Trident True SymbolSep 04, 2007
Two of the World Trade Center’s tridents – a signature architectural element from the base of the Twin Towers – will be returned to the Memorial Plaza at Ground Zero, where they will stand sentry inside the museum pavilion, The Post has learned.
The massive steel tridents, standing up to nine stories tall, have been chosen as the iconic symbols that will be seen by millions of visitors expected to arrive at the World Trade Center Memorial after it opens in late 2009.
Since the early days of planning for the memorial, designers had been urged to include an iconic artifact as part of the public plaza at the memorial, said Alice Greenwald, director of the World Trade Center Museum.
“We looked at a number of different artifacts, and we all felt the tridents epitomized something accurate about the event, but also hopeful,” Greenwald said of efforts to memorialize the events of 9/11, while painting an inspiring message of rebirth.
The tridents were formed by massive steel beams rising from the base of the towers along the outside walls. At the seventh story, the aluminum-clad beams divided into three smaller beams that continued to the 110th floor of each tower.
After the terror attacks, several sections of the towers’ lower facade, including the tridents, remained standing and were eventually dismantled and removed. Some of the tridents were among the artifacts placed in storage inside Hangar 17 at JFK Airport. Greenwald said the tridents that stood after the attack are a “visual reference to the buildings that withheld and outlasted all the damage of that day.”
In order to be carted off the WTC site, the beams had to be cut into 30-foot lengths to fit onto trucks. Once returned to the memorial, the pieces will be reassembled, said World Trade Center Memorial Foundation President Joseph Daniels.
Placed within the glass-walled museum pavilion, the tridents will rise up to 90 feet and will weigh about 90 tons each, Daniels said.
“These tridents in their raw form, without the aluminum cladding, are in many ways quite beautiful,” Daniels said. “We expect them to be here as a signpost for the next 100 years.”
The tree-lined plaza and memorial are due to open around September 2009. The museum will open about a year later.