Memorial Architect Recalls Tour with Koch

9/11 Memorial architect Michael Arab and former New York City Mayor Ed Koch smile for a photo on Memorial plaza. They are both wearing 9/11 Memorial hardhats.
9/11 Memorial architect Michael Arad and former New York Mayor Ed Koch are shown in July at the memorial before it opened in September 2011. (Courtesy photo)

I had the privilege of giving Mayor Ed Koch a tour of the 9/11 Memorial a couple of months before its opening in September 2011.

I had never seen anyone else who toured the site receive a warmer welcome from a multitude of construction workers. They all wanted to have their picture taken with him. 

It was a hot and muggy July morning.  But the mayor patiently and warmly greeted every well-wisher, and posed for multiple cell phone pictures. People reacted to him with so much familiarity and love, like a beloved uncle or grandfather. He was New York.

 By Michael Arad

Michael Arad is a partner at Handel Architects. He worked as a New York City Housing Authority architect before winning the competition to design the 9/11 Memorial. He has worked on several major projects, including a mixed-use skyscraper in Hong Kong and a 37-story tower in Miami.

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