The staircase that served as an escape route for
people fleeing the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 is now in a
The museum to commemorate the 2001 terrorist attacks hasn’t been
built yet, but the 57-ton survivors’ staircase was moved by crane
Thursday across ground zero to its future entrance.
The staircase stood for years as the last remaining above-ground
remnant of the original trade center complex.
Preservationists — and survivors who used it to get quickly from
the outdoor trade center complex to the street below on Sept. 11 —
hoped it would stay in the same place, but it stood in the
footprint of one of five planned office towers.
In 2006, state officials announced they would demolish all but
one or two slabs of the staircase to make way for the new tower,
undeterred by a group that named the steps one of the nation’s most
endangered historic places. The staircase weighed 175 tons at the
time, too heavy to drive across bridges into storage; officials
couldn’t find space for it in a nearby park.
But planners changed their mind a year later, finding a spot for
the 37 stairs at the entrance pavilion to the below-ground memorial
The stairs were moved for the first time in March — after
construction crews chipped away at the concrete foundation and
replaced it with metal supports — and again in July from one end of
the site to the other.
On Thursday, a crane moved the staircase about 150 feet north
from the trade center footprint to the street-level entrance.
Visitors won’t be able to use the stairs but will see them as they
descend a parallel stairway from street level into the museum.
The memorial and museum are both expected to be open in 2012.
(The Associated Press0