View Poll Results: Construction is underway, how do you feel about the final design for the WTC site?

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  • I am more than satisfied; I believe that the final design surpasses that of the original World Trade Center. 10/10

    50 26.18%
  • While nothing may ever live up to the Twin Towers, I am wholly satisfied with the new World Trade Center; it is a new symbol for a new era. 7/10

    55 28.80%
  • I have come to terms with the new World Trade Center; although it has a number of flaws, I find the design to be acceptable. 5/10

    47 24.61%
  • I am wholly disappointed with the New World Trade Center; we will live to regret the final design. 0/10

    22 11.52%
  • I am biased, but honest, and hate anything that is not a reincarnation of the original Twin Towers.

    17 8.90%
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Thread: World Trade Center Developments

  1. #3916

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    Ground Zero’s Train in a Box, Above a Forest of Steel

    By DAVID W. DUNLAP
    Published: May 8, 2008

    The people don’t always ride in a hole in the ground. Those aboard the No. 1 train in Lower Manhattan are now riding part of the way through the air.

    David W. Dunlap/The New York Times
    The west side of the concrete box, right, containing the No. 1 subway line as it runs through the World Trade Center site.




    There is no view to admire. The trains are still well below street level, on tracks running within a box-shaped concrete tunnel that bisects the World Trade Center site. But instead of soil, the south half of that 975-foot stretch of subway rests on a newly built network of brawny steel beams atop a forest of minipiles reaching down to bedrock.

    And in recent weeks, workers have dug out so much soil from around those minipiles that they have created an underpass beneath the subway large enough for construction machinery to pass through. In the reconstruction of the trade center, it is a significant milestone of east meeting west.
    Gradually, the entire volume under the subway box will be cleared of soil, until the section from Liberty to Vesey Streets is structurally more like a viaduct than a tunnel.

    That will open up nearly 40 feet of vertical space under the tracks. And given how many purposes the site must serve, every cubic inch is precious.
    The subway box will eventually be an integral part of the larger, multilevel subterranean structure at the trade center site. Meanwhile, it must be supported on a sturdy but temporary structure while everything is built around it.

    The spectacle of a supposedly subterranean railroad held up in midair and exposed to daylight will resonate with older New Yorkers who remember that the PATH tubes were disinterred and suspended during the construction of the trade center 40 years ago.

    After most of the north PATH tube was exposed in 1968, Austin J. Tobin, who was then the executive director of the Port Authority, said it appeared from the distance “like a giant drain pipe,” James Glanz and Eric Lipton wrote in “City in the Sky: The Rise and Fall of the World Trade Center” (Times Books/Henry Holt & Company, 2003).

    In contrast to the cylindrical PATH tunnel, the subway has a rectangular framework. The original tunnel and the Cortlandt Street subway station were destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001, as was the PATH terminal at the trade center. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority rebuilt the subway tunnel within a year, inside a concrete box. It was the first big reconstruction project completed at ground zero. A temporary PATH terminal opened in 2003, but the subway station has yet to be replaced.

    It is the No. 1 subway box, running along the north-south route of Greenwich Street, that is gradually being exposed on all four sides.

    “We are pleased with the quality of the Port Authority’s work and — most importantly — we do not expect our customers to notice any changes in service on the No. 1 line,” said Aaron Donovan, deputy press secretary of the transportation authority. He said vibrations were monitored constantly and that the two agencies were “working cooperatively to ensure that the stability of our right-of-way is not impacted by the rebuilding project.”

    Undergirding the box are 450 steel minipiles — so called because they are 10 ¾ inches in diameter — that have been drilled through the soil into the bedrock about 40 feet below the subway. The minipiles are arrayed either three or five across, every 10 feet. Work began 18 months ago. All but 10 minipiles are now drilled.

    By the end of May, the entire subway box will be supported on the minipiles, said Raymond E. Sandiford, chief geotechnical engineer at the Port Authority. That will permit a full excavation down to bedrock, which he said should be completed by the end of summer at the south half of the site and by the end of the year at the north side.

    Within the space beneath the tracks that has been opened up by the excavation, the Port Authority plans to build portions of the PATH terminal, vehicle ramps, parking areas and even stores.

    “We’re using every available inch,” said Mark J. Pagliettini, program manager for priority capital programs at the Port Authority. To which Mr. Sandiford added:
    “Everything but the squeal.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/08/ny...on&oref=slogin

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

  2. #3917
    Forum Veteran Daquan13's Avatar
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    I thought that they were done with this part of the subway system.

    Seems as though they could have done that part while the thing was being rebuilt in'02.

  3. #3918

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daquan13 View Post
    I thought that they were done with this part of the subway system.

    Seems as though they could have done that part while the thing was being rebuilt in'02.
    I think they had to install what is presently there as a temporary solution just to get the system open as fast as possible.

  4. #3919
    Forum Veteran Daquan13's Avatar
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    I was thinking that that was part of the PATH subway, but that looks like the regular one run by the MTA.

  5. #3920
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    ^It's the 1 train.

  6. #3921

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    from the sun:

    Port Authority Is Negotiating To Avoid Paying Silverstein Fees

    By PETER KIEFER
    Staff Reporter of the Sun
    May 16, 2008


    In order to avoid paying millions of dollars in late fees, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is seeking to adjust part of the layout of a building planned for ground zero to accommodate developer Larry Silverstein, sources said.
    It is unlikely the Port Authority will be able to meet the June 30 deadline to turn over a building site at ground zero to Silverstein Properties, which controls a lease on the property. When a development deal was signed in September 2006, the Port Authority agreed to pay the developer a late fee of $300,000 a day until it could hand over cleared building sites.
    In February, six weeks after a similar deadline, the Port Authority owed Silverstein Properties about $14 million in late fees because it failed to prepare another building site by the agreed-upon deadline. Now, the Port Authority is said to be negotiating with Silverstein Properties to waive the late fees in exchange for several possible concessions, including altering the floor plates of the future office building known as Tower 3. Enlarging the floor plates would make the office space more amenable to major financial service companies, which need open space to accommodate trading floors. Mr. Silverstein is said to be attempting to lure Merrill Lynch to be an anchor tenant in one of its towers.
    One possible use that is being negotiated, according to a source with knowledge of the talks, is an expanded or even multilevel trading floor ? an idea that had been floated by Mr. Silverstein in the past. It would be in keeping with his stated goal of turning the World Trade Center site into a new financial center that would rival Midtown.
    In March, Mr. Silverstein laid out a detailed construction schedule that stretches across the next four years. Silverstein Properties would build towers 2, 3, and 4, with all three expected to reach street level along Church Street within a year. By the middle of 2010, towers 3 and 4 would reach their maximum heights, with Tower 2 following in 2011, according to the plan. The three skyscrapers would offer a total of 7.6 million square feet of office space. Last month, construction commenced on towers 3 and 4 at the World Trade Center site after years of delays.
    If the Port Authority did incur new late fees, it would add to the increasing number of financial penalties tied to delays in rebuilding ground zero. The state is attempting to renegotiate a deal with Goldman Sachs, which could be refunded up to $321 million from the city and state for construction delays at the former World Trade Center site. Mayor Bloomberg said the city would avoid paying its share of the penalties for development delays at the site, but he left open the possibility that the state could owe Goldman Sachs tens of millions of dollars.
    "We are working to meet the deadline," a spokeswoman for the Port Authority, Candace McAdams, said yesterday.
    A spokesman for Silverstein Properties, Bud Perrone, declined to comment.
    Port Authority officials have indicated they are interested in taking control of the troubled Moynihan Station project in Midtown, and Governor Paterson and Senator Schumer have encouraged the bistate agency to do so. Mr. Bloomberg has said the Port Authority's delays in rebuilding at ground zero are proof that it should not take on another large construction project.

  7. #3922

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    Aha.

  8. #3923
    Forum Veteran Daquan13's Avatar
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    This is obsurd! They bought the farm, they own it. PANYNJ; You owe Silverstein, and he wants you to show him the money. Pay up and feed the pigs!!
    Last edited by Daquan13; May 17th, 2008 at 01:48 AM.

  9. #3924

    Default Port Authority To Invest In State-Of-The-Art Security For WTC Site


    From: http://ny1.com

    Plans are underway to shore up security for the new developments at the World Trade Center site.

    The Port Authority has approved $5 million in funding to look at options for a state-of-the-art security center and emergency radio system at the site.

    First responders say they were hampered during the September 11th attacks by radios that didn't work, making it impossible to communicate with police and firefighters inside the Twin Towers.

    The new system would open up 20 radio frequencies during an emergency. Every building on the site would have a designated security center.

    Planners are still deciding where to locate the main command center which would serve five skyscrapers, the September 11th memorial and the World Trade Center transit hub.

    The PA is also spending millions on security upgrades at LaGuardia and Newark Airports.

    The agency authorized $28 million to install more vehicle barriers in front of LaGuardia's Central Terminal and Newark's Terminal B.

    The agency also announced a $400 million federal grant that pay for upgrades to baggage conveyer belt systems to integrate checked baggage screening. In some locations now, passengers have to carry their luggage to a screener after it's tagged.

    The agency is also moving ahead with pre-construction work for a mega terminal at JFK. The PA says $20 million will be spent on planning for the terminal to replace Delta Airlines' Terminals 2 and 3.

  10. #3925

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    Exposing the Wall Between the River and New York City

    David W. Dunlap/The New York Times
    Parts of the river wall are visible north of Chambers Street, but the excavation at the trade center will show it at greater depth.

    By DAVID W. DUNLAP
    Published: May 25, 2008

    To the builders of the 21st-century World Trade Center it is both an obstacle and an engineering marvel of 19th-century New York: the massive granite river wall that opened Manhattan’s edges to a world of seagoing commerce.




    Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
    Newly exposed granite blocks from the historic river wall that lies just west of the World Trade Center site.

    The river wall near the trade center was long ago cut off from the Hudson River by the landfill on which Battery Park City stands. But the wall’s granite and concrete blocks are very much in place under the western edge of West Street and have posed an engineering and archaeological challenge to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

    That is because part of the river wall must be removed to allow construction of an underground passageway between the new World Trade Center and the World Financial Center in Battery Park City. But at the same time, by agreement with state preservation officials, the river wall must also be treated as the historical resource it is. The New York State Office of Historic Preservation has deemed it eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

    As a result, archaeologists will be given the chance to monitor, inspect and document the river wall as it is being dismantled. And for a week or two early next year, before it is removed, the section of wall will be visible from the Winter Garden, its rough-hewn but handsomely coursed granite blocks exposed to a depth of perhaps 15 feet below street level.

    The top of the wall, which runs from the Battery to 59th Street, can currently be seen from many places along the shoreline. Just walk out on a pier and look back. But the chance to see a whole section of the wall — dry — will be exceptional.

    “The beauty of it is that they’re going to be able to view an entire length,” said Clarelle DeGraffe, the project manager for the Port Authority. “About 80 feet of granite wall section will be exposed. It’s awesome.”
    Awesome, but little known.

    By restraining the land mass behind it, a bulkhead allows large vessels to dock at the island’s edge, rather than at the end of piers or wharves hundreds of feet off shore.

    The depth and sturdiness of the shoreline is taken for granted now, but in 1873, the waterfront was so dilapidated and unnavigable as to “awake the amazement and indeed scorn of the foreigner,” The New York Times said. “What is wanted is a broad thoroughfare clear round the City, stone-faced, with all necessary piers, solid and imperishable.”

    The river wall, formally known as the Hudson River bulkhead, was built under an improvement plan proposed in 1870 by Gen. George B. McClellan, the chief engineer of the city’s Department of Docks, who was far better known as a Union leader during the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln’s Democratic challenger for the presidency in 1864.

    McClellan’s plan was “as ambitious, in its way, as the Brooklyn Bridge” and “the greatest public-works project of its period,” Phillip Lopate wrote in “Waterfront: A Journey Around Manhattan.”

    It took six decades to complete.

    According to an archaeological report prepared in 2006 by the Louis Berger Group, the bulkhead nearest the trade center was built with granite blocks atop concrete blocks atop vertical piles and lateral braces. The method suggests it was installed between 1899 and 1915.

    But only physical inspection can determine the dimensions of the wall for certain, and only exploration can uncover artifacts behind the bulkhead or evidence of an earlier river wall or piers. Among materials that might be found, the Berger report said, are “historic ceramics, curved glass (bottle, table and furniture glass), pipes, small finds/architectural, bone, floral, shell and aboriginal (prehistoric).”

    Ultimately, demolition of part of the river wall is needed to permit a clear path under West Street between the trade center and Battery Park City. One day, a commuter getting off the subway along William Street will be able to walk underground as far as the World Financial Center.

    To prevent flooding during construction — the water table is only about 10 feet below street level — the passageway under West Street will be built in three phases, with barrier walls between each segment. It is the second barrier wall that will displace the bulkhead.

    “No matter what, we’ve got a dam between us and the river,” said Raymond E. Sandiford, chief geotechnical engineer at the Port Authority.
    While Mr. Sandiford’s enthusiasm is obvious for the passageway project, so is his admiration for the engineering feats of an earlier age. He noted that a preliminary excavation had disclosed the possibility of coming across timber structures from the early 19th century that were used in cribworks that functioned like a bulkhead.

    “We may be uncovering even more of the historic waterfront,” Mr. Sandiford said, sounding hopeful that he would.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/25/ny...on&oref=slogin

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

  11. #3926

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    Construction Delays Likely At WTC Site


    From: The New York Observer

    http://www.observer.com/2008/constru...ikely-wtc-site


    Construction of various projects at the World Trade Center site, including the Freedom Tower and the September 11 Memorial, could be delayed as the Paterson administration reexamines the shifting reality of the site’s construction budgets and timetables that were set by the Pataki administration.
    Christopher Ward, the new executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the site’s landlord, is moving forward with an analysis of construction completion dates and other issues. He plans to publicly address the situation as soon as the next few weeks.
    As he does so, numerous people involved with redevelopment downtown say delays are widely expected for multiple projects, including the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, the PATH station that features a Santiago Calatrava-designed oculus, and perhaps the Freedom Tower. In the past few years, officials have been working with unrealistic dates, people involved said, as the complexities of the site were never fully understood before the timetables were set.
    A government-commissioned assessment found that the interior museum portion of the memorial may not be ready until 2013 or 2014, pushed back from the most recent target of 2011, the people involved with the redevelopment said. The PATH station, once expected to cost $2.2 billion, is the furthest behind schedule and overbudget, with completion not expected until at least 2013, up from 2009. Utilities connecting to all the site are behind schedule, and the Freedom Tower is thought to be closer to the target date of 2012 than any of the other projects, though its completion date may now be at least 2013.
    The decision to reevaluate the dates set by the Pataki administration represents a turnaround from the Spitzer administration, which was aware of the site’s challenges but chose generally to publicly keep the target dates as opposed to blaming departed officials for delays and then setting a new schedule.
    A former state official said the rationale at the time was that more conservative targets would have had a deterministic effect, resulting in an overall later completion of the whole site. Had the Spitzer administration set new dates, it felt, the contractors would have had no incentive to finish the jobs any earlier than the new targets. But by choosing to keep the less realistic dates, officials hoped to push the contractors to come at least somewhat close to hitting those original marks.
    That stance drew internal fire in the Spitzer administration from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, said people familiar with discussions, though the Port Authority maintained the approach.
    Now there’s new leadership in Albany and at the Port Authority—Mr. Ward was sworn in as executive director in May—and the unrealistic target dates are drawing nearer with the projects’ completions still far away.
    “The Port Authority was asked to take the lead in rebuilding in late 2006, and the site went from a complete stop on construction to a sprint,” said a Port Authority spokesman, Stephen Sigmund. With a new director, “it’s totally appropriate for him to want to—and for the board and our governors to want him to—do a full assessment of the projects to make sure they’re moving forward accountably and with achievable timelines and budgets.”

    THE WORLD TRADE CENTER site is one of tremendous complexity, and timetables for the various projects were set at a point when officials had not yet done the requisite work to determine whether the firm dates were actually attainable, said multiple people familiar with the rebuilding effort. The Pataki administration had already pushed date after date—the Freedom Tower and the PATH station were once scheduled to have opened by now—and at the time when the recent completion dates were set, Governor Pataki was pondering a run for president, with the revitalization of Lower Manhattan poised to be a major issue.
    As Mr. Pataki was leaving office, the city-/state-controlled Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center brought in a host of outside consultants to make an independent risk assessment that looked at the various projects at the site, considering their target completion dates and potential impediments. The result, a closely held report, painted a picture of an uncoordinated mess at ground zero, with innumerable obstacles to target timelines and budgets, people familiar with the report said. Each of the projects on the site was found to be acting as if it were on a site of its own, with a notable and substantial lack of coordination, a structure that lends itself to setbacks


    The expected delays now come in part as a result of the interconnected nature of construction, as changes or unanticipated actions at one project affect numerous other operations on the Rubik’s Cube-like site.
    Four towers over 900 feet tall are being constructed simultaneously over a relatively small footprint with little space for staging; the Port Authority needs to construct a vehicle security center that cannot be built until the former Deutsche Bank tower is demolished; the memorial may have trouble functioning without the completion of an underground parking garage beneath developer Larry Silverstein’s towers; PATH and subway trains must run continuously; the office towers cannot function until common utility infrastructure is built on the site, a program well behind schedule; and the box that holds the No. 1 subway line must be reinforced and supported before any work through much of the site can move forward—a task that was not initially anticipated with the level of complexity required, people familiar with the site said.
    In the case of the memorial and the museum, much of the interior work is dependent upon the completion of the adjacent PATH hub, which in turn is undergoing revisions in an attempt to cut costs. The target completion is now set for the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, but the LMCCC report from last year found that the interior museum portion is unlikely to be completed before 2013, according to people familiar with the findings.
    The biggest delays and overruns at the site are at the PATH hub, a $2.2 billion project that was given a budget and timeline well before anyone grasped its intricacies, officials say. First, the entire temporary PATH station on the eastern edge of the site must be completely removed and excavated down to the bedrock before any work can begin. Then the structure must be built with an intricate network of mechanical and technical infrastructure, parking, retail, a spacious concourse, and a pricey above-ground winged, spiky structure.
    Fitting all of that into the $2.2 billion budget is considered a total impossibility; as of April, the Port Authority was set on holding the costs to $2.5 billion, a number that includes a $300 million contingency fund from the Federal Transit Administration, though that position also may change.
    As for timelines, a December risk assessment from the F.T.A. found that the project has a 50-50 chance of being finished by June 2013.
    The Freedom Tower is considered in more stable shape financially than the PATH station, as the bulk of the construction contracts have already been bid upon and awarded. People familiar with the construction said it stands to be at least six months behind schedule, pushing into 2013 at least.
    As for the other projects at the site, those involved in the rebuilding generally considered the delivery dates for Mr. Silverstein’s Towers 2, 3 and 4—in 2012—to be relatively realistic; however, they, too, are very dependent on the progress elsewhere. The towers are all to get electricity and other utilities, for instance, from a central infrastructure to be built by the Port Authority.
    Mr. Silverstein recently was given an extra four to six months to complete two of the towers, as he is negotiating to potentially bring Merrill Lynch to a redesigned Tower 3.
    Then there is the Performing Arts Center, a Frank Gehry-designed building planned to go on the northern edge of the site. The hundreds of millions in necessary funding for the center is virtually nonexistent right now, and construction would have to wait at least four or five years, people familiar with the site say. The state and city are also still considering a proposal to move it above the troubled Fulton Street Transit Center a few blocks to the east.
    Two other buildings, Fiterman Hall to the north of the site and the former Deutsche Bank building to the south, still remain damaged and are awaiting deconstruction. The state is working on bringing down the Deutschetower, at 130 Liberty Street, by first decontaminating it, but the demolition of CUNY’s Fiterman Hall is held up as the city and state have a dispute over funding.
    “One-thirty liberty has to come down; Fiterman Hall has to come down,” said Elizabeth Berger, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York, the major business group in Lower Manhattan. “I can’t believe that we will have the seventh anniversary of 9/11, and they will still be up.”
    With regard to construction at the World Trade Center site, Ms. Berger expressed confidence in the effort to set new, realistic dates, as construction is indeed moving forward.
    “What’s important are real timetables, real schedules, and meeting them, and action now,” she said. “There is progress, we’re excited about that. It can’t stop; it’s got to keep going.”

  12. #3927
    Forum Veteran Daquan13's Avatar
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    Angry

    Here we go again!! This is nuts!!!

  13. #3928

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    June 11, 2008

    Silverstein Preps for WTC Towers 3 and 4



    Work continues 85 feet below street level Though it’s difficult to see the action 85 feet below grade, the east bathtub floor is an active construction site for Silverstein Properties. The World Trade Center (WTC) developer has been steadily preparing the site of Towers 3 and 4 since the Port Authority handed it over in February.

    Speaking to Community Board 1’s WTC Redevelopment Committee on June 9th, Silverstein’s Tower 3 Construction Director Sean Johnson said that preparations for the southern half of the east bathtub are moving along on schedule. Contractor Tishman Construction is heading up the work, which for now includes precise soil and rock blasting and excavation for the towers’ footings, as well as final slurry wall reinforcements.

    At the southernmost quadrant of the east bathtub, crews are also dewatering a deep pool left over from an ancient glacial swirl. The pool eventually will be filled with concrete, creating a hard surface upon which Tower 4’s foundation can be built.

    Silverstein’s team of more than 150 architects, designers, geotechnical specialists, and engineers continue to collaborate at 7 WTC’s 10th-floor “design studio.” Joined by members of the Tishman team, their joint efforts are key to keeping the towers’ development on schedule to open by 2012.


    © 2008 Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center/LMDC

  14. #3929

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    http://www.metropolismag.com/cda/story.php?artid=3411

    Normalizing Ground Zero?
    What’s now under construction is looking like a fairly typical twenty-first-century business district.
    By Karrie Jacobs
    Posted June 18, 2008

    Tourists still flock to the World Trade Center site, almost seven years after the attacks of September 11. What they find when they get there is not a scene of destruction but a busy construction site. While I’m grateful to see Ground Zero filling up with fresh concrete and steel, there’s something about the utter normalcy of the scene that makes me long for that heady period in 2003 and 2004 when the planning process for the site, a grand public pageant bursting with visionary zeal, promised to generate a place brave and powerful enough to heal the city’s wounds. But as the concrete hardens, I can almost see the banality setting in.

    The only person speaking with any frequency these days about his “vision” for the site is its developer, Larry Silverstein. Lately, he’s been giving what amounts to a stump speech, promoting the vitality of Lower Manhattan and touting his revised schedule. “The buildings will reach street level approximately one year after the start of construction, and Towers 3 and 4 will top out in mid-2010, with Tower 2 following in 2011,” Sil*verstein told the Downtown Association in April. “Can you count on this schedule? You bet.”

    So Silverstein, once thought to be the site’s weak link, is now its master builder. His deal with retail developer Westfield, which for a time was off, is back on so the towers’ lower floors will be lined with 500,000 square feet of shopping and dining. The latest renderings released by Silverstein Properties show four gleaming skyscrapers (including the Freedom Tower, now being developed by the Port Authority) flanking the eight-acre memorial. The most obvious thing suggested by the images is that none of the architects—Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, and Fumihiko Maki—has turned in their most inspired efforts. All of them appear to have been reined in by the limitations of Daniel Libeskind’s oddly conventional master plan; even Foster deferred to Libeskind’s crystalline aesthetic. Back in 2003, Libeskind thrilled us with his rhetorical wizardry, but the portion of his vision that has survived looks utterly unremarkable.

    “It turns out that Silverstein is the one who’s implementing Daniel’s plan,” observes Alex Gar*vin, who for 15 crucial months in 2002 and 2003 was the planning czar of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), shepherding Lib*es*kind’s plan to victory. The Silverstein towers stair-step up in height from the southeast to the northwest corner of the site. “One of the things that nobody paid attention to,” Garvin says, “was this spiral that went around up to the top of the Freedom Tower. That’s still there.”

    Across a newly remapped Greenwich Street, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, once scheduled for completion in 2009, is now projected to open in September 2011, presumably on the tenth anniversary of the attacks. Mayor Michael Bloomberg stepped up as the memorial board’s chairman in October 2006 to spearhead flagging fund-raising efforts, personally donating $15 million. As of April, the $350 million fund-raising goal had been reached for a project that is currently estimated to cost $530 million (the rest of the budget comes from the LMDC). The memorial still bears a resemblance to architect Michael Arad’s competition-winning design in that it has two water-filled voids in the shape and approximate locations of the Twin Towers’ footprints. But what was once a brooding, minimalist shrine has become a more cheerful, tourist-friendly place. There are some 350 trees, courtesy of landscape designer Peter Walker. The victims’ names, which in Arad’s scheme were to be underground in a sort of tomb, will be inscribed in the sunlight on the parapets of the fountains, something surviving family members advocated. The underground space will be largely occupied by a “state-of-the-art Memorial Museum.” The slurry wall, the concrete retaining structure that was anointed by Libeskind as a symbol and was perhaps the most powerful component of his overall plan, will also be hidden away beneath Walker’s Memorial Plaza.

    What the renderings show is a fairly normal twenty-first-century urban place, with many of the original plan’s most unorthodox buildings conspicuous by their absence. The so-called Freedom Center, a cultural facility beautifully drafted by the Norwegian firm Snøhetta, was booted off the site in 2005 when it was determined that its designated clients might exhibit art that would somehow be offensive to 9/11 victims’ families. Snøhetta is now designing a simpler building, an entry pavilion to the memorial, presumably content-free and inoffensive.

    Meanwhile, the performing-arts center designed by Frank Gehry, which was supposed to house the Joyce Theater dance company, shows up as an empty green square on the Silverstein rendering. There is as yet no design and no timetable. It has $50 million in LMDC funding, which is not nearly enough to move it forward.

    In the rendering, the Santiago Calatrava–designed PATH Station—a hub for commuter trains to New Jersey (and back in 2002, in the moment when all things were possible, home to the still elusive one-seat ride to the airports)—is largely obscured by Towers 2 and 3. That positioning, though accurate, may also be convenient. The station has lately been in the rebidding phase. It was originally budgeted at $2.2 billion, and the Port Authority is now struggling to bring it in for under $3 billion. While Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman says there will be “no significant changes to the renderings the public is accustomed to seeing,” there will likely be less stone and more concrete, less daylight and more fluor*escence. Calatrava’s dove taking wing might wind up being more of a value-*engineered turkey.

    But the development I find maddening is the shaky status of Nicholas Grimshaw’s Fulton Street subway station. Back in the days of the public-*spirited process, the announcement that most thrilled me was that the architect responsible for London’s sinuous Waterloo station had designed a circular glass crown for Lower Manhattan’s pivotal subway stop. Actual architecture for subway riders! But public architecture doesn’t come cheap. “Earlier this year the bids came back for major contracting above and below ground,” MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin recently told me. “The budget is $400 million; the bids were $800 million.” As a result, the Grimshaw scheme is in limbo. In April the LMDC embarked on a 30-day study of the feasibility of shifting the Gehry performing-arts center to the corner of Fulton and Broadway as a substitute for Grimshaw’s Fulton Transit Center. How this would benefit subway riders, I don’t know, but it would fill the MTA’s vacant lot.

    I’ve recently spent a lot of time trying to find someone in a position of authority who’s dedicated to making sure the remaining visionary bits of the WTC plan—the things that might distinguish it from a simple set of office buildings grouped around a park—still get built, but I can’t say that such a person exists. The LMDC’s current spokesman, for instance, couldn’t even tell me whether Libeskind’s office was still working with the *agency. The mayor’s office says that the deputy mayor for economic development is trying his best to get the state-run MTA to build as promised, and that, not coincidentally, the Fulton Transit Center is one of the initiatives the mayor’s recently killed *congestion-pricing scheme could have financed (never mind that the design predates congestion pricing by a good four years).

    What I sense at Ground Zero is a power vacuum. It used to be that there were too many big egos down there. Now there appear to be too few. Regardless, Silverstein continues to do what developers do: he builds. If 7 WTC, completed in 2006, is any indication, he can build well. The memorial likewise will find its way to completion, and the Port Authority will surely figure out how to value-engineer Calatrava’s station into existence. But what I can’t see at the moment is how the World Trade Center that someday emerges will be as extraordinary as it ought to be. Maybe it was foolish of me to have ever believed otherwise, but it’s now quite clear that while the hole will soon be filled in, the wounds will remain.

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    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    It took author Karie Jacobs all this time to come to those ^ conclusions? We've been arguing about those same observations for years. now

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