At sunset, the Tribute in Light, the beautiful light installation honoring those lost during the 9/11 attacks, will be turned on. The lights, which represent the Twin Towers of the original World Trade Center, will fade into dawn tomorrow.

The project, designed by John Bennett, Gustavo Bonevardi, Richard Nash Gould, Julian Laverdiere, Paul Myoda and lighting designer Paul Marantz, was put together by the Municipal Art Society and Creative Time, and was first lit on the six-month anniversary of the attacks. The MAS continued to present Tribute through 2011; from then on, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum has been carrying on the lovely tradition.

The NY Times' David Dunlap elegantly explained why Tribute is so powerful:

It succeeds because it offers no narrative, no interpretation, no mediation. At a distance, it is not even clear whether the shafts are soaring upward or beaming down from the heavens.

You can read them as a divine symbol or as abstract architecture or simply as an annual public art project. The pinstripes created by 88 lamps may remind you of the striations in the twin towers’ facades, or the rivulets in the memorial waterfalls, which may in turn suggest the passage of souls through space. Or not.

The point is: No one is telling you what to think. You are merely invited to do so.



The MAS says, "The memorial was originally going to be called the Towers in Light, but MAS received feedback from 9/11 families that a name paying tribute to the lives lost rather than the buildings that had once stood would be a more powerful remembrance," and notes, "The Tribute in Light rises miles into the sky and can be seen from 60 miles away. As of 2002, the two arrays cast the strongest shaft of light ever projected from earth into the night sky."

The lights are located just south of the World Trade Center at West and Morris streets. Here are photos of the Tribute last year taken by Paul Ker.