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9/11 A Decade Later: Designer Says WTC Memorial Represents A Watery Moment Of Silence

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Beginning Monday, the public can make reservations to visit the September 11th Memorial, which opens this September. NY1's Bobby Cuza spoke with the designer behind the project and filed the following report.

Michael Arad first toyed with the idea using a desktop fountain on the roof of his East Village apartment. Now it is now being realized on a massive scale.

“For me, the funny thing is to think of this fountain. You know, these fountains started with a pump that fit in the palm of my hand and now we have pump rooms that are bigger than my house,” Arad says.

The pump rooms power the largest manmade waterfalls in the country, which cascade 30 feet into twin reflecting pools set in the footprints of the Twin Towers. Around the perimeter, the names of the nearly 3,000 victims are inscribed in bronze panels, all surrounded by a tree-lined plaza.

“What I was trying to do here is to create the built equivalent of a moment of silence," says Arad. "To sort of clear the space, and allow visitors to -- if that’s what they want to do -- to sort of look deep inside themselves and reflect in their own way on what happened that day.”

Arad was just 34 years old when he won the memorial design competition. His original design, called "Reflecting Absence," called for visitors to follow ramps 30 feet underground, below the waterfalls.

That concept was later scrapped because of cost and security concerns. But Arad says the final product retains the essence of his idea and appropriately honors the dead.

“You see hundreds and hundreds of names surrounding each pool. And I think, taking all those names in, taking the magnitude of the void that’s in front of you, it’s a way of conveying to visitors the magnitude of what happened that day," says Arad.

The memorial will be dedicated on September 11 this year and open to the public the following day. Access will be limited due to ongoing construction.

Those who want to visit should go to 911memorial.org and reserve a specific date and time to come visit. The online reservation system goes live on Monday.

"The 9/11 Memorial From All Sides"

Beginning Friday, July 8, watch the half-hour special "The 9/11 Memorial From All Sides," in which NY1's Bobby Cuza will give viewers a preview of the memorial, from its concept to its initial design, to the elements and items included in the display.

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