9/11: The Winners
September 1, 2011 7:46 AM   Subscribe

9/11: The Winners, an account of the people, companies, charities, and agencies, that have profited from September 11 attacks.
posted by Bulgaroktonos (113 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
From the article:

Glenn Corbett, a professor of fire science at John Jay College, active in a range of 9/11 issues, puts it this way: "Lots of people have got their hand in the till. A lot of people and a lot of companies have made a lot of money off of 9/11." Is it sacrilege to point this out?

FUCK NO, IT ISN'T.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:50 AM on September 1, 2011 [26 favorites]


How American firms profited from torture flights (rendition flights).
posted by Rumple at 7:52 AM on September 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


is number one Iran?
posted by The Whelk at 7:52 AM on September 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Empress, I loved that quote if only for the phrase "professor of fire science." It sounds like the "dream job" that some angry 15 year old put on a form their guidance counselor made them fill out.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:55 AM on September 1, 2011 [23 favorites]


The non-mobile version of Rumple's link: How US firms profited from torture flights
posted by papercrane at 7:57 AM on September 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


The 9/11 profit-grab will always and forever be encapsulated for me by the dude I saw on the train wearing a baseball cap with the (standing) towers on it that read GROUND ZERO in big letters.

I really, really do not understand the people to whom this is some sort of shocking news (not not here, at least not yet). Yes, it is fucking awful, just like and and all war and disaster profiteering is awful. But is anyone surprised? Really?
posted by griphus at 8:01 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


nor is it sacrilege to point out how much the survivors and their families profited. Millions of dollars just because your spouse died is obscene especially when compared to all those who died on 9/10 or 9/12. And of course add to that amount the vast sums paid for speeches, books, interviews, donations, and more. Vincent Forras has a HUGE number of fellow people digging into that till.
posted by 2manyusernames at 8:01 AM on September 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


They should have started by listing Bush and Cheney and Giuilliani.
posted by Obscure Reference at 8:02 AM on September 1, 2011 [18 favorites]


nor is it sacrilege to point out how much the survivors and their families profited. Millions of dollars just because your spouse died is obscene especially when compared to all those who died on 9/10 or 9/12. And of course add to that amount the vast sums paid for speeches, books, interviews, donations, and more. Vincent Forras has a HUGE number of fellow people digging into that till.

I agree completely, and remember also the political influence that the families of victims have arrogated to themselves or had dumped on them.
posted by grobstein at 8:03 AM on September 1, 2011


Graham Rayman keeps writing articles about 9/11. I wonder if he gets paid for them...
posted by weinbot at 8:06 AM on September 1, 2011


Graham Rayman keeps writing articles about 9/11. I wonder if he gets paid for them...

There's a difference between writers and historians continuing to examine the impact the event had on the rest of the world, and a Long Island vinter developing a line of $19.11 commemorative fucking merlot.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:10 AM on September 1, 2011 [21 favorites]


Americans eager to donate after the 9/11 terrorist attacks poured a reported $1.5 and $2.2 billion into hundreds of charities that had quickly set up 9/11-related funds. Last week, an AP investigation revealed that some 9/11 charities were either "bogus," or "failed miserably." As a result, two states, New York and Arizona, have announced investigations.

Charity Navigator commemorates the anniversary by looking at 9/11 Funds to see how they're doing.
posted by zarq at 8:14 AM on September 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: "developing a line of $19.11 commemorative fucking merlot."

What kills me is it's ENDORSED BY THE MEMORIAL!
posted by zarq at 8:16 AM on September 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


$19.11 commemorative fucking merlot.

It's a wine you'll never forget.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:16 AM on September 1, 2011 [12 favorites]


$19.11 commemorative fucking merlot.

of all the things I hate about this, it's that 1 in front of the 9 I hate the most.
posted by The Whelk at 8:16 AM on September 1, 2011 [44 favorites]


What kills me is it's ENDORSED BY THE MEMORIAL!

And to add insult to injury, it's merlot.

{kidding}
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:18 AM on September 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm not saying that Rayman isn't somewhat right. There are many people who are shamelessly profiting off the dead, including the street hawkers selling disaster porn books to tourists outside my office at this very moment. The Merlot was especially ridiculous, especially since it was actually okayed by the Memorial folks.

But do we have to confuse salaried employees of a charitable organization with people selling 9/11 junk on eBay? Are we really begrudging Skanska Construction for making a profit off of their reconstruction work? Should they be working for free?
posted by weinbot at 8:19 AM on September 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: " And to add insult to injury, it's merlot."

Man, I love that scene.

Coulda been worse, I guess. Could have been something light and celebratory like champagne.
posted by zarq at 8:20 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd also like to point out that Rayman keeps interviewing the same few people over and over again for his 9/11 articles, except this time he managed to throw in noted liar and conspiracy theorist, William Rodriguez.
posted by weinbot at 8:22 AM on September 1, 2011


What about insurance companies now excluding terrorism and charging an additional premium for terrorism to be covered?
posted by Hoopo at 8:22 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would find a commemorative beer less irritating, somehow.
posted by elizardbits at 8:22 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


But do we have to confuse salaried employees of a charitable organization with people selling 9/11 junk on eBay?

I think charities are a weird gray area; there's a weird tipping point with many of them, where if more than a certain percentage of the donations to the organization goes to paying salaries, then...people wonder whether their donations are actually doing anything, or whether they're just supplementing those salaries instead. What I mean is, if you collect $100 in donations and only $5 of that goes to the people you're claiming to help and you get a salary of $95, it looks...funky.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:23 AM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


But yeah, my foaming rage is more for the commemorative toilet plunger kind of crap. Because you KNOW the people who buy up reams of that stuff are the same people who tried to kill the First Responders Health Care Bill.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:25 AM on September 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


You're supposed to make lemonade, not merlot.
posted by Obscure Reference at 8:25 AM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos, I understand what you're saying, but if a charity exists to give speeches or provide outreach, shouldn't the majority of the operating expenses go toward salaries?
posted by weinbot at 8:26 AM on September 1, 2011


I'd swear I first started seeing these Yankee Doodle Donuts at work around a 9/11 anniversary.
posted by nomisxid at 8:27 AM on September 1, 2011


if a charity exists to give speeches or provide outreach, shouldn't the majority of the operating expenses go toward salaries?

I'm not so sure that an institution that exists to give speeches could accurately be described as "a charity".

And could you clarify what you mean by "providing outreach"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:28 AM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


zarq: EmpressCallipygos: "And to add insult to injury, it's merlot."

Man, I love that scene.


Me too! The devaluation effect it's singlehandedly had on many decent-to-excellent merlots means I can get some great wines for a song.
posted by gilrain at 8:30 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Alphonso currency illustration is awesome.
posted by bz at 8:32 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seems to me that the terrorists whose goal was to destroy American society have done best of all.

11 guys with box-cutters and big balls did more in one day than the entire Soviet Empire did in half a century.
posted by three blind mice at 8:32 AM on September 1, 2011 [16 favorites]


weinbot: "Are we really begrudging Skanska Construction for making a profit off of their reconstruction work?"

When a construction company is lobbying politically for this city's hard working poor and middle-class to pay the bill for the memorial they're building because they have not been able to come in under or on budget, then yes. Absolutely yes.

Especially since (as the article reports,) the memorial is millions of dollars over-budget and will be highly expensive to maintain compared to say, the Vietnam Memorial.

No way should they be above reproach. No way in hell. They cheered at a Port Authority fare hike announcement because a fare hike meant they could continue to bilk us.
posted by zarq at 8:34 AM on September 1, 2011 [10 favorites]


@three blind mice

sure, but the soviets didn't have heart
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:39 AM on September 1, 2011


And could you clarify what you mean by "providing outreach"?

No, I couldn't. Because I don't provide outreach nor do I require outreach. Maybe you (or maybe the author of this fucking childish article) could ask them if they are acting in good faith before assuming that they're not.
posted by weinbot at 8:41 AM on September 1, 2011


to pay the bill for the memorial they're building

Really? Blame Skanska? And what numbskulls decided they needed to build a memorial?
posted by three blind mice at 8:43 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe you (or maybe the author of this fucking childish article) could ask them if they are acting in good faith before assuming that they're not.

....I assumed you took it as read that I don't have any individual particular charity in mind that I'm shunning. In fact, I clarified that my rage was more about the commemorative wine kind of crap. So why are you so pissed off at me?

And, in fact, the reason I asked you to clarify what YOU meant by outreach was because I DO know what it is -- it's an information-distribution kind of thing. And the companies that provide such outreach don't solicit donations directly from the public, in my experience, and so are not of the category of folks that most people in here are crabbing about anyway.

So since we're talking about people who are assuming other people aren't acting in good faith...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:46 AM on September 1, 2011


And what numbskulls decided they needed to build a memorial?

Everyone and immediately. It was a huge loss of office space, so they had to get the wheels in motion to get it back, and you can't just build on top of that without a memorial so there you go.

(Also, if you haven't been in NYC for a while: ten years later, it's still a ditch.)
posted by griphus at 8:46 AM on September 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos, I'm not mad at you, I'm mad at the article and its author.
posted by weinbot at 8:50 AM on September 1, 2011


I'm a lifelong Oregonian, and to this day I've never been to New York. I was a freshman in high school when I watched 9/11 on television, 3 hours behind because of the time difference. It seemed like it happened in another country then and now. The loss of life on that day was tragic, but people die all the time. I don't want permanent remembrance of that day - now, 10 years later, I want to forget.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 8:52 AM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm a lower Manhattanite, and I think the museum is ridiculous.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:56 AM on September 1, 2011


three blind mice: " Really? Blame Skanska? And what numbskulls decided they needed to build a memorial?"

The PA lied to its customers about the need for a fare hike. The only reason they wanted to raise fares was because the Ground Zero memorial project was a sinkhole.

Skanska's job is to build to spec, on time and within the budget given. If keeping within those constraints wasn't possible, they shouldn't have lobbied the PA, local politicians or anyone else to hike fares. That's not their role or responsibility. Add in the fact that the PA didn't disclose why they needed the funds, and the situation begins to look very much like a conspiracy to defraud the public.
posted by zarq at 8:59 AM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


(Also, if you haven't been in NYC for a while: ten years later, it's still a ditch.)

When it happened, I thought for certain the towers would be rebuilt, damn near overnight. I figured the testosterone would kick in and by the next summer there would be a huge structure there again. It has always surprised me that there is still nothing there. It seems so counter to how a lot of Americans react to things.

I don't want permanent remembrance of that day - now, 10 years later, I want to forget.

You might want to put on headsets and grab your favorite films from the library. It has already started and it's going to get really, really thick.
posted by cashman at 9:01 AM on September 1, 2011


cashman, griphus:

Here is a photo taken by me, out my window, about 10 minutes ago.

When is the "Ground Zero is still just a hole in the ground" meme going to stop?
posted by weinbot at 9:06 AM on September 1, 2011 [16 favorites]


You might want to put on headsets and grab your favorite films from the library. It has already started and it's going to get really, really thick.

Yeah, I figured there was a reason I was crankier than usual today.


(One of my dear friend's birthdays is 9/10. I'm going to propose that we turn the entire weekend into R'S THREE-DAY BIRTHDAY BASH-O-RAMA EPIC BLOWOUT because that way we can all be thinking of something entirely different.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:06 AM on September 1, 2011


weinbot: " When is the "Ground Zero is still just a hole in the ground" meme going to stop?"

The Towers haven't been rebuilt. The skyline hasn't been restored. I think that's what people are expecting.
posted by zarq at 9:10 AM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Skanska's job is to build to spec, on time and within the budget given. If keeping within those constraints wasn't possible, they shouldn't have lobbied the PA, local politicians or anyone else to hike fares.

To be fair, although they toured with Operation Ivy, their musical income never really amounted to much, so they had to turn to construction.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:10 AM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here is a photo taken by me, out my window, about 10 minutes ago. When is the "Ground Zero is still just a hole in the ground" meme going to stop?

Are there multiple 20+-story buildings in that shot that I'm missing? In my comment I was saying that I am surprised people (in power) didn't get all testosteroney and build the towers or some other huge structure right back, within a year. Here it is 10 years later, and there is still no building of note there. It's just surprising to me, that's all. I honestly thought that 10 years later, there would be a colossus of some sort there.
posted by cashman at 9:12 AM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


When is the "Ground Zero is still just a hole in the ground" meme going to stop?

When that photo isn't representative of what should've been there on 9/1/2003.
posted by griphus at 9:12 AM on September 1, 2011


I don't have as much of a problem with Giuliani making money off of making speeches, writing a book, and forming a firm that helped Mexico with its crime problem. Sounds to me like he made inspirational speeches that got people moving, realized he had a talent for leadership, and capitalized off of that.

But the companies that took huge subsidies to put their offices in the new building--that's obscene. No, they didn't have to build in Manhattan. But the cachet of that address is certainly going to be beneficial in terms of PR, and no one should have to pay them for building themselves new offices there.

And, as already mentioned by Empress and others, the "commemorative" stuff is obnoxious as well, especially since a lot of it is just crap to begin with.

I remember that the same thing happened when Obama was elected and all this commemorative inauguration merchandise came out to take advantage of people. And it was a huge deal to have our first African-American President, so it's doubly a shame that some gullible people who wanted to celebrate that got fleeced by con artists on a grand scale.
posted by misha at 9:13 AM on September 1, 2011


cashman, Tower 1 is currently 950 feet tall.
posted by weinbot at 9:14 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


But thanks for posting the photo. Neat.

For several years, my brother-in-law used to stay at the Millennium Hotel across from Ground Zero while traveling for business. I used to visit, and we'd stare out his windows at the area below. This was when the area was boarded up and ground-level visitors couldn't see inside. It's been a while since I've seen it from that perspective. I used to walk though the WTC lobby every once in a while, walking from the subway to other points in the area. Even reconstructed, it's still sobering.
posted by zarq at 9:14 AM on September 1, 2011


EmpressCallipygos: " Yeah, I figured there was a reason I was crankier than usual today."

Can we offer you a cheap merlot?
posted by zarq at 9:15 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


cashman, Tower 1 is currently 950 feet tall.

Oh, okay. It's still under construction? That's so weird to me.
posted by cashman at 9:17 AM on September 1, 2011


I think the whole issue of "they should have started to rebuild sooner" may be a red herring, folks -- don't forget that the issue of a) the fact that the site was an active crime scene for quite some time, and b) construction of any multi-story skyscraper probably takes a good hell of a while in New York even under the best of circumstances.

What I mean is, all the testosterone in the world still has to comply with the Byzantine zoning regulations, the legnthy design process, the construction delays, etc. that exist. There WAS no way that something was going to be all finished and done by 9/1/03; it just plain wasn't a realistic expectation.

Whether the powers that be were delayed in STARTING the process is something I'm also not equipped to comment on.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:18 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Towers haven't been rebuilt.

Why would anybody in their right mind want to rebuild the Twin Towers? They collapsed. They failed. The world moves on, technology progresses, and designs become obsolete. It's the 21st century, and there's no need for us to be copying a design that was essentially completed in the lated 1940's. In terms of structural engineering, fire safety, real estate requirements, architectural style, and urban planning, the original WTC is hugely obsolete.

And if we updated all these things to match modern expectations, then it wouldn't be the original WTC anymore, would it?
posted by weinbot at 9:19 AM on September 1, 2011


Last month I was returning something to Michael's when I saw a large cardboard display of "Never Forget 9/11" stuff, including glassware and pom-poms. All I could do was shake my head.
posted by pinky at 9:19 AM on September 1, 2011


Why would anybody in their right mind want to rebuild the Twin Towers?

I took that as meant in a figurative sense, not a literal.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:22 AM on September 1, 2011


Correction:
9/11: The Winners

.

There are no winners with 9/11. We all lost something that day.
posted by Fizz at 9:24 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Come on, you know what should go there. A fucking arcology.
posted by TheRedArmy at 9:24 AM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: "I think the whole issue of "they should have started to rebuild sooner" may be a red herring, folks -- don't forget that the issue of a) the fact that the site was an active crime scene for quite some time,

The criminal investigation by the ME's office was ended in Feb 2005. The Deutsche Bank Building wasn't demolished until this year.

and b) construction of any multi-story skyscraper probably takes a good hell of a while in New York even under the best of circumstances."

Each of the original towers took only 2-3 years to build. Most construction in the city of skyscrapers still takes 1-3 years max, assuming no untoward delays.

The delays were more the result of politics, funding/finances and arguments over what to do with the site than anything else. Many survivor families objected to erecting skyscrapers on what was essentially on open grave. Etc.

posted by zarq at 9:26 AM on September 1, 2011


LATimes has a story about new areas of academic study resulting from 9/11.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:26 AM on September 1, 2011


Crap. HTML fail. Sorry.

That should read:

EmpressCallipygos: "I think the whole issue of "they should have started to rebuild sooner" may be a red herring, folks -- don't forget that the issue of a) the fact that the site was an active crime scene for quite some time,

The criminal investigation by the ME's office was ended in Feb 2005. The Deutsche Bank Building wasn't demolished until this year.

and b) construction of any multi-story skyscraper probably takes a good hell of a while in New York even under the best of circumstances."

Each of the original towers took only 2-3 years to build. Most construction in the city of skyscrapers still takes 1-3 years max, assuming no untoward delays.

The delays were more the result of politics, funding/finances and arguments over what to do with the site than anything else. Many survivor families objected to erecting skyscrapers on what was essentially on open grave. Etc.
posted by zarq at 9:27 AM on September 1, 2011


zarq, the initial planning of the World Trade Center during World War II. It finished construction in 1973. 30 years.
posted by weinbot at 9:28 AM on September 1, 2011


*started during World War II.
posted by weinbot at 9:29 AM on September 1, 2011


Fun fact: forgoing the usual pressing methods, the 9/11 vintners actually flew a plane full of grapes into a building to get that rich grave-pissing aroma captured in each bottle of 9/11 Merlot.
posted by dr_dank at 9:29 AM on September 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


The delays were more the result of politics, funding/finances and arguments over what to do with the site than anything else. Many survivor families objected to erecting skyscrapers on what was essentially on open grave.

Right, and my point was that some of those "politics" were actually not "political" as such. You say that the criminal investigation was ended in February 2005 -- so that meant that there's NO WAY things could have gotten going in time to complete by 2003.

I'm not making excuses so much as I'm pointing out that this was more of a complex situation than usual, and so back-and-forth arguments about whether something should have been there by such-and-such a date may not be taking the full picture into account.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:30 AM on September 1, 2011


There have been several midtown skyscrapers that are up and running now that were started way after 9/11/01. They don't take too long.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:32 AM on September 1, 2011


I don't get it. Are you trying to point out that there are two holes in the ground, not one? Or is there something else to that picture that I'm not catching? (Serious question, no snark. I'm not taking sides, just trying to understand)
posted by BurnChao at 9:32 AM on September 1, 2011


BurnChao - Those are the memorial fountains. People were claiming that nothing had been built on the site, and I provided that photograph to show that the entire Memorial Plaza had in fact been completed.

Keep in mind, on the left and right of that photo, you can see two enormous skyscrapers under construction.
posted by weinbot at 9:35 AM on September 1, 2011


There have been several midtown skyscrapers that are up and running now that were started way after 9/11/01. They don't take too long.

Yeah, but Midtown Manhattan wasn't considered to be an Active Crime Scene for 4 years, for one thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:38 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


weinbot, I didn't mean that literally. I don't think anyone is expecting the towers to be rebuilt exactly.

But yes, for some of us who grew up here, and especially some of us who grew up in Brooklyn or Queens and traveled into the city often, there's a hole in the skyline. Something missing.

weinbot: "zarq, the initial planning of the World Trade Center during World War II. It finished construction in 1973. 30 years."

The construction timeline for the old towers and the new ones is not comparable.

It originally took them a decade and a half to choose a site after the initial proposal. They didn't decide on one until '61. The Port Authority then had to buy and demolish buildings in the area, which was not completed until '65 and '66. The groundbreaking was in '66. Construction on Tower 1 only first began in 1968, after the various construction and supply companies had been awarded contracts. Tower 1 was finished in '70. Tower 2 in '71.

The Port Authority had an easier, quicker time of it this time. They knew where they were building. They owned the site. They didn't need to buy back and demolish old property. It was easier to award contracts. Etc., etc.
posted by zarq at 9:39 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


and so back-and-forth arguments about whether something should have been there by such-and-such a date may not be taking the full picture into account.

Note, there's no argument. There's no back and forth. I am surprised it has taken this long. Take that literally. It is not a backhanded swipe at any organization or politics or the area or anything else. I am surprised. I know there can be delays, I get that it was a crime scene for 4 years, I know. I am surprised because the way I felt after seeing all that had happened, and what people were saying, and seeing people who even "look" "middle eastern" get harrassed and or killed, I thought that any investigation would be sped up, it would be an all hands on deck situation with cleanup and construction, and there would be a bright, shiny building there as an FU to the idea that you could hit us and we "stay down". There was a lot of desire to come back in those times. Flags waving, bumper stickers, people mad, people throwing their money at anything 9-11. I thought for sure that would carry over into the site where it happened, in the form of a new building, built pretty quickly because of a wealth of resources and the anger of the people of the united states.
posted by cashman at 9:40 AM on September 1, 2011


Yeah, but Midtown Manhattan wasn't considered to be an Active Crime Scene for 4 years, for one thing.

I'll take your four years, and raise you one more: 11 Times Square.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:43 AM on September 1, 2011


Yeah, but Midtown Manhattan wasn't considered to be an Active Crime Scene for 4 years, for one thing...

Which brings us to 2005. Meanwhile, that doesn't all the non-construction-related things from happening: design, accounting, etc. Yeah, you can't pinpoint it to an hour and a day but 10+ years to put up two buildings is ridiculous any way you slice it.
posted by griphus at 9:43 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Doesn't keep all the..."

I accidentally the verb.
posted by griphus at 9:44 AM on September 1, 2011


Note, there's no argument. There's no back and forth.

Fair enough. It just sounded like it was getting a little tense in here, with a lot of "but, it only takes 3 years...." "But there is something there now..." back and forth.

Which I also see I'm contributing to, so I'm going to go back to slagging the commemorative merlot. Because, seriously.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:46 AM on September 1, 2011


Well, it seems there is now, but it's not me.
posted by cashman at 9:48 AM on September 1, 2011


Thanks for the clarification, weinbot.

Looking at that photo now, with the understanding that the memorial is complete and the construction going on all around (looks even more construction in the foreground of the photo also), It's pretty amazing. I'd think they'd be able to build a whole lot faster if that memorial wasn't there yet (was just an empty lot). Seems like the are forced into a situation that delays construction. (I understand the political and emotional reason for doing it in this order. Just seems like an unfortunate, but necessary, order of events)
posted by BurnChao at 9:48 AM on September 1, 2011


EmpressCallipygos: "Right, and my point was that some of those "politics" were actually not "political" as such. You say that the criminal investigation was ended in February 2005 -- so that meant that there's NO WAY things could have gotten going in time to complete by 2003.

Oh, we agree completely there. Also worth pointing out that some of the survivors' families are still objecting to various aspects of the memorial, including plans to place the remains of some victims in the Memorial museum. Which they originally agreed to, but now characterize as 'ghoulish,' most likely because they're seeing that the Museum is more exploitative than expected.

I'm not making excuses so much as I'm pointing out that this was more of a complex situation than usual, and so back-and-forth arguments about whether something should have been there by such-and-such a date may not be taking the full picture into account."

Agree there too.
posted by zarq at 9:54 AM on September 1, 2011


misha: "I don't have as much of a problem with Giuliani making money off of making speeches, writing a book, and forming a firm that helped Mexico with its crime problem. Sounds to me like he made inspirational speeches that got people moving, realized he had a talent for leadership, and capitalized off of that."

It was fine until he ran for President while saying "9/11" every 10 words in a desperate attempt to capitalize on the tragedy. Also, his foreign policy team was like a who's who of Islamophobic neocon hawks: Pipes, Podhoretz, Hill, Rubin and Frum.
posted by zarq at 10:07 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was fine until he ran for President while saying "9/11" every 10 words in a desperate attempt to capitalize on the tragedy.

"There's only three things Giuliani says in a sentene: a noun, a verb, and '9/11'." -- Joe Biden, 2008
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:10 AM on September 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I just want to say something regarding the logistical nightmare of building the World Trade Center:

First of all, “ground level” is about 80 feet below street level. This means that every bucketful of excavated dirt, every hunk of dynamited stone, and every piece of construction debris had to be piled into dumpsters and hauled up to the street and then dragged away through the streets of Manhattan. The Memorial Plaza – which is at street level - is essentially the roof of an 80 foot tall building. The bottoms of those waterfalls are still about 50 feet above the ground.

Then there’s the matter of cranes. You needed to erect cranes at street level in order to lower crane parts so that you could erect more cranes at the bottom level of the pit. Sometimes, the cranes that you could build at the bottom level of the pit actually weren’t big enough, so you needed to use the cranes you had to erect even bigger cranes. The largest crane on site was a Manitowac 18000, which had something like 25 pieces, was 320 feet tall, and weighed about 600,000 lbs.

Now, when the original WTC was being built, the river was right next door. Huge segments of structural steel (particularly the prefabricated panels for the exterior shell of the towers) could just be barged onto the site. The more work that gets done off site, the quicker you can assemble the pieces on site. But when they built Battery Park City (basically by taking the soil excavated from the WTC and pushing it into the Hudson, no hauling upwards and through city streets), the river access to the WTC was cut off. Nowadays, there are tens of millions of square feet of homes and office space between the current World Trade Center site and the Hudson River.

This means that everything has to be trucked in. Every single piece of steel for this gargantuan project has to be small enough to fit on a truck that can be maneuvered through the streets of Lower Manhattan. I cannot even tell you how many construction problems could have been avoided if certain steel components of the project had been able to be shop-fabricated. Tens of thousands of feet of welding could have been done in the shop, except for the fact that the resulting steel components just wouldn’t be able to get to the site. Field welding takes longer, requires more certification, and is generally a crummier and more annoying process. This isn’t a normal construction process like some typical office building in Midtown. The train station and memorial in particular require huge custom-made steel pieces that would have been so much easier just to barge to the site if that were still possible.

Now let’s talk about concrete. Starting at the moment the mix enters your truck, you have 90 minutes to get it on site and where it needs to be. Otherwise it’s a total loss. That means that you need to get from the plant in the Bronx or Queens into Manhattan, then somehow through the nightmare tangle of traffic in Lower Manhattan, and into a queue of other trucks waiting to get on site. Factory to formwork – 90 minutes. Take a look at a map of Lower Manhattan, and try to figure out the best way to get load after load of concrete trucks onto site without disrupting traffic patterns (too much). (Except we pretty much already commandeered Greenwich Street and Washington Streets to make de facto parking lots/queuing areas because there just isn’t anywhere else to go.)

Anyway I could keep talking about this forever but it all seems incredibly off topic. Obviously, legal wrangling and political posturing have delayed this project, but I’m just trying to point out that the actual work of construction is not easy. There are unique physical elements to this project that make it incomparable to the previous World Trade Center or to other projects in the city.
posted by weinbot at 10:11 AM on September 1, 2011 [60 favorites]


Empress, I remember that when The Daily Show covered it, they said Giuliani had contracted "9/11 Tourette Syndrome." Decidedly un-PC, but a vivid image.
posted by zarq at 10:14 AM on September 1, 2011


weinbot: " Now, when the original WTC was being built, the river was right next door. Huge segments of structural steel (particularly the prefabricated panels for the exterior shell of the towers) could just be barged onto the site. The more work that gets done off site, the quicker you can assemble the pieces on site. But when they built Battery Park City (basically by taking the soil excavated from the WTC and pushing it into the Hudson, no hauling upwards and through city streets), the river access to the WTC was cut off. Nowadays, there are tens of millions of square feet of homes and office space between the current World Trade Center site and the Hudson River."

Fascinating! Thanks for explaining. :)
posted by zarq at 10:18 AM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


www.911wienerorwinner.com

(you don't have to say the www)
posted by dirigibleman at 10:24 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Factory to formwork – 90 minutes.

Considering that there are portable batching plants, it would seem a bit crazy not to set one up on-site for exactly this reason. Then it is portland cement, aggregate, and sand you are trucking in all of which can tolerate traffic delays.
posted by localroger at 10:25 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why do we care how long it took them to get started with construction, they are making amazing progress now, tower 1 is already the tallest building in lower Manhattan. In the life span of a building that will hopefully be there for hundreds of years a few years to get started is nothing.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:27 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Considering that there are portable batching plants, it would seem a bit crazy not to set one up on-site for exactly this reason.

I would suspect that figuring out where to park such a thing would be a challenge.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:28 AM on September 1, 2011


People are complaining about the oncoming oversaturation due to the anniversary, but I'm surprised how little it's being mentioned. I'm not talking about TV or radio, since I rarely watch/listen to either (yes I do own a TV). Even the usual rah rah America! suspects on Facebook have been pretty quiet.

I think people are disheartened. We thought we'd have a memorial by now. We thought Iraq and Afghanistan would be over by now. We thought the security theater would have ended or scaled back by now. Instead it doesn't feel much different than the last seven anniversaries. It doesn't feel like a big deal at all anymore.
posted by desjardins at 10:34 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


localroger, I know what you're saying about portable batching plants, but I don't think that was ever an option. The requirements for certifying a concrete batching plant are pretty crazy as it is, so I don't even know how that would apply to something temporary or portable.
posted by weinbot at 10:35 AM on September 1, 2011


desjardins, we do have a memorial.
posted by weinbot at 10:36 AM on September 1, 2011


Yes, excuse my ignorance. I was under the impression that it wasn't finished.
posted by desjardins at 10:40 AM on September 1, 2011


FWIW, the Flight 93 Memorial is not complete yet either. I assume that the politics of the construction are similar, but it's in the middle of a field, not the financial district.
posted by librarianamy at 11:00 AM on September 1, 2011






If for no other reason, I'm glad that this thread exists because it led me to weinbot's explanation of some of the complications of such a construction project in such a location. That is simply something I never even though of, and it's fascinating. And also, the photo of the reconstruction. I had no idea the memorial garden was done, or that so much of that first tower had been built already. Last (and only) time I was in NYC was back in 2007, and definitely much progress has been made since then. Cheers, weinbot.
posted by antifuse at 12:22 PM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


How Charity Navigator rates charities.

While their metric is not perfect for some the organizations in the article which are described as charities but have nebulous missions, spending the vast majority of your donor's money on executive salary isn't very ethical.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:28 PM on September 1, 2011


One of my dear friend's birthdays is 9/10. I'm going to propose that we turn the entire weekend into R'S THREE-DAY BIRTHDAY BASH-O-RAMA EPIC BLOWOUT because that way we can all be thinking of something entirely different.

My birthday is 9/10. I'm thinking a weekend of camping might be just the thing.

Weird but true: my sister's birthday is 12/6. I think the first thing either of us said to each other the first time we talked after that was: "wow, now we have something else in common."

posted by epersonae at 12:39 PM on September 1, 2011


Oh but there’s more!

The PATH Train swoops through the site. Underneath all the Memorial Plaza stuff is four tracks of a very active rail line. Commuters need to be able to come in and out of their trains at all hours, and the Port Authority is very hesitant to shut down a single track, much less several of them. Passengers have to be shielded from the construction because you can’t exactly have Joe Commuter burning his eyes by looking at a weld or getting hit in the head by a dropped bolt. This means that within the roof of the current PATH Station is another temporary roof, designed to withstand the loads of potential construction debris.

Cutting the site in half (somewhat visible in my photo above) is the MTA #1 subway line, running north/south roughly along Greenwich Street. Keep in mind, the bottom of the WTC pit is so deep that the subway actually becomes an elevated train when it cuts through. When you’re at the bottom of the pit, you can actually walk beneath the subway and hear the trains go rumbling through overhead. And don’t think for a minute that the MTA is going to let you disrupt service on the 1 line (because the MTA is pretty busy disrupting service on their own). (Also, running north-south to the immediate east of the site is the MTA’s R line. This is less of a problem, but still gets in the way.)

And then there’s the problem of finding a place for all the workers to eat and shit and piss and smoke. I can’t think of how many porta-potties are on site, or how often they must be emptied and cleaned. There are concessions stands, but I don’t think that many. Tower 1 is so tall that they figured it would just be easier to build a Subway sandwich shop at the top of the thing so the men don’t have to leave the building for lunch. They actually jack the Subway up as the building rises, meaning that right now you can get a Five Dollar Footlang 950 feet above the streets of Manhattan. One Liberty Plaza, Zucotti Park, and the corner of Vesey and Greenwich are often packed with smoking construction workers (because smoking is absolutely banned on site.) As they reenter the site, most of the security entrances make them get their eyeballs scanned.
posted by weinbot at 12:57 PM on September 1, 2011 [11 favorites]


I how relevant this is.. People prosper from everything, profit is what makes the world goes around, if the builders didn't get pay'd for clearning up af 9/11 then they would not have done it, in fact those builders did profit from the terror attack.
People want to prosper but that also what make the wheels spin.
posted by MarkusEllek at 1:08 PM on September 1, 2011


When the original WTC was constructed, there was huge demand for office space in Manhattan. In addition, interest rates were incredibly high by modern standards, so once you started building something you had to finish it fast.

Now there's a ton of extra empty office space in Manhattan, and interest rates are basically zero. So in addition to all the political wrangling, there's also just no real financial incentive to get the project done.
posted by miyabo at 1:28 PM on September 1, 2011


April 4, 1973

The twin towers debut as the tallest buildings in the world -at 1,368 and 1,362 feet and 110 stories each-- surpassing the height of the Empire State Building until the Sears Tower in Chicago, providing 10 million sq ft of office space was built. The ceremonial opening of the twin towers on this date marked seven years of construction, preceded by more than a decade's worth of planning that transformed 16 acres of Lower Manhattan into an international business hub.
posted by futz at 1:40 PM on September 1, 2011


"When the original WTC was constructed, there was huge demand for office space in Manhattan."

Not true. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Trade_Center#cite_ref-57

"Private real estate developers and members of the Real Estate Board of New York, led by Empire State Building owner Lawrence A. Wien, expressed concerns about this much "subsidized" office space going on the open market, competing with the private sector when there was already a glut of vacancies.[58][59]"
posted by rjc3000 at 1:57 PM on September 1, 2011


Mumford on the WTC.


"The chief function of the city is to convert power into form, energy into culture, dead matter into the living symbols of art, biological reproduction into social creativity."

-Mumford
posted by clavdivs at 2:06 PM on September 1, 2011


11 guys with box-cutters and big balls did more in one day than the entire Soviet Empire did in half a century.

I like that the article mentions the truthers. It's either 11 guys singlehandedly overcame the entire airspace defense and traffic control system with box cutters or Bush and Cheney were personally setting det. charges.
But screw all that finding accountability crap. You have your choice of "Fallen Heroes" or "Bush Knew" hats.
Go freedom.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:56 PM on September 1, 2011


Ferengi rule of acquisition #162
posted by Renoroc at 4:30 PM on September 1, 2011


Know who else is making a little extra scratch? All of these people. Me, I was just gonna do some content farm writing for my beer money, but it seems I haven't set my sights high enough.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:32 PM on September 1, 2011



Why would anybody in their right mind want to rebuild the Twin Towers? They collapsed. They failed. The world moves on, technology progresses, and designs become obsolete. It's the 21st century, and there's no need for us to be copying a design that was essentially completed in the lated 1940's. In terms of structural engineering, fire safety, real estate requirements, architectural style, and urban planning, the original WTC is hugely obsolete.


You know what, if the powers-that-be had decided to rebuild the towers exactly as per the original designs, I would have been perfectly fine with that. In fact, it would probably be my first choice on what to build. On the other hand, I'm not an urban planner, civil engineer, or anything like that. I've never even been to New York. But I think it would have sent the right sort of message to the world, and would surely have been cheaper than going to war in Iraq.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 4:53 PM on September 1, 2011




The fact that people were right back selling things around Ground Zero was, to me, a triumph of a certain kind of American, capitalist spirit.

Though I may be mixing up New York with Ankh-Morpork.

Anyway I bought two 9/11 shirts and Springsteen's The Rising album. It felt like something I needed to do.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:23 PM on September 1, 2011


They should have started by listing Bush and Cheney and Giuilliani.

Putting the Question to Dick Cheney
posted by homunculus at 12:12 AM on September 2, 2011


Rule # 47
Don't trust a man wearing a better suit than your own.
posted by clavdivs at 12:54 PM on September 2, 2011


None of this is surprising. The memorial at Pearl Harbor might as well be Disneyland the way tour companies, among others, continue to make money off of it. I would expect nothing less from the WTC memorial which should have just been turned into a grassy park with a statue and saved us all $20 billion.
posted by thorny at 6:21 PM on September 2, 2011


How Cheney is winning
posted by homunculus at 7:13 PM on September 2, 2011


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