Monday, November 17, 2008

The Rebuilding of Ground Zero, Part 53

The Port Authority has begun wrapping the exterior fencing of the Ground Zero site with new banners showing plans for the site, including the 9/11 Memorial, PATH transit hub, and the skyscrapers that will ring the site. At the same time, they've reduced traffic on Church Street by one lane to accommodate construction trucks moving in and out of the site.

At the same time, the form is taking shape for the 9/11 Memorial as the structural steel continues rising in the site around what will be the empty void marking where the Twin Towers once stood.
“To see the actual framing of the void is a major step in filling in the wound,” said Joseph C. Daniels, the president and chief executive of the memorial and museum, as he looked across ground zero on Oct. 31, toward the embryonic north pool and the pale-green steel framework that has begun to define the south pool, the site of 2 World Trade Center.

“This is the basic structure of the memorial,” Mr. Daniels said. “So it’s a big deal.”

The pools will eventually be at the bottom of two 28-foot-deep depressions in a landscaped and tree-filled plaza, marking the location of the twin towers, though not their exact outlines. (The pools will be 194 by 194 feet, or 13 feet shorter on each side than the trade center buildings.) The insides of these voids will be lined with waterfalls cascading into the pools at the bottom.

At plaza level, the names of all the victims of 9/11 and of the Feb. 26, 1993, trade center bombing will be inscribed on parapets around the perimeter of the pools.

It is not easy at first to make out the shape of the north pool’s corner against a backdrop of heavy construction, but once spotted, it is impossible to overlook. The best public viewing place is the Liberty Street pedestrian bridge, where large windows offer a commanding view of the site.

The corner of the north pool is composed chiefly of two great beams arranged perpendicularly atop a more slender steel framework. One is 52 feet long and 44 inches deep and weighs 13,104 pounds. The other is 72 feet long and 40 inches deep and weighs 42,696 pounds.
Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg is finally funding the deconstruction efforts at Fiterman Hall. He's putting $139 million towards that effort, which is a long time coming. The eyesore has been looming over the gleaming new plaza in front of 7WTC for far too long and is the first thing that people see when coming out of the temporary PATH station at Greenwich and Vesey.
The mayor announced the city would put up $139 million as part of an agreement with the state to fund the much-delayed reconstruction job at the building at the northern edge of Ground Zero.

For months, the city had balked at helping to finance the project, citing demolition and construction costs that have doubled to $325 million.

Fiterman Hall, a Borough of Manhattan Community College structure, had just undergone a major renovation when it was badly damaged in the 2001 World Trade Center attack.

The condemned building is being cleaned of toxins caused by the collapse of the adjacent 7 WTC, a job that should be completed by early next year.
There is absolutely no reason that the deconstruction efforts should have taken so long and for the costs to have risen as they have because the City and State dragged their feet on demanding that CUNY take decisive action rather that wait for someone else to bail them out of having to make the necessary decisions. It was clear years ago that Fiterman Hall would have to be razed, and yet no one in CUNY or the Mayor's office appeared interested in acting.

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