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PR- 522-10
December 22, 2010


Tree Sustained Damage on 9/11 But Survived; Returns to World Trade Center

Milestone Reached with Completion of Structural Steel Work on Museum Pavilion

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Chris Ward, Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, and 9/11 survivors Keating Crown, Tom Canavan and Ret. FDNY Lt. Mickey Kross today planted the “Survivor Tree” at the 9/11 Memorial Plaza, marking its homecoming to the World Trade Center site. The Callery Pear tree became known as the “Survivor Tree” after sustaining extensive damage, but living through the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. In October 2001, the tree with lifeless limbs, snapped roots and blackened trunk was discovered and freed from the piles of smoldering rubble in the plaza of the World Trade Center. Mayor Bloomberg, who is Chairman of the 9/11 Memorial, also announced the completion of the structural steel for the Museum Pavilion.

“The presence of the Survivor Tree on the Memorial Plaza will symbolize New York City’s and this nation’s resilience after the attacks,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Like the thousands of courageous stories of survival that arose from the ashes of the World Trade Center, the story of this tree also will live on and inspire many.”

“This stalwart pear tree is a living symbol for everyone who survived the terrorist attacks and everyone around the world who has shown strength and resilience in the face of devastation,” 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels said. “I’m grateful to all of the dedicated people who worked to nurse this tree back to health, allowing millions of future 9/11 Memorial visitors to experience its beauty and power.”

 “The Port Authority’s highest priority is delivering on our commitment to open the 9/11 Memorial by the tenth anniversary of the attacks,” Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward said. “The completion of the Memorial Pavilion steel is one more tangible sign that we are making progress toward that commitment.”

“The return of the survivor tree to the World Trade Center is a symbol of our collective resilience in the face of adversity and the healing powers of nature,” said Commissioner Benepe.  “Once twisted, blackened and near death from the inferno of the 9/11 attacks, the tree now stands beautiful and thriving.  I am grateful to all of the Parks Department employees who carefully nursed the tree back to health at the Arthur Ross Nursery in Van Cortlandt Park.”

The Survivor Tree was originally planted in the 1970s in the vicinity of buildings four and five in the World Trade Center complex near Church Street. The damaged tree measured eight feet when it arrived in November 2001 at the Parks Department’s Arthur Ross Nursery in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.  It was nursed back to health and today has grown to a height of about 30 feet. The tree returned to the site this morning from Van Cortlandt Park by a flatbed truck.

Upon the tree’s arrival at the Arthur Ross Nursery, its damaged limbs were pruned, leaving a blackened truck with a tiny root system to be planted. In March 2010, the tree was uprooted in powerful storms that swept through New York. Again, the tree survived, and caretakers righted the tree, examined roots, pruned branches and secured it with cables.

The Survivor Tree will continue to grow among dozens of Swamp White Oak trees that have been planted on the Memorial Plaza starting in August 2010. When the Memorial is fully complete, about 400 trees will line its Plaza, which features a complex soil supported paving surface and unique cistern system designed to sustain the urban forest. Currently, 124 trees, including the Survivor Tree, are planted on the Plaza.

Museum Pavilion Structural Steel Installation Completed

With nearly 1,200 tons of structural steel in place, the Museum Pavilion’s primary steel installation is complete. The Pavilion, which was designed by Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta, is located between the acre-sized twin reflecting pools on the northeast section of the Memorial Plaza.

Visitors will enter the Museum through the Pavilion, which will be a steel and glass building with an atrium revealing two massive steel “tridents,” and will feature an auditorium, a cafe and a private suite for victims’ families. The seven-story, three-pronged steel tridents were once part of the original façade of the Twin Towers, and the artifacts were installed in September 2010 inside the Pavilion as the structure continues to be built around them.

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is the not-for-profit corporation created to oversee the design, raise the funds, and program and operate the Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center site.  The Memorial & Museum will be located on eight of the 16 acres of the site. The Memorial will remember and honor the nearly 3,000 people who died in the horrific attacks of February 26, 1993, and September 11, 2001.  The design, created by Michael Arad and Peter Walker, consists of two pools formed in the footprints of the original Twin Towers and a plaza of trees.

The Museum will display monumental artifacts linked to the events of September 11, while presenting intimate stories of loss, compassion, reckoning and recovery that are central to telling the story of the 2001 attacks and the aftermath.  It will communicate key messages that embrace both the specificity and the universal implications of the events of 9/11; document the impact of those events on individual lives, as well as on local, national, and international communities; and explore the continuing significance of these events for our global community.


Stu Loeser / Andrew Brent (Mayor)   (212) 788-2958

Michael Frazier / Lynn Rasic (9/11 Memorial)   (212) 312-8800

Steve Coleman (Port Authority)   (212) 435-7777

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