Thursday, August 25, 2011

9-11 Memorial FAIL

Ten years later….all there is, is a hole in the ground, with a collection of construction workers and a handful of pieces of heavy equipment.

We’re just a few weeks shy of the tenth anniversary (or, as too many in the media will say, “ten-year anniversary”) of the 9-11 attacks. 

Many of those media folks, particularly the ones who sit in for El Rushbo while the blowhard is vacationing with fabulous people at some exotic resort smoking expensive cigars and drinking pricey Scots Whisky, are pointing to this shameful hole in the ground in lower Manhattan as evidence of the current mediocrity of the American spirit.  (Though this assertion, which originated, I believe, with Mark Steyn, flies in the face of the “American Exceptionalism” which is a keystone of the Limbaugh doctrine.)

Thing is, these hard right-wingers have a point here.

I think it is shameful and disgusting that in a decade, we have nothing but a hole in the ground to show for our pledge to “never forget”.  For heaven’s sake, John Kennedy got us to the moon in a decade!  (Albeit with a lot of help from Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and NASA.)

Nothing but petty arguments have surrounded this whole “9-11 Memorial” thing.  Every sub-set of the people directly and indirectly impacted by the events of that horrible day have wrangled, bickered, whined, and belly-ached about every aspect of the “plan”.  Every mewling had to be placated.  Everyone’s ego had to be massaged.

And what you see above is what we have to show for it.

This is a disgusting failure of leadership on many levels.


  1. Are we talking about where the twins towers once stood? Because... that's done, dude. it's opening on Sept 12. Here, have a time lapse video:

  2. Thank you, Pale Wisconsinite. I really do need to clarify this. I'm not talking about the two glorified swimming pools and a handful of trees that constitute the "9-11 Memorial" - I want towers. Big, tall, towers. The one(s) nobody can agree on. It's shameful enough that all we have after ten years is a couple nice rectangular pools and some trees; I'm talking about President Bush's repeated (and oft-echoed) promise to "rebuild these towers".

  3. The market can no longer support super-high-rise office towers in this country. The banks that once paid premiums for such office space are reeling from the collapse of the housing bubble. It's not a failure of leadership; it's a failure of our economy. It would be an enormously expensive undertaking to rebuild towers that would sit mostly empty -- a modern ghost town in more ways than one.

  4. I can tell you about what I see firsthand when, with some regularity, I pass that shameful scene. Despite that sparse collection of trees in the video proffered by Pale, our blogger describes it well.

    What is in the pit is an incomplete and controversial museum and memorial (the holes) which will doggedly be opened despite the work-in-progress status (there were no permanent restrooms on the site, the last I heard) and the steelwork, about 78 stories worth, of a replacement office tower agencies are being dragooned into occupying.

    It has taken so long to get even this far because the squabbling over what, or even whether, to build - and who has the authority to build it - went on for two years.

    When a design finally emerged - forced by the leaseholder, who didn't like the other plans - the NYPD thwarted it because of security issues. The building (and cornerstone) had to be moved.

    Now its lower area is a drab 200-foot-tall reinforced concrete pedestal. Office floors - only 69 of them - begin above that. The rest of the building is taken up by mechanical floors, observation floors and an enclosed antenna which will be used to fudge the height to 1,776 feet.

    The original towers were 110 stories each, most of it office space.

    When it is done (certainly not this year and probably not next year), the edifice at 1 World Trade Center (not "Freedom Tower" anymore) will look like, well ... Raise your forearm, extend your middle finger and give your arm a defiant quarter-turn twist and you'll have some idea.

    Ordinary Jill is right. We don't need more towers, even if we could afford them. The Financial District had 11 million square feed of vacant floor space when the 10 million square feet of the towers vanished in a cloud of fire, smoke and debris.

    Much of that surplus space has been converted to condos and shops.

    Wall Street, unnecessary, eclipsed by technology and fading into irrelevance even then, is a pale copy of its former self. Goldmine Sacks - the company that, without exaggeration, runs our economy, built a shiny new tower across the Hudson and never looked back.

  5. Hieronymous,

    Whew! It almost sounds as if the 9/11 hijackers did us a favor! All of that unneeded office space! And, "Wall Street, unnecessary, eclipsed by technology and fading into irrelevance even then, is a pale copy of its former self,"...sounds like it could use a dose of jihadist urban renewal, too!

    Not quite as disturbing as Paul Krugman's (in)famous formulation of 9/14: "Ghastly as it may seem to say this, the terror attack ... could even do some economic good," but disturbing enough.

    Tell me again that moral indignation isn't my strongest suit, but man! You (and Jill) are awfully cold-blooded about this.

    The Town Crank

  6. OK, Crank. Moral indignation still isn't your strongest suit.

    I related my observations by way of explaining why the "recovery" at Ground Zero is taking so long. There are many agendas in play, none of which pay any more than lip service to the "sacred ground" image that most of the rest of the country has in its head. If there is cold-blooded calculation, it is by the poseurs and the attention-seekers and the self-interested who control this project.

    If the back story doesn't dovetail with your preconceived opinion of this bit of reality, or if understanding what's happening isn't really your thing, then please feel free to just brush my comments off.

    I lost 3 friends in the fires of September 11. I have written about hundreds of the victims, individually, and I know a very small bit about each of their lives. I have met many of their grieving survivors face to face, and spent hours listening to their stories. I cannot pass that gloomy pit without thinking of these ones. So when I see commercial and political interests smugly subrogated for the human side of this tragedy, I am inclined to not quietly accept that.

  7. Hieronymous,

    I focused only on that part of your comment dealing with office space and Wall Street. Hence the "cold-blooded" remark.

    Your back story is, indeed, interesting. I didn't know about the body of work you've written on the victims of that great tragedy.

    My opinion of the hole is just an opinion...nothing preconceived about it, except in the sense that I had the opinion before I made my comment here. You make it sound sleazy that way!

    As to the "commercial and political interests smugly subrogated for the human side of the tragedy," I can only say that it isn't anything new.

    The Town Crank

  8. The stand against terrorism. It will stand some day.

  9. The arm race has destroyed this world and USA is number one in that.

  10. Terrorism has no religion or region, stand against whereabouts you're.