I had a chance to explore the new murals at World Trade Center Plaza last week while my family was in town. I was really impressed.

When I arrived in NYC in 2006, Ground Zero was still very much a gray space. A giant crater of destruction beneath a cloud of sadness. Over the years I watched the rebuild of the downtown area. The coming and going of construction teams, the mass of tourists gathering to stare into the somber abyss.

In 2011 I moved into an apartment on Albany St. just before the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I watched that morning from the steps of my apartment as the families, politicians and TV crews gathered. Despite the activity, the place always maintained a certain stillness. As the choirs sang “I will remember you” by Sarah McLachlan, the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. The acapella rendition echoing between the surrounding buildings. It’s a moment I won’t ever forget.

Today, the site honors those lost with two beautiful infinity pools, a museum, the beautiful Oculus WTC and of course, Freedom Tower.

It was the new murals, however, that struck me on my recent visit. Property developer Silverstein Properties in partnership with the Port Authority invited street artists, both local and international, to emblazon the walls of large-scale corrugated metal sheds with their artwork. These sheds populate the walkways between the various points of reflection. The art that fills them is vibrant, colorful and whimsical with messages of love, tolerance, and hope. It was heartwarming to see familiar works by artists we’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years at our Conception Art Shows.

nyc street art

I can’t imagine that the decision to inject this space with such color was one taken lightly by the property developers, but it works. The introduction of vibrant murals into this reflective space is impactful yet respectful. Like that first colorful flower that blooms after a frosty winter, the art brings life to a place that has been solemn for almost two decades. The installation left me with a sense of both hope and reflection.