View Poll Results: Should the International Freedom Center be built on the WTC site?

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  • It should be built right where its planned on the WTC site.

    17 39.53%
  • It should be built but off the WTC site.

    9 20.93%
  • It should be built in some other place of the WTC site.

    7 16.28%
  • It should not be built at all, anywhere.

    10 23.26%
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Thread: WTC Memorial Pavilion - Visitors Center - by Snohetta

  1. #91
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Quote Originally Posted by BPC
    What's missing from both sides' overheated debate on this issue is that the Drawing Center is a third-rate cultural organization that never merited consideration for such a prime piece of real estate.
    I'm curious: what is the basis for your ranking the Drawing Center as "third-rate"?

    Also, I find it perplexing why this world reknowned cultural institution, which has been a part of the downtown NYC art world for almost 40 years, is receiving such scathing attacks. If anyone can answer that it will be greatly appreciated.

    It was decided early on that cultural uses would be a part of the re-built WTC area. I agree that the Museum of the City of NY would have been a good choice (especially since it was bumped from the much more appropriate Tweed Courthouse building) and that a large performing arts group like City Opera would have been a great addition to the cultural life of downtown. However neither of those groups were chosen -- if this was due to payment of bribes as has been claimed in a previous post then I'd love to see the evidence for that (as I go as crazy for a scandal as anyone).

    The NY art scene has invariably pushed the envelope regarding what is "acceptable"; this is one of the reasons why NYC is vibrant and challenging and ever-changing. Do we really want as a centerpiece of the new downtown an International Propaganda (oops, meant to write Freedom) Center that challenges nothing and only serves to fulfill pre-conceived expectations for those who travel to the WTC?

  2. #92


    First, I don't agree with the third-rate assessment of The Drawing Center. I do not agree that they bribed anyone to get a place on the site. And I certainly don't believe that their presence would desecrate the place in anyway. I also believe that cultural institutions are essential to revitalisation of lower Manhattan.

    But I don't think ANY good cultural centers can opperate effectively on the WTC site without censorship or without pushing a pro-America agenda. And I feel that it IS too late to correct the "wrong" that was not selecting City Opera and the Museum of the City of NY for places in the new WTC planning.

    My suggestion is for the removal of the cultural portions of the planning - including the disturbing IFC- at least for now. Instead, the LMDC should look to place cultural centers in lower Manhattan, off the WTC site. This would allow the centers to function as institutions of free speech and prevent fighting between the memorialists and the culturalists that could, in the end, leave lower Manhattan without the culture piece of the puzzle to revitalization.

  3. #93


    I suggested that the Deutsche Bank site be used for a cultural building, but Lofter1's idea of using Fiterman Hall is a better choice.

    Like Deutsche Bank, it is at a distance from the memorial, but close enough to be considered a part of the complex. Unlike Deutsche Bank, it is not owned by the PA, but is still state property.

    The site is stand alone, at the convergence of Greenwich and West Broadway, with a planned plaza in front. It could be the gateway to the WTC site, a role envisioned for 7WTC.

    A partnership between scholastic and cultura institutions is a natural fit.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #94
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Zippy: That's a great shot showing what the prominence Fiterman has on the north side of the WTC site.

    Given all the players involved in Fiterman, what are the chances that cultural uses could be incorporated into the replacement for Fiterman?

    They should give the job of designing the new Fiterman to Gehry -- it's the perfect site for one of his great buildings.

  5. #95
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Dissent Is No Crime, Inquiry Is Not Treason

    By Niall Stanage
    NY Observer

    Plans and passions are clashing at Ground Zero.

    A rancorous debate about what constitutes an appropriate commemoration of the Sept. 11 attacks has been rumbling for weeks. The row is focused on two institutions that will augment the main memorial at the World Trade Center site. The International Freedom Center (I.F.C.) and the Drawing Center will occupy a cultural facility adjacent to where the Twin Towers once stood...

    Some of the points leveled against the cultural plans, however, carry very dark overtones.

    The New York Post has trumpeted the views of the relatives more than any other media outlet. In a July 7 editorial, the Post scorned a letter written by leading members of the I.F.C. The letter noted that programming at the center would be “provided by world-class universities,” including Columbia, Princeton and Oxford.

    The Post wasn’t impressed by the invocation of academic excellence. The universities, it thundered, “are Petri dishes for subversive theorizing—the sort of corrosive nonsense that may have a place on campus, but which has no business whatsoever at Ground Zero.”

    Within that one sentence, a line of reasoning that purported to be a defense of Ground Zero’s sanctity revealed itself as an attack upon the spirit of inquiry itself. Such rhetorical assaults help spread the ethos of the current White House, in which dissent is dishonorable.

    They also contribute to one of America’s worst traditions—a streak of anti-intellectualism that regards critical thought as worthy of suspicion rather than respect.

  6. #96


    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1
    Given all the players involved in Fiterman, what are the chances that cultural uses could be incorporated into the replacement for Fiterman?
    Email CB1 and make the suggestion. I did.

  7. #97


    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp
    Email CB1 and make the suggestion. I did.
    That sure sets a good example for the rest of us, Zippy. Gives us something constructive to channel all this palaver into.

    We might as well make this forum count for something outside its hermetic boundaries. But I do suggest that forumers try out their ideas here first, as you did, to get some feedback. No point in getting to be known as crackpots.

  8. #98
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    The Catskills


    ZippyTheChimp and Ablarc, you might actually turn us into good citizens . . . by challenging us to compost our hubris into a product that actually serves a constructive purpose. From BS to usefulness . . . what a concept! And a part of why I enjoy this forum so much. It truly is a forum where ideas are presented, challenged, argued, vilified and/or vindicated, and spawn even greater ideas and concepts.

    Astonishingly, the WTC site has become ever more politicized and polarized. As we become further removed in time from the event we become ever more incapable of creating an over-riding vision forged from hard-won community consensus and courageous civic leadership. Instead, invective has poisoned any reasoned debate. By action and by hateful words, select groups profane the very ground they proclaim as being sacred. Opponents are demonized, and highly charged emotional language has replaced any semblance of discourse or debate.

    It is cruel irony that such piercing bitterness now inflicts the site that borne our compassion and brought a unity to New Yorkers we could not have fathomed. We shouldered burdens unimaginable; and through it, came to adopt a solidarity that not only embraced the diversity of New York, but recognized it as a strength that would enable us to endure. And eventually thrive.

    Lofter1, Zippy, Ablarc, et al, have presented solutions that can get us beyond the impasse of reactivity and polarization. While it may be admirable to fight for freedom of expression unbridled by censorship, the political environment of ground zero is wedded to a narrow agenda that barely hides its lust for power and its need for attention. The pursuits of scholarship and the perspectives gained through artistic endeavor are best explored along the periphery. The 'boundary' is the recognized fertile ground for both theology and philosphy, and so the geographical location of cultural groups near but not in ground zero makes not only a larger political point, but also a psychic sense.

    I am saddend by this realization, because my idealism and optimism must give way to a recognition of real politic. The WiredNY forum serves an important function. It is the place where the power of one idea can ignite a conflagration.

  9. #99
    Banned Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY


    I sent CB1 my suggestion. Now the waiting begins....

  10. #100
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    How a Cultural Building Divides the Trade Center
    Published: July 28, 2005

    TWO lines on a plan drawn two years ago may have settled the fate of a cultural building at the new World Trade Center.

    By dividing the trade center site into quadrants around the east-west line of Fulton Street and the north-south line of Greenwich Street, planners created a clearly defined parcel containing the twin towers' footprints.

    Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, via Associated Press
    A rendering of the cultural building, behind the trade center void. A revised plan sets the building farther back from the void.

    In retrospect, it seems obvious that this parcel would come to be regarded by some as the memorial precinct exclusively; no matter that planners envisioned a cultural building there as a buffer for the memorial, as a place of "memory and hope"; no matter that people died throughout the whole trade center site.

    In retrospect, it also seems obvious that it might grow politically difficult to situate anything in the precinct that was not directly related to 9/11 or that veered at all from a tributary function.

    And now there is a mire around the Drawing Center, a 28-year-old museum in SoHo, and the embryonic International Freedom Center, conceived by Tom A. Bernstein, the president of Chelsea Piers, and Peter Kunhardt, a documentary filmmaker.

    These institutions were chosen in June 2004 to occupy a cultural building at the northeast corner of the memorial precinct. Last month, responding to critics who foresaw the possibility of anti-American artwork or programs in the building, Gov. George E. Pataki asked the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to secure an "absolute guarantee" from the institutions that they undertake nothing "that denigrates America."

    That led in turn to what Stefan Pryor, the corporation president, said yesterday were continuing discussions with both institutions.

    The design of the structure, by the firms Snohetta, Adamson Associates and Buro Happold, is already being revised to pull it away from the void and pool in the memorial plaza that will mark the location of the north tower. The current plan calls for the building to be 40 to 45 feet from the void at its closest point, about twice the distance of the design unveiled in May. Over all, the building's footprint is being reduced at least 10 percent, said Craig Dykers, a partner in Snohetta.

    Among the rationales for this building are that its open-air base would create an area for sheltering and directing visitors. Its upper floors would offer vantages of the memorial and environs. Its presence between the PATH terminal and the memorial would discourage commuters from using the memorial plaza as a shortcut to and from their offices. Its core could house ventilating and exhaust shafts, staircases and machinery needed by the PATH terminal and by the underground area of the memorial.

    Also, Mr. Dykers said, "It creates a transition between urban life and the memorial itself." And it is called for in the master plan by Daniel Libeskind, who wrote in 2003, "Of course, we need a museum at the epicenter of ground zero, a museum of the event, of memory and hope."

    The notion of any building in the precinct was rejected by the architect Michael Arad in his initial submission of a memorial design. He envisioned the site functioning "both as a sacred memorial ground for those who descend to the memorial pools and as a large urban plaza." But he and Peter Walker & Partners won the juried competition in 2004 after accommodating a cultural center in their plans.

    THE question now seems to be what will occupy that structure. Alternative locations for the Drawing Center, on and off the trade center site, are already being investigated.

    To make a case for the freedom center, Mr. Bernstein, the chairman, and Paula Grant Berry, the vice chairwoman, described in a July 6 letter to Mr. Pryor how it could play "an integral role in telling the story of Sept. 11." They also pledged that the center would never "be used as a forum for denigrating the country we love."

    They proposed accommodating the Family Room that is now in 1 Liberty Plaza, where victims' relatives come to mourn and remember privately. In one exhibit, they said, they would tell the stories of the men and women lost on Sept. 11 "alongside the freedom heroes of history." They proposed a gallery "devoted to the international outpouring of sympathy and support for the U.S. and the victims."

    Mr. Bernstein and Ms. Berry also proposed relocating the Fritz Koenig sculpture "Sphere for Plaza Fountain," which stood at the trade center and is now an interim memorial in Battery Park, to a spot outside the cultural building.

    Mr. Pryor said yesterday that any 9/11-related proposals would have to be coordinated with the museum being planned in the memorial precinct. "We're still in the process of analyzing elements of this letter," he said.

    But the letter has already had an effect. Eric Foner, the DeWitt Clinton professor of history at Columbia University, said its "general stance of surrender" prompted his resignation from the center's committee of scholars and advisers. (Richard J. Tofel, the president and chief operating officer of the freedom center, declined to comment.)

    "I objected to the failure to say a word in defense of freedom of expression, or that difference of opinion is not anti-American but essential to the exercise of freedom," Professor Foner wrote in an e-mail message on Tuesday.

    "It convinced me that if the freedom center is in fact built, they will surrender again and again whenever anyone objects to anything in it. In those circumstances, I don't see how a genuinely interesting, complicated and historically accurate presentation about freedom and its history can be developed."

    He added, "I hope I'm wrong."

    Months ago, in explaining to the center's creators why he was reluctant to become an adviser in the first place, Professor Foner seems to have anticipated the current storm.

    "There is a danger that the site itself could overwhelm what any good museum needs to have," he wrote, "which is a critical eye, an ability to look carefully and in a complex way at historical questions."

  11. #101
    Banned Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY


    Good for Prof. Foner. At least someone gets it - and is getting coverage in the press.

  12. #102


    Its presence between the PATH terminal and the memorial would discourage commuters from using the memorial plaza as a shortcut to and from their offices.
    A contrived and calculated sentiment aimed directly at the 9/11 families (foes of the Freedom Center).
    ...Mr. Dykers said, "It creates a transition between urban life and the memorial itself."
    It thought that is what the trees and descent under the fountains was supposed to accomplish.
    [Michael Arad] envisioned the site functioning "both as a sacred memorial ground for those who descend to the memorial pools and as a large urban plaza."
    The plaza is not the memorial its a plaza, and as such I think it would be wonderful to come out of the path station and be on the edge of it.

  13. #103


    Jasonik, the activists who purport to represent the 9/11 families have always envisioned the Memorial Plaza as a place set aside exclusively for themselves and the tourists who (in their mind) will come to honor their fallen loved ones, and not as an open green space for the tens of thousands of office workers and residents who work and live in the immediate vicinity. The head of one such group (Michael Kuo, I believe) once told a reporter that his worst fear was that someone would use the space to sit and eat a sandwich on his lunch break. The WTC memorial was designed to satisfy those concerns.

    Personally, I think that the activists' desire to scare off pedestrian street life from the site is exactly the wrong approach. Already, most family members visit the site only rarely. If the site is to flourish in the yeas to come, it will only be if the community is vested in its well-being, not excluded from it.

  14. #104

    Default Honor Only The 9/11 Dead

    From this morning's (August 2, 2005) New York Daily News:
    Honor only the 9/11 dead


    I feel for Tom Bernstein and Paula Berry, the president and the vice president of the proposed and very controversial Freedom Center at Ground Zero. They have put their hearts into a project they believe in, but it has been met by significant resistance. At the end of each day, at least recently, they must be thinking that no good deed goes unpunished. But, as much as there is inherent good in their deed, it is fundamentally flawed. The International Freedom Center simply doesn't belong where it is proposed.
    I cannot speak for the families of 9/11, but I do have many in those groups who are my friends, and I believe my measure of their views to be correct. They see the Drawing Center and the Freedom Center to be inappropriate institutions for a site where so many have died. The First Amendment rights of such institutions would always prevail, and consequently the possibility would always exist for an exhibition to be an affront to the reverence that should be felt at Ground Zero.

    Who can object to exhibitions that honor the sacrifices made by the greats of history - Sitting Bull, Michael Collins, Golda Meir and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.? But, would these kinds of exhibitions be put forth in the National Museum of the American Indian in the old Custom House, or the Irish Hunger Memorial on Vesey St., or the Holocaust museum in Battery Park City? The idea of the Freedom Center has important potential, but is not relevant to the 9/11 site. It must be shifted to another place. The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. can easily find an alternative for the Freedom Center.

    In the history of Western civilization, when a society wanted to build something public - a bridge, a cathedral, a memorial - its representatives went to an enlightened patron for guidance and building money. Today, public building is usually underwritten by our government in a world where civic action is based more on polling than enlightenment. Because there has not been a consistent vision for Ground Zero, there has been a natural evolution of conflict. Gov. Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg have tried to build a consensus, but almost four years after 9/11, many differences of opinion remain.

    Meanwhile, as I see it, the families of the 2,749 souls who perished will have the ultimate say. They have the country on their side, though they have not yet begun to muster all the support they could get from the American people, who continue to connect to the memory of 9/11. Also, the families have not yet asked for a supportive turnout of New York's Finest and Bravest, who continue to represent for us those wonderful men and women who went up those stairs to help others get down.

    What feeds this controversy is one great, unrelenting and unforgettable issue: Good people were murdered, and of those 2,749 who were so tragically taken from their families, 1,152 men and women left nothing of themselves behind - not a hair, a fingernail, piece of skin or bone that could be identified. If you will think about it, you will soon realize that these lost men and women are in that space. They can only be in that space. And, so, that space must have a continuing and appropriate honor attached to it, an honor safeguarded from infringement by art exhibitions or memorials that honor others not related to 9/11.

    Recently, some editorialists and others have described the families as misguided for objecting to the Drawing Center and the Freedom Center, as being just one censorious group of 9/11 families who are few in number and intransigent in the belief that a memorial must be built that sustains their view of 9/11. How patronizing.

    Censorship is perhaps the greatest crime in New York's art world, and it is an unfair charge to attach to the 9/11 families. I am the founding chairman of the New York Academy of Art, and I would gladly donate to a new Drawing Center if it were placed across Church St., for the Drawing Center is a marvelous institution. There is a huge leap from guardianship to censorship, and I believe that the 9/11 families would also give what they could to support a new Drawing Center.

    The objecting families of 9/11 are not few in number, and there are more than a dozen 9/11 organizations that can be found at The families are right to fight against the placement of the Drawing Center and the Freedom Museum at the site of Ground Zero - the usurpation of their honored field. The political leaders and the boards of the involved organizations and committees should see that the families will have the support of all Americans when they determine to ask for it. Right now they are maintaining discipline in their intelligent and prudent opposition. But I don't think there is much time left to resolve this matter.

    Smith's latest book, "San Francisco Is Burning," will be published next month.

    Originally published on August 2, 2005

    All contents © 2005 Daily News, L.P.

  15. #105

    Default New York Post "Freedom" Center Editorial

    From this morning's (August 2, 2005) New York Post:

    August 2, 2005 -- After its high-minded defense of "freedom of speech" regarding the debate at Ground Zero, you'd think The New York Times might be a tad less ham-handed in its efforts to silence those who disagree with it.

    "Critics of the cultural plan at Ground Zero" say the site "must contain no facilities 'that house controversial debate, dialogue, artistic impressions or exhibits referring to extraneous historical events,' " a Times editorial huffed last week.

    "This, to us, sounds un-American."

    Now, if we were less high-minded ourselves, we might take that personally. That's because we've been in the forefront of efforts to ensure that the site where the War on Terror began for so many Americans is not politicized.


    We certainly agree that unfettered "dialogue" and freely expressed "artistic impressions" are, well, as American as apple pie.

    But that's not what the Ground Zero debate is about.

    Rather, the question is whether it's appropriate to use land in the public trust, and public funds, to transform the very spot where the nation suffered the most devastating domestic attack in its history into a venue for debating whether the terrorists had a point.

    By all means, have the debate.

    But, please, just don't have it at Ground Zero.

    That is to say, please park the proposed International Freedom Center someplace other than Ground Zero.

    The center is the brainchild of some folks who think it'll be dandy to discuss — among other things — America's dirty laundry in public, on the public dime. Or, as one put it last spring, "the International Freedom Center will host debates and note points of view with which you, and I, will disagree."

    Once the heat was on, museum officials began talking out of both sides of their mouths, saying the facility would "never" feature exhibits that "denigrate" America — but also that "absolute guarantees" to that effect, as Gov. Pataki has demanded, are impossible.

    The honorable course is for the facility to bow out of the project — and find a home somewhere off-site.

    Freedom of speech would be preserved, but gratuitous insults to 9/11's dead — and the site where they died — would be avoided.

    This is the argument we and others, like Debra Burlingame (whose brother was the pilot of one of the hijacked planes on 9/11), have advanced — in the spirit of free and open debate about the future of the site.

    Doing so hasn't made us — and, especially, Burlingame — "un-American."

    And the readiness to hurl the term says more about the Times than it does about anyone else.

    Copyright 2005 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

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