Central Park Benches Tell Stories, Remember Those Lost on 9/11

A bench in Central Park features an inscription in memory of 9/11 victim Brent Woodall.
The inscription on the Central Park bench in memory of Brent Woodall. Photo courtesy of Erin Konstantinow.

In the years after 9/11, people around the world sought ways to remember the men, women and children who were lost that day. Some turned to Central Park in New York City.

Through the Central Park Conservancy’s Adopt-A-Bench program, a handful of benches bear plaques remembering those who did not make it home on 9/11.

One bench was dedicated to Brent Woodall who worked for Keefe, Bruyette, and Woods on the 89th floor of the South Tower. Erin Konstantinow, Woodall’s sister, came up with the idea to adopt a bench when she was walking through Central Park after visiting her brother’s old apartment.Brent Woodall’s siblings, Craig and Erin, sit on the bench they adopted in their brother’s memory. Photo courtesy of Erin Konstantinow.

In order to raise the money needed to adopt the bench, Konstantinow started a campaign and invited people to donate just $1, which would allow them to have a sense of ownership over the bench as well.

“We had donations from all over the country, and a few international, friends, family, strangers, entire classrooms of kids, sports teams—it was amazing” she said.

“We don't otherwise have a grave site for my brother, so the bench kind of serves as a place to go and think reflectively in the midst of the city where he worked and died,” she said. “That's pretty much why the bench says what it does – ‘A quiet place to sit and remember good times,’ because that's exactly what we do there.”

According to the New York Times, these benches make up only a small portion of the 4,223 adopted benches in Central Park but they mark a lasting remembrance. Other benches remember sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, and friends. One was even dedicated to the 9/11 rescue dogs and includes the line “loyalty and duty beyond our comprehension.”

By Hannah Foley, 9/11 Memorial Communications Intern

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