NEW YORK (AP) — The 9/11 memorial reopened to the public Tuesday a week after Superstorm Sandy flooded the World Trade Center site, but another temporary closure was planned Wednesday in anticipation of an expected Nor'easter.
City parks will also be shut down due to potential high winds from the predicted Nor'easter, with park closures scheduled from Wednesday noon through Thursday noon.
The earlier news from the 9/11 site following Sandy, however, was that last week's superstorm — which claimed at least 40 lives in the city — spared the core of the memorial: the reflective fountains ringed by the names of those who died in the terrorist attack.
"My worst fear on the night of the storm was, 'What was going to happen to the memorial, and the names that millions of people have come and touched?'" Joe Daniels, president of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, told The Associated Press.
As he walked through the memorial site late Monday afternoon — he called it "a sacred place" — Daniels pointed to a tree that miraculously had made it through the Sept. 11 terrorist attack and also survived the storm.
Also spared were 9/11 artifacts that are to be displayed in the museum still under construction — from a piece of the north tower's antenna to an elevator motor that once propelled workers into the skyscrapers.
The memorial reopened at 10 a.m. Tuesday and was scheduled to close at 4 p.m. Full power has not yet been restored to the site, with some areas, including the visitor center, still relying on generators.
When Daniels first entered the memorial last week on the morning after the worst of the storm devastated lower Manhattan, "the water was pouring in with force," he said, carrying huge pieces of wood and other debris along the south side of the memorial where visitors enter. Some screening facilities temporarily housed in a tent there also were damaged, he said.