Friday, September 11, 2009

Recalling 911

Eight years on and it seems that New York has rebounded quite well, even if Ground Zero still remains pretty much a crater. Seems Silverstein and the city and state of New York remain at loggerheads over how to pay for the redevelopment scheme. As an architect, I followed this redevelopment project closely. A very good special was done for PBS (Frontline I believe) on the battle between Libeskind, who won the competition, and Silverstein, who refused to pay him for his efforts, and worse brought in another architect to redesign the Freedom tower because he didn't feel Libeskind amply qualified to pull it off. Libeskind managed to fight for and retain the height of the building "1776" feet, because it greatly appealled to Bloomberg and Pataki at the time. Silverstein and the new architect, David Childs, wanted to make the tower over 2000 feet! In talking with Libeskind, he said that fortunately he was able to retain much of his vision for the ground plane itself, even if other architects were involved in the actual structures. I visited the site in 2008 with my family while on vacation in New York.

I'm not quite sure what the legacy of 911 will be. Similar battles continue to take place over the memorial that was chosen for the site. It is still temporarily housed in a building next to the work site. I suppose we won't have that needed sense of reconciliation until this project is completed, as Americans seem to need physical markers to recall the past, even something stamped so strongly on the collective conscience as 911.

9 comments:

  1. I was down there few weeks ago -- walked on Church St on my way to a cafe at Bowling Green where I was meeting people for coffee. I was a little surprised at how many tourists still go there to visit. At the flute convention in August, someone from Salt Lake City asked me what she should see next and asked about that site. I didn't recommend and said, well, if you want to see a depressing hole in the ground, it's OK.

    There has been a lot of local TV coverage about the memorials this morning. I suppose it will be very big in the national media when we reach the 10 year mark in 2011.

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  2. Here's a link to curbed.com, with a short article and some photos of their recent tour of the post-WTC construction site:

    http://curbed.com/archives/2009/09/11/curbed_inside_the_world_trade_center_site_91009.php

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  3. Link to NY1, the Time Warner local TV station might have something of interest. Right now they are rebroadcasting some old stories done on that morning. I don't think I can watch much of it though. Those stories are probably not on the website.

    http://www.ny1.com/

    Marti

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  4. Another link:

    http://www.panynj.gov/wtcprogress/

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  5. I find it very hard reliving all of this -- and tend not to look at photos etc. Not only was the event horrendous (and I have friends living in lower Manhattan), but the memories of how all that global good will was lost just makes you want to weep even more.

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  6. Likewise Avrds. MSNBC had a replay of it in real time as it had been covered at midnight (a few hours ago here) and I turned it off right away. Sept. 11th was a horror and then the events that followed made it all worse for me. We were in a recession then and my employer was treating us like dirt, which led me to decide to find a job with evening hours. It took 3/4 of a year to find it during 2002. And now there are far fewer jobs in my area.

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  7. All that Bush, Cheney & Rumsfeld did after 9/11 made it more of a horror and destroyed the goodwill we'd had from other countries over this.

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  8. It is hard to reconcile such a horrific event, and Bush was very much the wrong president at the wrong time, but yet so many Americans thought so highly of him as he stood there among the ruins embracing a fireman, setting the stage for what would become one of the most contentious periods in our history.

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  9. That's what can happen when we elect empty headed frat boys.

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