Two large depressions form the heart of the memorial. They take the form of the shadow, or impact, of the Twin Towers, but are approximately one quarter the size (reflecting the proportion of victims from New Jersey).
The depressions slice across the sight, and the Liberty Walk, extending into the river. They are aligned with Ground Zero, and are open on the river side, so that being in them your view is focused on the skyline and the missing Towers.
The form of the depressions is also reminiscent of boat landings, reflecting the role that Liberty Park played in receiving victims and sending supplies across the river.
The floor of the depressions is made of stone, and set slightly above mean high tide. This gives them a direct visual connection to the river. Periodic flooding would remove flowers left in tribute on the Memorial floor, and take them to the sea.
The floors of the depressions do not contact the walls, but are separated by a thin ribbon of water from the river. This makes the floors like low islands in the river, contained on three sides by the names of the dead, and open on the fourth to the scene of the tragedy.
The walls of the depressions are also made of stone, and engraved with the names of the New Jersey victims. The names are oriented vertically, giving the impression of flowing down the walls, perhaps like tears, and into the ribbon of water at their base.
The Memorial interrupts the Liberty Walk, as befits the events of September 11th. It is possible to go around the Memorial, or to go through it (there is passage through the two depressions along the liberty walk path), but it is not possible to pass in front of it without being affected.
Two large inscriptions are carved into the floor of the depressions describing the events of September 11 and the role of Liberty Park on that day. The inscriptions can be read from the Liberty Walk above, or from the floor of the Memorial.
Grass berms, in the form of ripples radiating out from Ground Zero, occupy much of the rest of the site. They provide a quiet, comfortable place to sit, view the New York skyline, and reflect on the events of September 11th, 2001.
A grove of trees in the South West corner of the site makes a visual connection to the Memorial Grove down the road. They also block the view of the Memorial from the approach road and parking area, creating a memorable entry sequence as visitors pass through the grove, and shield visitors in the Memorial from the traffic and parked cars.