Monday, May 14, 2012

Battery Park Bicycle Path Plan Orphans "The Sphere" - 9/11 Symbol

"It simply cannot be mothballed in some musty hangar at JFK," Schumer said. "It must remain, like now, accessible as a public touchstone for New Yorkers and the visitors from the four corners of the globe." - Senator Charles Schumer.

The Sphere, the Fritz Koenig designed sculpture had stood between the two Twin Tower buildings as a symbol of world peace. It was moved to Battery Park after the destruction of the World Trade Center. A controversial $18 million Battery Park & Perimeter Bikeway project moves will move the sculpture to an unknown location. The eternal flame was dedicated on September 11, 2002.


By Geoffrey Croft

The Sphere "endures as an icon of hope and the indestructible spirit of this country," and was placed in Battery Park as a temporary memorial to all who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, according to the city's dedication plaque.

However plans for a Battery Park bicycle path call for restoring and relocating twelve monuments to along the perimeter of the park. Despite being in the works for years a new location has yet to be found.

The Port Authority and Parks Department initially planned to store the now ionic sphere at a storage hanger at Kennedy Airport - which many found to be is unacceptable including Senator Charles Schumer who recently weighed in on the subject. Some Sept. 11 victims' family members have been pushing officials to return it to its original spot and incorporate it into the National September Memorial at the World Trade Center or the yet to be built Liberty Park, south of the World Trade Center site.

Over 7,200 hundred people have signed an on-line petition demanding its relocation to the 9/11 Memorial site.

PEDAL TO MEDDLE: Plans for a Battery Park bicycle path call for relocating several monuments, including 'The Sphere.'

PEDAL TO MEDDLE: Plans for a Battery Park bicycle path call for relocating several monuments, including "The Sphere." The sphere from the original World Trade Center was moved south to Battery Park. The 22.5 ton sculpture was rededicated with an eternal flame as a memorial to the victims of 9/11. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images) (Photo: Chad Rachman/NY Post)

"The designers of the memorial have ruled that it CANNOT be returned. In order, they said, to protect the integrity of the design," the petition states.

"The memorial design will include over 500 trees. Mayor Bloomberg and his deputy mayor, Patricia Harris, will not permit any of those trees to be cleared to create a proper space that allows the return of the Sphere and respects its history and significance."

After a barrage on new negative publicity last week on Friday the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said they were close to finding a temporary new home that will keep it in the public eye but they wouldn't say where. The agency is continuing to look for a permanent place for the sphere.

The approximately. .3 mile portion of the Manhattan Greenway will connect with the Hudson River Park bikeway to the west and the bikeway built as part of Peter Minuit Plaza to the east.

The $18 million Battery Park & Perimeter Bikeway project was funded through State and Federal grants and over $10 million in MTA mitigation funding, and $300,000 in design fees contributed by the LMDC.

The project was supposed to break ground in 2011 and construction expected to last eighteen months.

Dedication Plaque - Battery Park.

The cash-strapped Parks Department will spend millions of dollars to dig up and move more than 10 Battery Park memorials, statues and sculptures -- including "The Sphere," which has stood as a tribute to 9/11 victims – to gussy up a new bicycle path, the New York Post wrote last year.

Even as Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe is threatening to raise fees and lay off groundskeepers, he allocated $4.75 million for the project that would relocate the memorials -- many unmoved for decades -- along an expanded 600-yard Battery Park bikeway and "monument walk."

The change "will result in improved, dignified settings for each of the monuments, as well as creating more open, uninterrupted green space," say planning documents for the Battery Park & Bikeway Perimeter.

The expanded bikeway along Battery Place and State Street is scheduled to be completed in 2012. It will eventually link the Hudson River Park Bikeway to the East River Esplanade.

It is part of an $11.8 million "master plan" by the nonprofit Battery Park Conservancy to overhaul much of the park.

The 25-foot bronze Fritz Koenig designed sculpture stood between the two Twin Tower buildings for thirty years as a symbol of world peace.

Read More:

New York Daily News - May 12, 2012 - By Jonathan Lemire

WCBS 880 - April 6, 2012 - Sean Adams

New York Post - April 2, 2011 - By John Doyle and Chuck Bennett

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