Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The 9/11 Teardrop Memorial


I had no clue about this impressive and poignant 9/11 memorial until I received information and photos about it in a recent email. Known as the Teardrop Memorial, it was a gift to America from the country of Russia and is dedicated "To the Struggle Against World Terrorism."

The somber memorial stands across the bay from New York City in an industrial area of Bayonne, New Jersey, within sight of the Statue of Liberty and where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center formerly stood. Apparently it is located in an area amid warehouses that is not that easy to get to and is not very well known as a tourist sight.

Zurab Tsereteli is the prominent Russian artist who designed the bronze sculpture, which stands 100 feet high and weighs 175 tons. The artist conceived the idea for the sculpture as the events unfolded on that very day in 2001. Various sources report that the artist himself foot the bill for the cost of the sculpture, however the country of Russia takes the credit on a plaque attached to the monument.

The incredible piece of art was shipped to America in six pieces and was erected under Tsereteli's supervision by a crew of Russian artisans. The memorial was unveiled in a ceremony on September 11, 2006.

There are nine pathways that lead to the sculpture, and the base has eleven sides. Engraved on the base of the sculpture are the thousands of names of those who perished in the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001.

The body of the design resembles a tall tower and in its center is a large jagged tear with the shiny teardrop dangling down the middle. Made of nickel-plated stainless steel, the teardrop itself weighs four tons and is 40 feet in length and it goes without saying that the tear represents the immense sadness felt around the world on that fateful day. The materials for the teardrop were reportedly obtained from a secret Russian aircraft-building military factory.

Interestingly enough, the idea for this memorial was rejected by Jersey City, as local artists there objected by saying that it was “an insensitive, self-aggrandizing piece of pompousness by one of the world’s blatant self-promoters.”

At its dedication in 2006, President Bill Clinton said, "I would like to thank the people of Russia for this gift of solidarity in the war on terror. I thank my friend Zurab Tsereteli for his ability to catch the feelings that cannot be expressed by words." I would have to agree.

30 comments:

  1. Nice :-)

    Thanks for sharing this. I had no idea such a memorial existed.

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  2. Oh, I remember reading about that. Thanks for bringing it back. Funny thing is, I used to live in Bayonne. So when I saw it was there, well, it gave me a jolt. I'm pretty sure I know the exact area as well. It does look pretty powerful.

    Bogardesque (sorry, still trying to work out the proper signing in thing. Too many users on this computer)

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  3. Susie...thanks for sharing these photographs. I knew nothing about this piece of sculpture. Ironically, the college in our village (State University of New York at Brockport) was given two pieces by Zurab Tsereteli back in 1979 when the International Special Olympics were held here. I met him and was given a set of medals (everyone was trading) from Russia. What a small world.

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  4. Very impressive and eloquent memorial. It deserves more acknowledgment. Thanks for sharing this with us!

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  5. Palestine needs a gift like that.

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  6. I would have to agree also. I remember when that was dedicated in 2006 and was very touched then as I still am now. Thanks for this post, Susie.

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  7. Thanks for sharing this Susie. I'd never heard of it. Such a magnificent sculpture and very poignant.

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  8. This is just beautiful!!! It should have been erected near Ground Zero instead of in New Jersey.

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  9. I read several accounts of how this stunning memorial came to fruition. If I remember correctly, one report seemed to indicate that New York City rejected it first before Jersey City did. I'm sure if it were located at Ground Zero, it would be much better known.

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  10. Just to give some distance perspective...I grew up in Jersey City overlooking the WTC and Statue of Liberty...Bayonne is the town next door and in fact was walking distance from my house. So it didn't land very far from it's original intended destination. If you are on the Hudson river (the body of water you see in the photos) standing back far enough you should be able to see it from NYC or in fact Jersey City depending on how far out in the water you go. As an aside...the Statue of Liberty actually rests on the New Jersey/Jersey City side of the Hudson River but New York likes to claim it as her own...I remember as a kid all the back and forth fights about who it belongs to. Interesting that both Jersey City and NYC fight over the Statue of Liberty and who it belongs to and neither one of them wanted this lovely memorial...Thanks Bayonne for stepping forward to give it a place of respect.

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  11. I didn't know it existed either but it is really neat.

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  12. It's a beautiful piece and I didn't know it was there.

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  13. It's a shame that it's not in a more prominent place. It's beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

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  14. Wow, very beautiful memorial. I had no idea. Thanks!

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  15. Susie, thank you for this post. I hadn't heard about this beautiful artistic expression either, and I thank Zurab Tsereteli and the people of Russia for such a thoughtful gift.

    It expresses the feelings of my heart, and of countless others around the world.

    Merci!

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  16. Thank you for sharing this with us. It is my first time to know after nine years that there is a 9/11 memorial such as this. It is a fitting reminder of the grief and loss not just for America but also for the world. It says more than words can express. I also think it's a shame that New York City or New Jersey City did not accept this gift from the Russians.

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  17. Thank you for sharing that Susie. I had no idea about this memorial. Thank you Zurab Tsereteli!

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  18. What a stunning piece of art work I did not know existed. I will put that on my list of 'must-sees' when I hit NY at some time...

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  19. An IMPORTANT update about the 'Tear Drop Memorial' in Bayonne, NJ.

    Feel free to sign petition...Help to try and save this Memorial!


    http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/tear-drop-monument.html

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  20. Thanks Susie for posting this. Very interesting. By the way, Zurab Tsereteli is Georgian, not Russian.

    Tsereteli is best known in Russia for his friendship with the mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov (who is now ex-mayor after being fired last week by President Medvedev). As a consequence, Moscow is full of Tsereteli's sculptures. This one in NJ appears to be one of his more tasteful ones.

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  21. This s one of the finest and most touching 9/11 memorial i ever seen. Your blog is unique in blogger world.

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  22. This is a poignant piece of art. Thanks for pointing it out, Susie.

    I think that it is good that it’s not at ground zero. Reminders of the horror should be in many places all over the U. S. and the world.

    I recently viewed a memorial to one of the people killed on flight 11, 8:46 am at the WTC.

    Does KSA have a 9/11 memorial?

    Marianne

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  23. Dear Susie,
    Tthank you so much for this post. That memorial really made me feel so much sorrow and grief for all those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attack.
    But, dear Susie, what about all the kids and innocent men and women who perished or are still perishing in Palestine, in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in many other places?
    Are they not worthy of a little teardrop?
    Or is it again, a case of some being more equal than others, even in sorrow?

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  24. Thank You for sharing something so beautiful and unknown to most of the people in this world.
    I appreciate your generousity.
    May GOD BLESS YOU.

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  25. Hello Susie,
    I'm actually from New York and here in Jeddah to teach airline dispatching for two weeks. I enjoy the Middle East, and especially Saudi Arabia because of her beautiful and generous people. Thank you for sharing this website. I hope you are mastering the Arabic language. What helped me is to memorize some phrases, then go out and practice them (ordering food, for example). It must be much more difficult for a woman, but maybe you can go out with your Saudia friends. Also, watching the news, soap operas, and music videos only in Arabic will go a long way to mastering the language!
    I plan to visit this memorial upon my arrival back to New York! Thank you for the information, and for providing a bridge of peace in your website between Saudi Arabia and "foreigners" like me.
    Sincerely,
    Dave in Jeddah

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    1. Hi Dave in Jeddah - You are most welcome. Just today one of my nieces told me that she thought my Arabic had improved, so that made me feel good! Hope every minute of your stay in Jeddah is a delight.

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  26. this marvelous work of art belongs at Ground Zero instead of the plebian design being erected. the Teardrop Memorial is everything a memorial should be. it is overwhelming in its emotional content and corporeal beauty. thank you, Susie, for bringing it to my attention.

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    1. Hi Hollis - I totally agree with you that this is everything that a memorial should be. I'm glad you like it as much as I do.

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  27. This is such a beautiful sculpture. Jersey City's artists' response is not surprising, as Tsereteli is kind of a dick of an artist. Just like it's difficult to like a character when you know the actor who plays them is a jerk, it's even harder to take a piece of art seriously when you know the kind of pieces he usually makes. Luckily, most of us remain unfamiliar with Tsereteli's work, and so we can view this piece without that bias, and thus interpret it favorably. <3

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  28. according to the history on the Memorial's website, it was the artist who selected the current location. It says he did not want to build it on the bones at ground zero and had heard that many people were ferried to Bayonne.

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