Accession Number: C.2013.908.1
Dimensions: 37 in X 34 in X 243 in
Dimensions (Metric): 93.98 cm X 86.36 cm X 617.22 cm
Credit Line: Recovered from the World Trade Center site after September 11, 2001
Collection 9/11 Memorial Museum, Courtesy of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Concrete and granite-covered staircase, heavily damaged.
This staircase once connected the northern edge of the World Trade Center’s Austin J. Tobin Plaza to the Vesey Street sidewalk below. On September 11, 2001, the stairs and an adjacent escalator provided an unobstructed exit for hundreds seeking to escape. To reach the stairs, many had to cross the Plaza beneath treacherous debris falling from the North Tower.
The Vesey Street stairs withstood the collapse on 9/11. Most of the damage now visible was inflicted during the cleanup operation, which included demolition of the adjacent escalators and what remained of two nearby buildings, 5 WTC and 6 WTC. The stairs were slated for destruction until a federal review process involving preservationists, survivors, and other advocates eventually assured that this symbolic remnant, now known as the Survivors’ Stairs, would be saved.