Nearly 16 years after 9/11, a relic of the old World Trade Center has finally found its way back to the site. Fritz Koenig’s iconic Sphere, which was placed between the Twin Towers when they opened back in the 1970s, was moved from its longtime home in Battery Park to what will become its permanent home at Liberty Park, near the St. Nicholas National Shrine.
The Sphere’s road back to the World Trade Center has been filled with myriad twists and turns. It was badly damaged during the September 11 attacks, and moved to Battery Park six months later; it’s sat in more or less the same place ever since, though the question of where it would ultimately end up was not settled until last year.
It was due to leave Battery Park in 2012 to facilitate an expansion plan, but that move never materialized; both the Battery Park Conservancy and the 9/11 Memorial later rejected calls to give the sculpture a permanent home. Finally, the Port Authority voted last year to place it in the then-new Liberty Park; it was installed last night, according to the Associated Press.
Alas, Koenig did not live to see his sculpture—which he referred to as his ‘child’—return to its place within the World Trade Center complex; he died earlier this year at the age of 92. He told the New York Times in 2001 that WTC architect Minoru Yamasaki asked him to “make the sculpture bigger and bigger to complement his design, but I wanted to make something in contrast.”
The 25-foot bronze sculpture, which resembled a head covered in a helmet in its pristine state, certainly provided that counterpoint to Yamasaki’s sleek modernist towers; now, amid the gleaming glass towers of the new World Trade Center, it serves as a reminder of what came before.