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Gardens of Remembrance offers ‘renewed optimism and hope’ on 9/11
Jill Odom | September 11, 2017
people stop to rest on benches at the garden of remembrance in Manhattan

The Gardens of Remembrance can be found within The Battery on Manhattan.
Photo: Jill Odom

Today marks the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks, but if there is one thing this country has shown is that it is resilient and will not be daunted.

From the ashes of the attack many memorials arose, including the 9/11 Museum, 9/11 Memorial and One World Trade Center, also known as Freedom Tower, created as ways to honor the victims and ensure that the public would never forget this day.

One commemorative space that may not be as well known to the public, aside from New Yorkers, is the Gardens of Remembrance. It is tucked away within The Battery, which is a park on the southern tip of Manhattan and faces the New York Harbor.

This garden was created by renowned Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf. The Gardens of Remembrance had its groundbreaking on May 8, 2003. Officials from the city, community and even the Netherlands attended the event and participated in the first plantings to be part of the park.

plaque on the sidewalk that dedicates the park to those who lost their lives on 9/11/2001

“The Gardens of Remembrance are dedicated to those who lost their lives on September eleventh 2001, to the survivors and to all who come seeking renewed optimism and hope.”
Photo: Jill Odom

“A horticultural revolution in New York’s parks is beginning where the city’s history also began,” said Adrian Benepe, . “It’s an honor to have a world-class talent, Piet Oudolf, to create and plant the gardens, and we’re working to create an endowment to ensure it will thrive for many years to come.”

The 10,000 square feet park lies along the elevated portion of the Battery Promenade and has 6,000 plants from 113 species. A mixture of ornamental grasses and flowers wave along the waterfront, offering a place for a peaceful respite or somber reflection.

Oudolf is known for his use of perennials and native plants and the Gardens of Remembrance is no different, being created with sustainability and year-round aesthetics in mind. Instead of yearly installations of new plant material, this park has plants that come back stronger every year, just like how New Yorkers have recovered from the 9/11 attacks.

The Gardens of Remembrance commemorates the events of Sept. 11, 2001, including the victims, survivors and all who visit searching for hope. Oudolf’s design is a portion of his horticultural master plan that he was commissioned to create by The Battery Conservancy to revitalize the park.

This tribute to 9/11 victims and survivors was made possible by a $400,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and a $1 million grant from the Verizon Foundation to establish an endowment fund for the Gardens of Remembrance.

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