February 15, 2012

Fragment of World Trade Center Steel To Be Escorted to Princeton in March

A few months ago, Princeton Fire Department Deputy Chief Roy James made presentations to Princeton Borough Council and Township Committee about his idea for the establishment of a memorial in Princeton to those who perished on 9/11. Mr. James told both governing bodies that he wants to install a substantial piece of steel from the World Trade Center in a spot where people can gather to remember and reflect.

While the exact location of that memorial has yet to be determined, Mr. James said yesterday that a nine-foot-long remnant of the fallen buildings will be brought to Princeton from storage in Brooklyn on March 24, by police escort. The steel will be housed in the firehouse on Harrison Street until a memorial is built.

“My understanding is that a state police escort will bring the steel into Princeton,” Mr. James said. “We’re trying to get in communication with the NYPD [New York Police Department]. The FDNY [Fire Department of New York] will be participating, and the Fire Family Transport Foundation, which is a non-profit that helps families of firefighters, will be assisting us as well.”

Mr. James said he is working with the Township and Borough mayors to find an appropriate location for the memorial. “They have been very receptive,” he said. Fellow Princeton firefighter Kyle Rendell, an architect with KSS Architects, assisted Mr. James with his original concepts for the project.

The steel was made available at no cost. After his presentation to Borough Council last fall, Mr. James said the finished memorial will depend on the site that is provided. “We want a site that will make that connection visible — Nassau Street, Washington Road, Alexander Road — that sort of area,” he said at the time. “But we also want to make it a place where people can have privacy to mourn. So it would be a place for open observation and for personal, intimate space. Around the perimeter of the Princeton University campus would be ideal. Another concept we had was the Valley Road School site. But it’s such an open book at this point.”

A memorial to Princetonians who died in the 9/11 attacks does exist on the Princeton University campus, where East Pyne Hall connects with Chancellor Green, just east of Nassau Hall. The outdoor space includes 13 gold stars encircling a paved walkway within a garden, displaying the names of Princeton alumni felled in the attack, and a bronze remembrance bell created by late visual arts professor Toshiko Takaezu.