Tribute in Light

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Tribute in Light as seen from Jersey City in 2020 Lower Manhattan from Jersey City September 2020 HDR panorama.jpg
Tribute in Light as seen from Jersey City in 2020
The Pentagon's Tribute in Light seen from the White House in 2021 P20210911KR-0060 (51707387945).jpg
The Pentagon's Tribute in Light seen from the White House in 2021
Tribute in Light as seen from Brooklyn in 2014 September 11th Memorial Tribute In Light 2014.jpg
Tribute in Light as seen from Brooklyn in 2014

The Tribute in Light is an art installation created in remembrance of the September 11 attacks. [1] It consists of 88 vertical searchlights arranged in two columns of light to represent the Twin Towers. It stands six blocks south of the World Trade Center on top of the Battery Parking Garage [2] in New York City. Tribute in Light began as a temporary commemoration of the attacks in early 2002, but it became an annual event, currently produced on September 11 by the Municipal Art Society of New York. [3] [4] [5] The Tribute in Light was conceived by artists John Bennett, Gustavo Bonevardi, Richard Nash Gould, Julian LaVerdiere, and Paul Myoda, and lighting consultant Paul Marantz. [6]


On clear nights, the lights can be seen from 60 miles (97 km) away, [7] visible in all of New York City and most of suburban Northern New Jersey and Long Island. The lights can also be seen in Fairfield County, Connecticut, as well as Westchester, Orange, and Rockland counties in New York.

The 88 xenon spotlights (44 for each tower) each consume 7,000 watts. [8] As of 2011, the annual cost for the entire project was about $500,000. [9]

A similar Tribute in Light has also appeared on occasion at the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia and at the crash site of United 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, which were also targeted during the 9/11 attacks. [10]


Tribute in Light as seen from atop a parking garage in Battery Park in 2018 Tribute in Light, 2018 (10092).jpg
Tribute in Light as seen from atop a parking garage in Battery Park in 2018
Tribute in Light as seen from Brooklyn in 2010 Tribute in Light in 2010.jpg
Tribute in Light as seen from Brooklyn in 2010
Tribute in Light as seen from the East Village in 2011 Tribute in Light September 11 2011 Shankbone.JPG
Tribute in Light as seen from the East Village in 2011
As seen from 30 Rockefeller Plaza in 2021 P20210910ES-0022 (51707170434).jpg
As seen from 30 Rockefeller Plaza in 2021

After the September 11 attacks, several people independently conceived the idea of using lights for remembrance. These efforts were merged under the umbrella of the Municipal Art Society and Creative Time. [11]

Tribute in Light initially ran as a temporary installation from March 11 to April 14, 2002, and it ran again on September 11, 2003, to mark the second anniversary of the attack. [4] Since then, it has been repeated every year on September 11. It was announced that 2008 would be its final year, [1] but the tribute was continued in 2009. [12]

On December 17, 2009, it was confirmed that the tribute would continue through the tenth anniversary of the attacks in 2011. [13] In 2012, plans were underway for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum to assume the lease for the MTA property used during this tribute, and to begin transitioning operation of the tribute from the Municipal Art Society to the memorial foundation. [14]

The lights are produced by an Italian company named Space Cannon, [15] which sends a team every year to help with the installation. [9] A Las Vegas-based company, Light America, was also part of the team who implemented the project. [16]

Each year, about 30 technicians, electricians, and stagehands work for about ten days to install the lights. During a testing phase of several days, observers in Brooklyn, Staten Island, New Jersey, and uptown Manhattan help make sure that the beams are adjusted accurately. [9]

The project was originally going to be named Towers of Light, but the victims' families felt that the name emphasized the buildings destroyed instead of the people killed. [17]

A permanent fixture of the Tribute in Light was at one point intended to be installed on the roof of One World Trade Center, [18] [19] but it was not included in the finished design. [20]

Since 2008, the generators that power Tribute in Light have been fueled with biodiesel made from used cooking oil collected from local restaurants. [21]

Effects on birds

The light pollution from Tribute in Light has caused confusion for over a million migrating birds, trapping them in the beams. [22] Even at an altitude of several miles, birds can be affected by the lights. [7] As a result of this effect, the beams are switched off for 20-minute periods to allow the birds to escape. [23] To ensure the lights do not affect migrating birds, the Municipal Art Society works with the New York City Audubon on the illumination. [24] A 2017 study found that the installation "dramatically altered multiple behaviors of nocturnally migrating birds—but these effects disappeared when lights were extinguished". [22] [25]

Tribute in Light was featured in Boyz II Men's music video for "Color of Love". It made a notable appearance during the opening credits of Spike Lee's 2002 film 25th Hour . The tribute was also shown and referenced in the CBS series Blue Bloods . These lights were featured in the music video of U2's "You're the Best Thing About Me".

The video game adaptation of the film Spider-Man 2 features the lights at the approximate location of the WTC site, while another video game adaptation of the film The Amazing Spider-Man 2 , the lights are seen on the construction site of One World Trade Center at night.[ citation needed ]

See also

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40°42′27″N74°00′54″W / 40.70750°N 74.01500°W / 40.70750; -74.01500