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Koenig's Sphere

One of the most memorable stops during my visit to NYC in 2004 was WTC Ground Zero. At the nearby Battery Park, there still exisits an interesting remnant of that day of infamy as if to remind us never to forget.

The monumental fountain sculpture Kugelkaryatide, aka. The Sphere, was created and built by the Bavarian sculptor Fritz Koenig. It was the only work of art in or around the World Trade Center that miraculously survived the terror attack of September 11, 2001. Although The Sphere survived, it is not undamaged. It carries heavy scars that makes it an eloquent witness of the disaster. As the center piece of a memorial for the victims of the attack, it will be a witness of the terrible day for generations to come.

On March 11, 2002, six months to the day after the attacks, it was re-erected in Battery Park, several blocks away from where it once stood. Koenig himself supervised the work; it took four engineers and 15 ironworkers to create a new base. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, his predecessor Rudolph Giuliani and other local officials spoke at a ceremony rededicating it as a memorial to the victims.

“It was a sculpture, now it's a monument,” Koenig said, noting how the thin globe had mostly survived the cataclysm. “It now has a different beauty, one I could never imagine. It has its own life - different from the one I gave to it.”

The plaque alongside The Sphere reads as follows:

For three decades, this sculpture stood in the plaza of the World Trade Center. Entitled “The Sphere”, it was conceived by artist Fritz Koenig as a symbol of world peace. It was damaged during the tragic events of September 11, 2001, but endures as an icon of hope and the indestructible spirit of this country. The Sphere was placed here on March 11, 2002 as a temporary memorial to all who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center. This eternal flame was ignited on September 11, 2002 in honour of all those that were lost. Their spirit and sacrifice will never be forgotten.

Picture of what left of The Sphere once in the fountain plaza of WTC, now a memorial in Battery Park
(picture taken while I was on vacation in NYC, Summer 2004)

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