Tribute in Light
The Tribute in Light is an art installation of 88 searchlights placed next to the site of the World Trade Center to create two vertical columns of light in remembrance of the September 11 attacks. It is produced annually by the Municipal Art Society of New York.
The Tribute in Light initially ran as a temporary installation from March 11 to April 14, 2002, and was launched again in 2003 to mark the second anniversary of the attack. As of 2013[update], it has been repeated every year on September 11. It had been announced that 2008 would be its final year, but the tribute was continued in 2009.
On December 17, 2009, it was confirmed that the tribute would continue through to the tenth anniversary of the attacks in 2011, but continued again in 2012. As of July 23, 2012, plans are 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.
The idea of two vertical beams of light was first suggested by Ezra Orion, an Israeli sculptor, in 1997. Orion proposed an art installation in which 120 Xenon searchlights were to be placed on the tops of the Twin Towers for the 1998 4th of July celebration. On September 25th, 1997, Orion met with Richard Heart, the vice president of Xenon, and the Municipal art advisor, at the top of the south tower. Although the response to Orion’s suggestion was enthusiastic, it was deemed too expensive…
Those working on the project came up with the concept in the week following the attack. On September 13, 2001, the idea was presented to executives of Consolidated Edison, the electric utility company serving New York City, by John Englehart, then president of the brand innovation firm Arnell Group  Architects John Bennett and Gustavo Bonevardi of PROUN Space Studio distributed their "Project for the Immediate Reconstruction of Manhattan's Skyline". Artists Julian LaVerdiere and Paul Myoda, who before September 11 were working on the 91st floor of the World Trade Center north tower on a proposed light sculpture on the giant radio antenna with Creative Time, conceived of a project called "Phantom Towers". They were commissioned by The New York Times Magazine to create an image of the project for its September 23 cover.
Richard Nash Gould, a New York architect, presented the concept to the Municipal Art Society. On September 19, Municipal Art Society chairman Philip K. Howard wrote to Mayor Rudy Giuliani, asking him "to consider placing two large searchlights near the disaster site, projecting their light straight up into the sky."
After some consideration, it was decided to contact lighting experts in the field of high intensity light displays. A Las Vegas-based company, Light America, was chosen because of their vast knowledge of high intensity light displays. Gary Evans, the VP of Light America and Michael Burns the designer of the Tribute in Light, said that the company did testing of the lighting fixtures in the Las Vegas Valley before bringing the fixtures to the World Trade Center Site.
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.
On clear nights, the lights could be seen from over 60 miles (97 km) away, visible in all of New York City and most of suburban Northern New Jersey and Long Island, Fairfield County, Connecticut, Westchester County, Orange County, New York and Rockland County, New York. The beams were clearly visible from the terrace at Century Country Club in Purchase, New York, from at least as far west as western Morris County, in Flanders, New Jersey, at least as far as the barrier beach of Fire Island in Suffolk County, New York on Long Island, and as far south near Trenton, New Jersey in nearby Hamilton.
A permanent fixture of the Tribute in Light was to be installed on the roof of One World Trade Center, but never was due to the Durst Organization who redesigned the spire, which did not include the permanent fixture of Tribute in Light.
The lights have caused confusion for thousands of migrating birds, trapping them in the beams, and requiring that the lights be switched off for 20-minute periods to allow the birds to escape. To ensure the lights do not affect migrating birds, the Municipal Art Society works with the New York City Audubon on the illumination.
The "Tribute in Light" has been featured in Boyz II Men's music video for "Color of Love". It also made a notable appearance during the opening credits of Spike Lee's 2002 film 25th Hour. In the Spider-Man 2 Video Game for Xbox, PlayStation 2 and GameCube, it appeared as a virtual memorial.
- Memorials and services for the September 11 attacks
- Other beams
- 20th Century Fox logo (designed circa 1935) famous non-military use of searchlights.
- Cathedral of light, a 1937 Nazi propaganda display with massed searchlights pointing skyward.
- spectra (installation), a series of light and sound artworks featuring searchlights
- A Symphony of Lights, a contemporary light display in Hong Kong
- Luxor Hotel and Casino skybeam since the mid-1990s, the world's brightest searchlight-style display.
- Dale Eldred, Steeple of Light, Community Christian Church, Kansas City, MO. Completed in 1994.
- Chan, Sewell (2007-09-11). "Will Tribute in Light Go Dark After ’08?". New York Times. Retrieved May 26, 2010.
- " "September 11th Tribute Lights Up Again". NY1.com.
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- Moran, Lee (September 8, 2011). "Twinkling tribute to the Twin Towers: World Trade Center rises in poignant pillars of light as New York makes final preparations for 9/11 anniversary". Daily Mail (London).
- "Freedom Tower rendering Time-lapse". Silverstein Properties Inc. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
- "SOM Freedom Tower Fact Sheet" (PDF). Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
- "Design changes to base, spire of 1 World Trade Center". Fox New York. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
- "Tri-State Biodiesel fuels Sept. 11 memorial". Retrieved 2009-09-11.
- Allen, Nick (2010-09-15). "10000 birds trapped in Twin Towers memorial light". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved Sep 15, 2010.
- Laermer, Emily (2011-08-18). "Tribute in Light seeks funders". Crain's. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tribute in Light.|
- The Municipal Art Society of New York, annual producers of The Tribute in Light
- Tribute in Light, presented by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum