Daily Mail (UK): On the trail of New York’s lost Teardrop: John Craven tracks down a forgotten monument to the 9/11 victims
Sculptor Zurab Tsereteli
About 50 million people visit New York every year and more than eight million live there but no one seems to have heard of The Teardrop…which is odd because it is a 100ft tall, 175-ton memorial to those who died on the city’s blackest day.
Learning of its existence by chance, I tried to discover more from locals at Ground Zero, where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre stood until September 11, 2001, and was met with blank expressions.
The one person who did know was an official guide but he said: ‘I bet 99 per cent of New Yorkers haven’t a clue where it is.’
Our search began at the World Trade Centre station, where a train took us to Exchange Place in New Jersey. From then on, instructions were vague – we had to catch a light-railway tram for eight stops along the Jersey shoreline to 34th Street in Bayonne and ask around.
Eventually someone walked by and kindly offered to call a local taxi firm on his mobile. He’d never heard of The Teardrop but luckily the taxi driver had. He drove us two miles across a wasteland which was once an army base until we came to an isolated quay.
And there, high on a mound, stood the monument – a massive bronze-clad block with a great gash down the middle into which is suspended a 40ft, four-ton shiny nickel teardrop.
In the far distance were the skyscrapers of Manhattan. Around the base of The Teardrop were the names of all those who died on 9/11 – including 26 Russians.
In fact the monument was a gift – an expression of grief – from the people of Russia to the US and officially named ‘To the struggle against world terrorism’. Vladimir Putin was there when construction began and Bill Clinton attended the dedication ceremony in 2006. Since then, it has been forgotten.
‘Nobody ever comes here,’ said the taxi driver. Indeed, we were the only visitors. Surely it hadn’t been snubbed because it was from an old enemy?
I did some research and found that its designer, Zurab Tsereteli – one of Russia’s leading sculptors – went to Ground Zero after the attack. He was told boats and ferries had shuttled survivors across to New Jersey, where many of the victims had lived. Learning that, he wanted his statue to be on the remote waterfront there with Manhattan as the backdrop.
So the explanation for the anonymity of this most touching tribute is probably no more sinister than: out of sight, out of mind – and that needs remedying.
To the Struggle Against World Terrorism (also known as the Tear of Grief and the Tear Drop Memorial) is a 10 story sculpture by Zurab Tsereteli that was given to the United States as an official gift of the Russian government as a memorial to the victims of the September 11 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. It stands at the end of the former MOTBY in Bayonne, New Jersey and was dedicated on September 11, 2006 in a ceremony attended by former U.S. President Bill Clinton and then President of Russia Vladimir Putin.
The sculpture is in the form of a 100-foot (30 m) tower made of steel and coated in bronze, split with a jagged opening through the middle. Inside the opening hangs a large stainless-steel teardrop, 40 feet (12 m) high, in memory of those whose lives were lost during terrorist attacks in the United States. The eleven sides of the monument’s base bear granite name plates, on which are etched the names of those who died in the September 11 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Tsereteli did not disclose the cost of the sculpture except to say that he paid for labor and materials. A lawyer for the sculptor released the cost at about $12 million. Tsereteli said metals for the sculpture were obtained “From a military factory that did airplanes. In Dzerzhinsk. A secret city.”
It was initially given to the local government of Jersey City, but was rejected. It was then relocated to its present placement in Bayonne. In August 2010 the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced it had plans to build a container facility on the location and the monument would most likely have to be moved. However these plans have not been confirmed by the Port Authority. Robert “Captain Bob” Terzi, a Bayonne taxi driver started an online petition to prevent the relocation.
Reaction to the monument has been mixed. It was listed as one of the The World’s Ugliest Statues by Foreign Policy magazine, while The New Yorker said from far away it looked like “a giant tea biscuit.”  However reactions from the general public include “Pretty impressive,” said one person and another called it a “breathtakingly beautiful creation”.
In September 2011, a four-foot section of steel from the World Trade Center was placed adjacent to the sculpture.
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