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Memorial soon to open at Ground Zero

Just mention New York City and I am sure that vivid images of its iconic places like Times Square, Central Park, the Natural History Museum, Chinatown and the Statue of Liberty flood most folk’s minds. This is just a short list of what attracts travelers from around the globe to the “Big Apple”!

Wait! There’s a new yet somber attraction scheduled to open in lower Manhattan within the next month. I’m sure that most if not all visitors will want to add this site to their itinerary.

We are rapidly approaching the 10 year anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy that NYC and the rest of the world experienced. To remember that day a National September 11 Memorial is set to open at what has become known as “Ground Zero” the site of the former World Travel Center.

The National September 11 Memorial is a tribute of remembrance and honor to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center site, near Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993.

Here is some information on how you can secure timed reservations and visit the memorial Passes to the 9/11 Memorial are free of charge but must be reserved in advance. I’d suggest that you try to schedule your visit well in advance. Be sure to visit http://www.911memorial.org to reserve your tickets and obtain other useful memorial information.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, the New York Historical Society will also be presenting a special exhibition, Remembering 9/11, which will be free to the public.

The exhibition opens on Sept. 8, 2011 and will remain on view through April 1, 2012. The exhibition presents a selection of several hundred photographs taken by professional and amateur photographers in the immediate aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center (originally collected in the independent exhibition “here is new York: a democracy of photographs”), as well as letters written to policemen and firemen; objects that were placed in makeshift shrines around New York; images and texts from the New York Times “Portraits of Grief” series; photographs of the Tribute in Light; and drawings of the National September 11 Memorial, designed by architect Michael Arad with the assistance of landscape architect Peter Walker.

When you’re in the lower Manhattan (LM) take the time to visit Fraunces Tavern and Battery Park. Both are very historic places that seem to have fallen off of most tourists’ maps and handheld devices. I not sure if there’s an app for these two places. Maybe that’s why!

Fraunces Tavern Museum is a survivor of the early days of New York City. It was built in 1719 as an elegant residence for the merchant Stephan Delancey and his family. In 1762, the home was purchased by tavern-keeper Samuel Fraunces, who turned it into one of the most popular taverns of the day.

Though it is best known as the site where Washington gave his farewell address to the officers of the Continental Army, in 1783, the tavern also played a significant role in pre-Revolutionary activities. After the war, when New York was the nation’s first capital, the tavern was rented to the new government to house the offices of the Departments of War, Treasury and Foreign Affairs.

Today it is a restaurant and museum that recreates the early days of the Republic.

After taking in National September 11 Memorial and lunching at Fraunces I am heading over to Battery Park. All of the locales are within easy walking of one another.

For more than 200 years, Battery Park has been an invaluable part of New York City’s history. In 1855, Castle Garden, situated inside the Park, became the world’s first immigrant depot. Decades before Ellis Island was built or the Statue of Liberty gazed down at incoming boats, millions of newcomers arrived at Battery Park from Europe and elsewhere.

Although its role has changed, people from around the world still visit Battery Park for a view of the city’s past. Ferries dock at its shore to pick up visitors to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and all summer long concerts play on its grounds.

You’ll discover a beautiful waterfront and flower gardens that makes Battery Park a lovely place to wander. For those who’d like a longer stroll, the park’s location at the southern tip of Manhattan makes it a classic starting point for walking tours through the city.

I have only touched on a few of the attractions of Lower Manhattan. There are plenty more to experience and enjoy. For additional information contact your travel professional or visit the city’s official tourism office at http://www.nycgo.com.

Got travel? E-mail Steve Call at the travelprofessor@gmail.com or dial 740.550.9540.