, is ready to open in 2013.
When we look at The Sphere after 9-11, this sculpture has a new meaning, as it symbolizes America's response to the day that changed everything: survival, renewal, rising and rebuilding. As a result, The Sphere should not be sitting in some airplane hangar gaining dust, but it should be prominently displayed, preferably on the plaza of the National September 11th Memorial, in the area where it stood prior to September 11. Doing this further allows this meaningful sculpture a place on that beautiful memorial, giving visitors another remembrance of that grand structure, as well as the lives lost on that day.
There is a petition going around and it is the hope of "The 'Right' Solutions" that Fritz Koening's sculpture turned monument is not locked away.