Saratoga County

9/11 sculpture outgrows planned City Center site

A large steel sculpture being made from five mangled pieces of the World Trade Center won’t be place

A large steel sculpture being made from five mangled pieces of the World Trade Center won’t be placed in front of the Saratoga Springs City Center, as first proposed last year.

“It’s too tight and no longer seems appropriate,” said Joel Reed, executive director of Saratoga Arts Inc., sponsor of the sculpture project.

Instead, “Tempered by Memory,” which is being created out of twisted steel from the twin towers of the World Trade Center destroyed during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, will probably be located on a large grassy area on the Congress Street side of the city’s Visitor Center at Broadway and Congress Street.

The City Council will make a final decision on the new site at its Aug. 2 meeting.

The sculpture being created by local artists John Van Alstine and Noah Savett has become somewhat larger than expected, Reed said.

The location at Broadway and Ellsworth Jones Place (formerly Grove Street) in front of the City Center is too small to give viewers of the artwork the proper perspective.

The sculpture, which measures about 18 feet by 20 feet and will be unveiled Sept. 11, is best viewed some distance away and then up close to see the World Trade Center steel, Reed said.

“You can’t get that perspective at the City Center site,” Reed said. “Everybody felt that there was not enough breathing room between the sculpture and the building.”

The five pieces of twisted and scarred steel from the World Trade Center were transported from New York City to Saratoga County in mid-May. The largest piece of the steel weighs more than a ton, and this and other pieces were delivered to Savett’s ironworks in Gansevoort.

Artists Van Alstine and Savett, with the volunteer help of union ironworkers and crane operators, are creating “Tempered by Memory” at the ironworks.

The intent of the sculpture, the artists say, is to memorialize the lives lost during the World Trade Center attacks, as well as to honor the families who have experienced this loss over the past decade.

“This was a wonderful idea,” Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson said on Wednesday about the sculpture. “But it became apparent that the artists’ vision needed more space than the City Center location.”

The new proposed location “will accommodate the mass and scale” of the sculpture, he said.

Johnson said there is no City Council opposition to the new location in front of the Visitor Center. He said the Visitor Center is a historic building (opened in 1915) and one of the state’s Urban Cultural Heritage sites. The location of the sculpture there requires approval by state historic preservation officials.

“We believe we have their full support,” Johnson said about the state officials.

The Visitor Center was formerly known as the Drink Hall, where people sampled Saratoga mineral waters and once waited for trolley cars.

A state historic preservation official visited the proposed location recently. The city has filed an application with the state and is awaiting a reply, Johnson said.

“It’s a better site overall because it allows viewing of the sculpture 360 degrees,” Johnson said.

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