Tribute in Light

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

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.[ citation needed ]

The two beams cost approximately $1,626 (assuming $0.11 per kWh) to run for 24 hours. 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, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., which was also targeted during the 9/11 attacks.


Tribute in Light set up atop Battery Parking Garage in 2018 Tribute in Light, 2018 (10092).jpg
Tribute in Light set up atop Battery Parking Garage in 2018
In 2010, as seen from Brooklyn Tribute in Light in 2010.jpg
In 2010, as seen from Brooklyn
In 2011, as seen from the East Village Tribute in Light September 11 2011 Shankbone.JPG
In 2011, as seen from the East Village
In 2021, as seen from 30 Rockefeller Plaza P20210910ES-0022 (51707170434).jpg
In 2021, as seen from 30 Rockefeller Plaza

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. [10]

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. [11] 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.

See also

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  6. "Tribute in Light | National September 11 Memorial & Museum". Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  7. 1 2 How Animals Perceive The World
  8. Chaban, Matt (August 18, 2011). "The End of Tribute in Light: Memorial Goes Dark Forever on 9/12". Observer. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
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  10. "Tribute In Light – The Municipal Art Society of New York". Archived from the original on August 25, 2010. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
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  12. "September 11th Tribute Lights Up Again". Archived from " the original on September 14, 2009.
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  14. Mann, Ted (July 23, 2012). "'Tribute' Handover". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  15. "Home - Spacecannon SNe - Excellence in the lighting field". spacecannon SNe. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
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  23. Allen, Nick (September 15, 2010). "10000 birds trapped in Twin Towers memorial light". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
  24. Laermer, Emily (August 18, 2011). "Tribute in Light seeks funders". Crain's. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  25. Quenqua, Douglas (October 2, 2017). "Yearly 9/11 Tribute Shows Light Pollution's Effects on Birds". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved October 3, 2017.

Coordinates: 40°42′39″N74°00′52″W / 40.71096°N 74.01440°W / 40.71096; -74.01440