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Tribute in Light in Battery Park

10th Anniversary Tribute in Light

Tribute in Light in Battery Park
Tribute in Light atop the Battery Garage on Morris Street.

Tribute In Light will shine from Dusk to Dawn to honor all those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 and to serve as a symbol of hope for the city of New York. An iconic gesture of remembrance is officially deemed a public artwork installation supported by Governor Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, Battery park City Authority, The Municipal Art Society, and all the public, corporate, and private sponsors.

According to the Tribute in Light website:
“Conceived in the aftermath of the September 11th tragedies, Tribute in Light is a temporary artistic gesture bringing together the vision and talent of numerous individuals who, shortly after the attacks, independently envisioned two beams of light rising from downtown New York. Finding support for their ideas, they joined forces in the spirit of the rescue and recovery effort downtown. The creative team consists of architects John Bennett and Gustavo Bonevardi of PROUN Space Studio, artists Julian LaVerdiere and Paul Myoda, architect Richard Nash Gould, and lighting designer Paul Marantz. Production support was provided by two non-profit cultural institutions The Municipal Art Society and Creative Time, with the assistance of Battery Park City Authority.”

When not in use, the entire installation is stored within the Battery Park City Garage until their annual commemorative use.

The blue beams, which are reported to be visible for 60 miles, are comprised of 88 separate 7,000-watt searchlights, which are powered by a gas-run generator housed in a tractor trailer just outside of the parking garage.

Although internationally renowned as a symbol of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, The New York City Audubon Society notes warnings on their deadly effects on migrating birds. This year, the Municipal Society has promised to monitor the art installation for this concern and will shut off the lights to mitigate the danger the beams cause to the migratory patterns.

NYC Audubon warns about the Tribute in Light being a danger for Migrating birds.

Tribute in Light Fowls Bird Flight

NYC Audubon warns about the Tribute in Light being a danger for Migrating birds.
Tribute in Light is a danger for migrating birds (Credit: NYC Audubon)

Tonight, Jeremy asked,
“I know it might sound strange, but tonight when I was a couple of blocks away it looked like thousands of birds flying in them. Did they add sparkles or something like that?”

As much as we love them, as beautiful and revered as the Tribute in Light are as part of our nation’s 9/11 commemoration rituals… Jeremy brings up an excellent point.

Those are not sparkles, but thousands of migrating birds — lost within the beams of light, blinding their direction off course.

The migration patterns of birds during this time has caused their advocates to call for major skyscrapers to turn off their lights in order to alleviate bird collision deaths during migration. The most famous example is the Chrysler and Empire State Building, have recently agreed to shut off their lights at night until the end of the migration season on November 1st. Yet, it hasn’t stopped the Tribute in Light from being cast every September 11th.

The NYC Audubon society has conducted studies in which their findings indicated that birds fly at lower altitudes at night, causing them to collide into well-lit or glass fronted high buildings.

The Tribute in Light causes another concern as the lights have been found to blind the birds.
According to the group, “September is a peak month for many of the 200 or so species that head south over New York City. The majority of these fly during the night, and under certain conditions they can be placed at extreme risk. Birds can be strongly attracted to artificial lights, perhaps because some species use natural light-the stars, the moon-to navigate. When natural light is absent-during cloudy conditions, for example, or when the moon is new-artificial lights can have an amplified and sometimes deadly effect.”

If anything, it’s a good thing for our fine feathered friends that the tribute is only a night long event.