Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Battle For Ground Zero, Part 74

Goldman Sachs broke ground yesterday on the $2.4 billion headquarters that will be build adjacent to the WTC complex. Some say that this will jumpstart the Lower Manhattan market. I'm not so sure. Building at Ground Zero, coupled with demolishing Fiterman Hall and the Deutsche Bank building, will jumpstart the market.

Meanwhile, a panel of reviewers of the 9/11 museum materials are concerned over just how explicit the displays should be.
A panel of citizens who volunteered to review proposals for a 9/11 memorial museum was split over how explicit exhibits of the attack should be, a report yesterday showed.
Some agreed that the events of the day should not be "sanitized" or "sugar-coated," while others felt that immersing visitors in the attack "would only elicit anger."

Museum planners proposed an alternate route through the museum that would bypass the most graphic displays.

Some relatives of those who died in the attack want the events of 9/11 shown without any punches being pulled.

The museum would include significant mangled pieces of the Twin Towers, rescue vehicles and other artifacts.
Are you kidding me? The whole point of the museum should elicit anger. Anger at those who committed such heinous acts - the Islamic terrorists who hijacked four planes and crashed two of them into the World Trade Center, destroying it and nearly 3,000 people in the process. If you aren't angered by the violence done to our fellow citizens on 9/11, something is wrong. If the museum pulls its punches on this point, something is wrong.

Do you honestly think that if someone designed a Holocaust museum, but left out all the important but gory details, like that the Nazis systematically sought to eliminate all the Jews from their dominion, created huge death camps specifically for that purpose, kept detailed records of their actions, and obtained huge stockpiles of clothes, possessions, gold pulled from the teeth of the dead, hair from the dead, and huge piles of shoes that would be acceptable?

If going to a Holocaust Museum, whether it is Yad Vashem in Israel or the US Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, and you weren't angered by what the Nazis did, the museum curators did something wrong. Sure, the exhibits will make you sad, cry, and feel the pain of those who died, but the exhibits should make you angry that more wasn't done to stop the genocide sooner. It should anger you at the inhumanity of man.

It should make you angry at the Nazis who committed such acts, and those that obediently followed such inhumane decisions.

A museum recounting the 9/11 terrorist attacks must focus on the inhumanity of those who committed the attacks. The purposeful attack on a civilian population that was designed to kill 10 times as many people as it did. And that this attack was part of a larger worldwide campaign against the US and Western values.

Elsewhere, Sen. Clinton branded a plan to test for pollutants released by the collapse of the towers as inadequate.
The feds yesterday unveiled a new plan to test buildings near Ground Zero for dangerous dust from the Twin Towers collapse — but Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton branded it inadequate.

It calls for testing the area south of Canal Street and west of Pike and Allen streets for asbestos, lead and other contaminants — and to clean up areas where too much dust is found.

But Clinton said the Environmental Protection Agency plan fails to deal with "major problems" because it doesn't include testing for possible contamination in homes and workplaces north of Canal Street or in Brooklyn.

Clinton also protested the EPA's plan to disband an expert panel on Dec. 13, before it has a chance to identify "unmet public health needs and recommend any steps to further minimize the risks associated" with 9/11's aftermath.
One problem is trying to determine what contamination was caused by the collapse of the towers, and what was already preexisting. The testing was to rely on one kind of chemical marker, but there is a dispute over whether that is sufficient, or even accurate.

In a related development to the ongoing issues at Ground Zero, the 9/11 Memorial in Shanksville, PA has been redesigned:
The new design for the memorial, to be built on the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, crash near Shanksville, features most of the details of the original, which was unveiled in September after a worldwide design competition.

But a round, bowl-shaped area would replace a ''Crescent of Embrace,'' a crescent-shaped cluster of maple trees.

In September, Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., criticized the design in a letter to the National Park Service Director, saying many questioned the shape ''because of the crescent's prominent use as a symbol in Islam -- and the fact that the hijackers were radical Islamists.''

Paul Murdoch, president of Paul Murdoch Architects, which designed the memorial, had called the criticism of the crescent an ''unfortunate diversion,'' but said they were sensitive to the concerns.

In both old and new versions of the design, a tower with 40 wind chimes welcomes visitors to the site, where they can then walk to a large circular field ringed by 40 groves of red and sugar maple trees, symbolizing the 40 passengers and crew who died. There will also be pedestrian trails, a plaza from which to view the crash site, and a white marble wall with the victims' names inscribed.

A link to the updated design can be found here.

Also noticing the changes to the Flight 93 9/11 memorial: Michelle Malkin, LGF, Flopping Aces.

A couple folks complain that the whole crescent kerfuffle was much ado over nothing. They include Froth Slosh B'Gosh and A Stitch in Haste. While a crescent is a perfectly valid architectural form, the particular shape used in the previous version was a near perfect match for the Islamic crescent. It's orientation on the site also appeared to link back to the city of Mecca.

Back at Ground Zero, Mayor Bloomberg seems determined on trying to undermine any progress made thus far on the master plan and rebuilding.
It's not that there's anything wrong with building new housing downtown or, for that matter, with the construction of new market-rate housing anywhere else in the city. But as the tragedy of Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn shows, once the "affordable housing" pressure groups and their allies in the Bloomberg administration get done chewing up and spitting out a proposed residential development in this city, the result is that private developers are forced to create new subsidized units. These create all the same problems that the state has been trying, however slowly, to phase out in rent-regulation in New York, such as empty-nesters holding on to absurdly under-priced three-bedroom apartments, landlords with little incentive to improve their properties, tenants with little incentive to move into the free market for housing, even if they can afford it.

No wonder that Mr. Silverstein is so far sticking to office space.

UPDATE 12/1/2005:
Error Theory suggests that the Islamic theme from the earlier design hasn't gone away, and that the memorial honors the memories of the hijackers as well as the victims:
There are still 44 translucent blocks on the flight path to the crash site, matching the total number of dead, instead of just the forty translucent blocks that are dedicated to the forty murdered Americans. Lastly, the Tower of Voices part of the memorial is still an Islamic prayer-time sundial.
There were four hijackers on board Flight 93. They murdered those 40 passengers and crew and should not be honored in any way, shape, or form. The only mention of their existence should come as a result of detailing their actions to murder those on board, and the plan to murder those on the ground at their intended target.

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