Forty-six years after it was first presented to New York City by famed artist Fritz Koenig, the sculpture “Sphere for Plaza Fountain” returned to its original home in Liberty Park at the World Trade Center site last night.
Over the next couple of weeks, in advance of the 16th anniversary of 9/11, the Sphere will be repaired and reconstructed. The iconic metallic sculpture will be a centerpiece at the St. Nicholas National Shrine (under construction).
The Sphere, at last, is home.
In 1971, the bronze sculpture was installed between the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center. There it sat, for many years, admired by millions of passersby. However, the devastating terror attacks of 2001 discriminated the area. When Towers 1 and 2 came crashing down on 9/11, the 25-ton sculpture — battled and bruised — stood defiantly in the ashes.
All parties agreed that it must be preserved and it was relocated to Battery Park in 2007. After much discussion, it was announced in 2016 the Sphere would find its new home close to the location where it once stood.
According to the New York Times, the late Koenig created a piece of artwork that was “once the sculptural centerpiece of the World Trade Center,” noting that the reinstallation returns “a visceral symbol of death and rebirth to an understated — and all but sanitized — landscape.”
Fritz, who had always called The Sphere his “child,” died earlier this year. He knew the sculpture would eventually return to the WTC area.
The “Sphere” stands 27 feet high and appears to have found the perfect permanent home.
Father Alexander Karloutsos, archpriest of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, welcomed the Sphere to the St. Nicholas National Shrine (under construction.)
“I was, and am, all for putting the ‘Sphere’ on Liberty Park, where it belongs,” said Father Karloutsos.