I arrived at 12:35 for my 1:00 time, and it was perfect. If you are doing this keep in mind that while in line, you will be in the direct sunlight, with no shade of any kind. Like I said the line moved very quickly, and we were in within 20 minutes. We went through the metal detectors, and purses and bags got x rayed. We showed our tickets a total of three times before we got in, and when we were in, we could wander the area.
There were places to sit down, but not much in the shade. The trees are still too small to actually shade a significant amount of space, but in a few years, it should be no problem. The actual pools were breathtaking, but it did not seem to be appreciated very much. It seemed very touristy and I felt that people should have been a little more serious while there.
I suppose I should stop and explain that I did not live here when this tragedy happened. We did not move to the city until 2005, but it is still something that affects me, since we now live here. I suppose the real New Yorkers are rubbing off on us. I understand that people are on vacation, but I think they need to just show some respect while visiting this memorial.