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World Trade Center sphere to come home

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Sculptor Fritz Koenig's sphere in the main plaza of the World Trade Center towers in 1976.

NEW YORK — The iconic 25-ton sphere that stood in front of the World Trade Center’s twin towers and was heavily damaged in the September 11 terror attack will return to its original home 15 years later.

German sculptor Fritz Koenig’s “Sphere for Plaza Fountain” is 25 feet high and has 52 bronze segments.

The Port Authority’s board of commissioners on Thursday announced the plans to move the sculpture from its temporary spot in Battery Park to Liberty Park at the National September 11 Memorial plaza.

Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye recommended the sphere be relocated to its “home” after an enthusiastic push from 9/11 victims’ family members to do so.

The sphere won’t, however, be in its exact 1971 birthplace, where Austin J. Tobin Plaza once stood and where a restored Greene Street now sits. Officials hope to avoid potentially “impacting the architecturally consistent design of the memorial plaza,” Foye said during the announcement.

The sculpture is now in Battery Park, but will return to its original home.

The sculpture is now in Battery Park, but will return to its original home.

It will instead reside permanently in Liberty Park, which opened in late June above the roof of the World Trade Center Vehicle Security Center. This is near the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox National Shrine that was destroyed when the World Trade Center south tower collapsed on it during the 9/11 attacks. The shrine remains under construction.

“Returning the iconic Koenig sphere to its rightful home at the World Trade Center site symbolizes our resilience in the wake of unspeakable horror and that we will never forget those who were lost on that fateful day in September,” Port Authority Vice Chairman Steven M. Cohen said in a news release.

Memorial Plaza is pleased to see its return as well.

“As an institution, we said we support the Port’s decision to place the Sphere at Liberty Park where millions of visitors will see the 9/11 artifact every year,” said September 11 Memorial Plaza Executive Vice President of Communications and Marketing Michael Frazier.

The 25-ton sphere will be hauled from its temporary dwelling place in Battery Park, where it has sat since its rededication ceremony in 2002.