Remembering Hero Highway

Hero Highway supporters hold signs in lower Manhattan thanking first responders for their efforts.
Hero Highway Supporters at Point Thank You. Photo courtesy of Martha Cooper.

Soon after the Sept. 11 attacks, the West Side Highway became known as “Hero Highway” after crowds lined the road cheering and waving banners as thousands of rescue and recovery workers traveled to ground zero.

The West Side Highway stretches along the west side of Manhattan and for a short time was closed to traffic other than those who worked at the site. Many remember how New Yorkers came together to support the men and women who worked at the World Trade Center site by cheering them on, day and night, as they worked continuously for nine months. Rescue and recovery workers appreciated that spirit of gratitude.

 “Every night we would drive up West Street. . . there were people in the streets with American flags, and signs, thanking us, waving to us, screaming at us,” New York Police Department Emergency Services Unit worker Anthony Conti remembers. ”They had no idea what they meant to me.”

Large crowds of supporters convened at an intersection in Greenwich Village on Christopher Street, which came to be known as Point Thank You. It offered an outlet for those who wanted to express gratitude and feel connected to the recovery effort.

“We stood there with our thank you signs . . . to greet and wave and provide support,” said one supporter, Robin Tauck. “It gave me so much strength to see those workers wave to us and know that their work was being appreciated.”

By Jenny Pachucki, 9/11 Memorial Content Strategist 

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