The Port Authority has agreed to put up $1 billion towards the construction of the Freedom Tower. That's definitely going to get things moving and ensure that it gets built.
Many folks may not be happy with what it looks like, so if you want to know who to blame, look no further than former New York Governor George Pataki. It was his idea to put a little known and unqualified architect in charge of a multi billion dollar project, Daniel Libeskind. His master plan included a restoration of the street grid, which forced the office buildings to the fringes of the site and opened up security risks, some of which were not recognized until two years into the process.
The end result was a Freedom Tower design that required what amounts to an armored pedestal nearly 200 feet high. Far from an inviting design, the design is all about compromises in aesthetics and security and safety.
And for all the naysayers about the Lower Manhattan real estate market, they keep getting proven that they couldn't be more hopelessly wrong. The naysayers included the likes of Mayor Bloomberg and the New York Times editorial page. The thing that often gets left out of pieces on the New York City real estate market is that the NYT has vested interests in undermining real estate concerns elsewhere in the city where they conflict with the NYT's own holdings. The NYT is trying to get tenants for its own new headquarters in Midtown, and it is working with Forest City Ratner, which is also building Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn. Those projects are competing with Lower Manhattan and Ground Zero for tenants.
Meanwhile, Sen. Hillary Clinton wants to hold hearings on Ground Zero ailments afflicting workers who were on the Pile and people living in the vicinity of Ground Zero.
This story recaps the amount of work done on preparing the site for construction, and what steps need to be taken next before the towers can rise to street level and beyond.
As Jammie Wearing Fool astutely notes in the comments, today is the 14th anniversary of the first WTC bombing attack, which killed six and wounded more than 1,000 people. I am reprinting the entirety of the original post I wrote last year to mark the occasion:
On this day 13 years ago, Islamic terrorists attacked the World Trade Center. Six people were killed. More than 1,000 were injured. The bomb went off at 12:18PM.
It took some people more than 2 hours to evacuate the towers. The emergency stairwells were pitch black, and the air was thick with smoke.
The six people who were murdered in the first major Islamic terrorist attack on US soil were:
John DiGiovanni, Valley Stream, New York
Robert Kirkpatrick, Suffern, New York
Steve Knapp, Manhattan, New York City
Monica Smith, Seaford, New York
William Macko, Bayonne, New Jersey
Wilfredo Mercado, Brooklyn, New York City
The terrorists had sought to do more than just damage the towers. They wanted to make an emphatic and deadly statement:Yousef was assisted by Iraqi bomb maker Abdul Rahman Yasin. Yasin's complex 1300 lb (600 kg) bomb was made of urea pellets, nitroglycerin, sulfuric acid, aluminum azide, magnesium azide, and bottled hydrogen. He added sodium cyanide to the mix as the vapors could go through the ventilation shafts and elevators of the towers. The van that Yousef used had four 20 ft (6 m) long fuses, all covered in surgical tubing. Yasin calculated that the fuse would trigger the bomb in twelve minutes after he would use a cheap cigarette lighter to light the fuse.
Yousef wanted to prevent smoke from escaping the towers, therefore catching the public eye by smothering people inside. He foresaw Tower One collapsing onto Tower Two after the blast would occur. The materials to build the bomb cost some US$300.
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Labels: 1993 WTC bombing, 9/11, anniversaries, Freedom Tower, Ground Zero, Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, urban policy, WTC cough