LOWER MANHATTAN — Despite Port Authority opposition, Mayor Michael Bloomberg thinks the iconic 9/11 sphere should remain in Battery Park, he said Monday.
Bloomberg lent his voice to the wave of critics who have decried the Port Authority's plan to move the Fritz Koenig Sphere — the dented, bronze sculpture that was pulled from the wreckage of the World Trade Center and became a symbol of hope and resilience following the 9/11 attacks — out of Battery Park.
"I think it’s beautiful where it is,” Bloomberg told reporters at an unrelated press conference in West Chelsea, explaining that leaving the sphere in its current location helps visitors understand the scope of the impact of the attacks.
"You have people going elsewhere to understand this is something that affected the whole city, not just on the World Trade Center Site," he said.
Still, Bloomberg said that, once a new location is chosen, he won't interfere.
“It’s up to the Port Authority," he said. "I’ll support whatever they decide to do."
The agency had originally said it would haul the 25-foot sphere to a storage hangar at JFK Airport's Hangar where it stores other large 9/11 artifacts by the end of April — but reversed course following a public outcry from many 9/11 families, who feel the sculpture should be returned to its original home, between the Twin Towers, inside what is now the 9/11 Memorial.
The Port Authority released a statement on May 11 saying that it would announce a new, temporary home for the sculpture last week — but has yet to make an announcement about its fate.
“We believe this sculpture should continue to reside in a location where New Yorkers and people from around the region, nation and the world can view this important reminder of survival and resilience,” Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye said in a statement at the time.
The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but spokesman Steve Coleman has said that the park was never meant to be a permanent home for the sphere, which was moved to Battery Park in 2002 after being pulled from the rubble at Ground Zero.
On Friday, the sculpture was surrounded by construction fencing, suggesting the move will be happening soon.
One possibility the Port Authority privately floated last year was to put the sphere in the future Liberty Park, just south of the 9/11 Memorial, but that won't be open for another couple of years.
Koenig's bronze sphere was originally installed in Battery Park during an emotional ceremony on the six-month anniversary of the attacks, and became a symbol of hope and resilience for many visitors and 9/11 families.