On a day in which many New York City residents and visitors rallied to help areas ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, news emerged that the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center is flooded with at least five feet of water. The museum, which is still not completed, houses some of the more important artifacts from the 9/11 attacks, including the last column standing from the towers, the famous cross-shaped steel beam, and one of the tower's stairways.
Those items are located on the museum's main floor, which, somewhat counterintuitively, sits 68-feet below the memorial plaza. As the New York Times reports, the memorial's planners acknowledged the museum was constructed in a 100-year flood plain, which means the land has a 1 percent chance of flooding every year. Naturally (or not), the site has been through two "100 year floods" in the past 14 months, first with Hurricane Irene and again last week with Hurricane Sandy.
Authorities aren't sure yet the extent of the damage to the memorials artifacts. "[We] will have to assess once the pumping is complete," said Port Authority spokeswoman Lisa MacSpadden. However, as the Times notes, the "five feet of water would almost surely have touched, if not flooded, vitrines and display cases filled with the intimate and irreplaceable artifacts that have been donated, both spontaneously and in response to an acquisition campaign seeking photographs, videotapes, recovered property, clothing and other personal effects, workplace memorabilia, documents, letters, printed copies of e-mails, and diaries."
But forget the priceless remainders of the buildings and the attacks' victims; what about the $84 blossom pendants and $57 memorial bowties for sale in the gift store? Let's hope those all survived the flood.