9/11 Tiles For America Collection – Memorial at Mulry Square
The 9/11 Tiles for America Memorial was one of the first permanent memorials dedicated to the events of September 11th, 2001, and one of the few permanent ones anywhere created collectively by members of the public. After the tragic events of that day, Greenwich Village resident Lorrie Veasey, owner and operator of Our Name is Mud ceramic studio, created tiles of American flags, doves, and angels and hung them on the chain-link fence surrounding Mulry Square, then a Metropolitan Transportation Authority parking lot across from the Former St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village. Her installation became a community message board to support the attack’s victims, and created a space for their loved ones to grieve, support, and comfort each other.
The original installation hung for 10 years at Mulry Square, at the intersection of Seventh Avenue South, 11th Street and Greenwich Avenue, but by 2011 when these pictures were taken by Village Preservation staff to document their condition and advocate for their preservation, time had certainly taken its toll on the fragile tiles. Several were stolen, broken, or missing, and, in August 2011, Hurricane Irene was barrelling towards New York City, threatening to destroy them completely. Fearing it might be her last chance to save the tiles, Greenwich Village resident Dusty Berke gathered 20 of her neighbors –unofficially called the “Village Angels”– to safely de-install the tiles. Local businesses Rizzi Salon and Cafe RouRou offered to store and exhibit them until they could be reinstalled after the Hurricane. In September of that year, community members helped Dusty rebuild the memorial, in grand fashion. Jim Powers, the “Mosaic Man” donated a planter at the corner of 7th Avenue South and Greenwich Avenue. A vintage planter, affectionately named “the Love Bench,” was also installed to give visitors a place to contemplate and remember. Chris King also donated 20 potted palm trees to give the memorial “oasis-like” privacy.
However, the memorial was threatened again later that year when the MTA announced plans to build an emergency ventilation substation on the site. Through community activism and participation, the MTA agreed to create a permanent home for the memorial, incorporating it into the design of their new structure. In 2016, the MTA structure was completed and the tiles were finally re-installed, permanently, at the corner of Greenwich Avenue and 7th Avenue South for all to appreciate and honor the memory of those lost on 9/11.