9/11 Memorial Tiles to be Moved to New Storefront Museum

By Andrea Swalec on August 21, 2012 7:16am 

GREENWICH VILLAGE — The thousands of 9/11 memorial tiles that have been on display in Greenwich Village since the 2001 terrorist attacks will soon be moved into a new storefront museum devoted to the project. 

The national ceramics organization that collects new memorial tiles from across the country has decided to move the tiles to 62 Greenwich Ave. as soon as possible, in advance of MTA construction at the corner where the tiles are currently located. 

Kami Hatley, president of the Contemporary Ceramic Studios Association of America, said the Tennessee-based group determined that a small memorial museum across the street from the tiles' current site at Seventh Avenue South and Greenwich Avenue would give the memeorial tiles a permanent home. 

"We felt like the memorial belongs to the neighborhood," Hatley said. "They were the people who were taking care of it last year during Hurricane Irene, so we wanted to keep the tiles here." 

The forthcoming museum, which is located between The Meatball Shop and Gusto Ristorante e Bar Americano, will either display all of the tiles or rotate tiles if there is not enough space for all of them to be shown at once, Hatley said. 

The new donation-fueled museum will be coordinated by members of the Tiles for America Preservation Project, which West Village resident Dusty Berke and a group of volunteers who call themselves the "Village Angels" run, Hatley said. 

Berke did not immediately respond to an inquiry about plans for the museum.

In a resolution approved last week, Community Board 2 suggested an alternate plan for the storage of the tiles during the MTA's construction of a ventilation plant on the current memorial site, which is known as Mulry Square. 

CB2 suggested that the CCSA accept an offer from the New York State Museum, which is located in Albany, to catalog and restore the tiles. 

The community board liked that the storefront museum would keep the tiles in the neighborhood during construction, but it had "serious concerns" about the feasibility of quickly renting the museum space and obtaining necessary permits, the resolution said. 

Ceramist Lorrie Veasey made the first Tiles for America on Sept. 12, 2001, in her former 11th Street shop Our Name Is Mud, according to the project's website. 

As the Hurricane Irene forecast for New York got increasingly grim last September, Berke and the Village Angels clipped down the Tiles for America to prevent them from being damaged during the storm. They were rehung soon after the storm passed. 

Sasha Muniak, the owner of 62 Greenwich Ave. who also owns Gusto, did not immediately return an inquiry about terms of the group's lease for the space. 

Plans to move the more than 4,000 tiles to the storefront museum in a "ceremonial, respectful way" are being discussed by CCSA and Tiles for America Preservation Project members now, Hatley said

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