The Fix at Ground Zero

By Nobel, Philip | The Nation, January 27, 2003 | Go to article overview

The Fix at Ground Zero


Nobel, Philip, The Nation


The second year of machinations at the World Trade Center site has gotten off to a vigorous start. Digging out of the public-relations hole it created for itself last summer with the release of six profoundly uninspired plans by four handpicked local firms, in September the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) announced the selection of six mostly glamorous design teams from among "406 submissions received from every continent except Antarctica." Another, a handpicked local holdover from round one, was immediately added hors concours. The seven teams--six empowered by a jury and one by bureaucratic fiat--were then charged with creating "innovative designs" out of the appallingly complex skein of planning dilemmas at Ground Zero--What to build? Where to remember? How to profit?--and they were asked to do so using nearly the same overstuffed, lease-mandated quotas that had stymied the designers in the previous attempt: up to 10 million square feet of office space (graciously reduced from 11 million), up to 1 million square feet for an "international conference center and hotel" (an item found on no "Listening to the City" wish list) and between 600,000 and 1 million square feet of "respectful" retail space (quietly and substantially increased from last summer's totals). And, as before, all of this bounty is to be packed into a hemmed-in and hollowed-out urban site of only sixteen acres, two of which, the tower footprints, are now by official decree hallowed ground.

A working program reflecting these enduring assumptions--plus a memorial, a memorial museum, "a 21st century train station," a "distinctive skyline," a "new street grid," a "grand promenade" on West Street--was released on October 11 by the LMDC. Then the process went into chambers, where by all accounts that agency kept close tabs on the developing visions; but the Port Authority--still, alas, the owner of the site--emerged as the primary client, the party to impress. As planned, the elections came and went with progress implied; no incumbent was dogged by charges of inaction or exposed to "vision thing" risk. But in the weeks after, the papers began to fill with a steady pulse of official and leaked enthusiasms intended to raise hopes that an inventive spatial solution was near. At last, we were told, the cavalry--"great minds"--had come.

On December 18 the public was treated to an event that was an apt finale to that hype. As morning broke over lower Manhattan one year, three months and one week after it was attacked, the skylit, marble-veneered, palm-tree-canopied volume of the resurrected World Financial Center Winter Garden rang with the din of an assembling media scrum. In front of a well-guarded stage, behind a barrier of retractable ticket-line ribbons, a phalanx of miniature heroic futures waited, each world's-tallest totem of renewal suggesting its potency by the size of the tented peak it pushed up in a cloaking white sheet. Every vantage on those proud models not obstructed by the restored grove was taken up by rows of VIP folding chairs and banks of network cameras. Reporters eddied around the margins and complained that there was no coffee. This is how the city heals.

At 10 am sharp, in what may stand forever as the high-water mark of architecture's popular presence in American culture, the unveilings began, covered live on cable and local public radio, where a prominent design critic was asked to provide color commentary as if it were the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. First came Daniel Libeskind, brilliant and endearingly impish, unspooling a riff so affecting that few then or since questioned the shattered crystal city he proposed, ornamented with captured cosmic rays and puzzle-locked Tetris chits. Below a needle spire stacked with gardens (an "affirmation of life"), a "museum of the event" would hang provocatively over the concrete walls and bedrock floor of the World Trade Center's deep "bathtub" foundation. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Fix at Ground Zero
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.