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World Trade Center site facts for kids

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FEMA - 4235 - Photograph by Andrea Booher taken on 09-28-2001 in New York
The World Trade Center site 17 days after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The World Trade Center site (ZIP code: 10048), formerly called Ground Zero, sits on 16 acres (65,000 m2) in Lower Manhattan in New York City. The land was originally underwater. The first World Trade Center complex of buildings stood on the site until it was destroyed in the September 11 attacks. The new World Trade Center complex is currently being built on the site. The site is overseen by Studio Daniel Libeskind, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Silverstein Properties, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.

September 11 attacks

On the morning of September 11, 2001, two airplanes were captured by terrorists close to al-Qaeda and crashed into the Twin Towers, the North Tower and the South Tower, of the World Trade Center. The towers fell and were destroyed within two hours of the crashes. Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks. After the attacks, hospital workers and police offers began calling the site "Ground Zero".

Debris and clean-up

When the towers fell, they caused dust to spread in New York City, and left hundreds of thousands of tons of debris at the site. The New York City Fire Department separated the site into four areas to make cleanup of the site and the search for people who survived the attack easier. Early on, it was said that the debris at the site would take a year to get rid of, but cleanup ended in May 2002. Building materials and debris from Ground Zero were sent to the Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island.

In December 2001, a viewing area at Fulton Street, between Church Street and Broadway, was opened to the public.

On March 11, 2002, six months after the attacks, the Tribute in Light, a memorial with two beams of light shooting straight up into the sky, began. It was lit up every day at dusk until April 14, 2002. After that, it was lit up for the second anniversary of the attacks, on September 11, 2003. It has been lit up every September 11 since then.

New buildings

World Trade Center site layout
WTC site plan prior to 9/11/2001
Above: The World Trade Center site before the September 11 attacks.
WTC site plan for reconstruction
Above: First site plans for the World Trade Center rebuilding.

The new World Trade Center complex will have the following buildings:

Soon after the September 11 attacks, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Governor George Pataki, and President George W. Bush said that they would rebuild the World Trade Center. On the day of the attacks, Giuliani said, "We will rebuild. We're going to come out of this stronger than before, politically stronger, economically stronger. The skyline will be made whole again." During a visit to the site on September 14, 2001, Bush spoke to a crowd of workers through a megaphone. A person in the crowd shouted, "I can't hear you," to which Bush replied, "I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."

In an address to Congress, the president said, "As a symbol of America's resolve, my administration will work with Congress, and these two leaders, to show the world that we will rebuild New York City." However, 12 years after the attacks, only two buildings, 4 World Trade Center and 7 World Trade Center, have been rebuilt. One building, One World Trade Center, is currently under construction.

In November 2001, Governor Pataki started the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) to oversee the rebuilding of the World Trade Center. The LMDC leads federal help in the rebuilding, and works with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Larry Silverstein, and Studio Daniel Libeskind. It also communicates with the local community, businesses, the city of New York, and the families of the people who were killed in the September 11 attacks.


A memorial, "Reflecting Absence", honors the people killed in the September 11 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. It was designed by Peter Walker and Israeli-American architect Michael Arad. It has a field of trees with the footprints of the original towers. The footprints are filled with pools of water. It opened on the tenth anniversary of the attacks, on September 11, 2011.


On October 12, 2004, the LMDC announced that Gehry Partners LLP and Snøhetta, an architectural company from Norway, would design a performing arts center and museum at the site. The museum will act as a memorial museum and a visitors' center for the site. The museum will open in the spring of 2014.


An episode of CBS's 60 Minutes in 2010 was about the lack of work done at Ground Zero. It focused on how most of the buildings did not have a date for completion, the main building, One World Trade Center (originally called the Freedom Tower), having gone through three different designs, and the delays and high amount of money that went into the rebuilding. Larry Silverstein said that the entire site would be completed in 2037, and that billions of dollars have been spent on rebuilding the site, even though Ground Zero "is still a hole in the ground." During an interview for the episode, Silverstein said, "I am the most frustrated person in the world...I'm seventy-eight years of age; I want to see this thing done in my lifetime". However, it was said in early 2011 that a lot of work has been done on the site, with all five buildings under construction. All of the buildings will be completed between 2012 and 2016. Criticism of the work being done at Ground Zero was made in 2008 and 2009, when there was no work being done at the site.

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Sitio del World Trade Center para niños

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