Proposal for a 9/11 Memorial.
February 14, 2002 12:41 PM   Subscribe

Proposal for a 9/11 Memorial. Two piers: one points toward the Statue of Liberty, the other toward Ellis Island. From the air they look like a fallen WTC. Some might call this ingenious.
posted by xowie (33 comments total)
I call it a marine hazard. The waterways around Manhattan are of extreme importance to the NYC economy; they're not going to block off a quarter-mile of sealanes (in the busiest section of town, aqua-wise) for a piece of artwork. Interesting concept, but utterly unworkable.
posted by aaron at 12:50 PM on February 14, 2002

My .02: Give it a few years. Good memorials need a little time involved for perspective.
posted by ColdChef at 12:51 PM on February 14, 2002

I like the design, which transposes 3D to 2D, vertical to horizontal, sky to water, light to dark... And the translated scale of the buildings is awe-inspiring.

But I'm not sure we even need a memorial, especially not one so big. Remembering defeats is OK for Germany and Japan and maybe even for America in some cases, but I'm not sure what the message would be of a large memorial in this case.

And anyway, as ColdChef says, give it some time, there's no rush. A memorial probably is most meaningful when there is the risk of forgetting -- I don't think there's any chance of that anytime soon.
posted by Turtle at 1:14 PM on February 14, 2002

Personally, I found the plywood wall with posters of missing loved ones to be the most powerful instant memorial I have ever seen (on TV at least).
posted by srboisvert at 1:17 PM on February 14, 2002

Some might say it looks like a duck's head.

I would also like to see an environmental impact study.
posted by mischief at 1:18 PM on February 14, 2002

Some might call it a clever way to move the memorial away from prime business real estate so that another tower can be built.
posted by fleener at 1:24 PM on February 14, 2002

Jeez, you people are harsh! I really liked it. It reminds me of the Vietnam Memorial, not beautiful or schmaltzy, but a stark reminder of what happened.

It's probably unworkable, but I like the simplicity, honesty, and reality of it. It's the best one I've seen so far. (and gender, race, or job title doesn't have any impact on we know now is important!)
posted by aacheson at 1:29 PM on February 14, 2002

What's wrong with this memorial proposal? I thought that this one made a better statement.
posted by Sal Amander at 1:52 PM on February 14, 2002

The aerial one does look like a duck head. The one where you see it head on is almost creepy. Like you are seeing the shadow of something that is no longer there.

It wouldn't be memoralizing a defeat. It is to memoralize an event that shaped many lives and effected the entire world. Thinking along the lines of those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, there needs to be something to show the world what NYC has overcome.
posted by domino at 2:05 PM on February 14, 2002

Interesting, simple concept, but no way it would ever happen. It's absolutely a hazard to navigation - and not inexpensive. I mean, those are HUGE piers, you might as well just build a bridge to the statue of liberty. Plus, you're going to need shelters, bathrooms, plumbing, etc.
posted by groundhog at 2:10 PM on February 14, 2002

it doesn't look like it interrupts the water ways that drastically...

It seems like an interesting idea, so i can't place exactly why it doesn't really resonate with me. I guess just simple aesthetics is one thing. Also, having the towers 2D, flat, that you walk on top of, is a sad, weakening metaphor. i appreciate that they're "reaching out" to liberty & ellis islands, and the world, yadda yadda, but somehow there should be an element that inspires awe. Maybe it would in real life, hard to tell. They could always try it as a temporary structure.
posted by mdn at 2:19 PM on February 14, 2002

rebuild the buildings, these businesses still need offices. and put a big garden in the middle with a simple steel or stone wall.
posted by thirdball at 2:21 PM on February 14, 2002

Agreed Sal, the Towers of Light project is a great idea, though it is only planned as a temporary memorial, if I understand things correctly.

I do wonder if it would interfere with air navigation though...
posted by Rockames at 2:24 PM on February 14, 2002

Beautiful - simple - elegant - somber.
Towers of Light are beautiful too.
posted by davidmsc at 2:36 PM on February 14, 2002

Agreed Sal, the Towers of Light project is a great idea, though it is only planned as a temporary memorial, if I understand things correctly.

Maybe they could turn it on on the 11th of every month. It is my favorite idea so far.
posted by thirteen at 2:58 PM on February 14, 2002

The head-on shot reminds me of runway lights, pointing the pilot in the right direction just in case he forgot his M$ Flight Simulator training.
posted by mischief at 3:03 PM on February 14, 2002

Beautiful concept, i really appreciate the recitation of the names of the dead. By the time you reached the end, the names would be ringing in your head and overlapping, beginning to overwhelm your ability to take them in...
Now if he can retain the simplicity of it through city committees and finally implementation, that will be a miracle.

The port authority site seems to suggest that this proposal may be workable in relation to port traffic, as the main traffic source in the area seems to be from ferry boats
posted by ajayb at 3:11 PM on February 14, 2002

" ... Personally, I found the plywood wall with posters of missing loved ones to be the most powerful instant memorial I have ever seen (on TV at least)..."

Even more so in person. Walk past ground zero every morning, and to this day I'm still transfixed by it ... there is still a couple of plywood walls with pictures of the lost ... only every day a bit more gets added, as visitors from around the world write something small in rememberance after they've visited, or leave flowers, or pin some small momento. They are utterly unplanned, continually evolving memorials that somehow capture the starkest reminder of the true event - it is the faces of the people, not the damn buildings, that is the deepest loss ... the towers can be rebuilt ... the people are dead. And somehow the pictures of the people put up by relatives - many of them hastily copied from pictures at a Kinkos, or printed from a computer (when there was still a desperate hope that they'd be found) that is more powerful than any carefully constructed work of art could be. When those pictures are combined with the scrawled sentiments and little momentos left by the world streaming past it since 9/11, I think it produces just about the fullest possible picture of the entire emotional impact of both the event, and the response to the event.

I know it simply will not happen, but if I had my druthers, I wouldn't want to see a bit dramtic light show, or images on the water ... or any of the other dozen ideas I've seen floating around New York that all fixate on the Towers. Instead, I'd like to see buildings rebuilt - but right in the center of the plaza in front of where the WTC stood, where free summer concerts were played for the people from 60 or so countries that worked in those mighty towers ... in the center of that plaza I'd like a glass case that simply permanently enclosed those big sheets of plywood - with the emotions on them as raw and unfinished as the wood itself. Nothing else. No words, no explanation or pithy little phrases constructed by an ad firm and vetted through 35 government officials. Just the weatherbeaten pictures of the people that were lost, and the spontaneous responses of those who came by - each in their own way - to try to understand what happened.
posted by MidasMulligan at 3:19 PM on February 14, 2002

The mockup, non-overhead picture has a disclaimer that it's not to scale, BTW.
posted by smackfu at 3:21 PM on February 14, 2002

They look like landing strips.
posted by crunchland at 3:32 PM on February 14, 2002

the holy land preserved in glass. it's really the only suitable memorial.
posted by quonsar at 3:35 PM on February 14, 2002

Let's wait until we've started to forget before we look for ways to remember.

posted by Mars Saxman at 5:53 PM on February 14, 2002

Well said, Mars.

That is still Holy ground to many and perhaps will be forever. It's gonna have its share of ghosts (either literally or figuratively depending on your personal point of view) for generations to come. I've looked at many of these proposals, and none of them succeed in saying the one thing I think we all need to hear: Life Goes On. Move Forward.

A display which shows the two towers floating in the bay.. That just looks like we're finishing the terrorists jobs for them, displaying the corpses of the buildings for the world to see. Part of me wants to see the towers rebuilt as they were, perhaps incorporating anything we've learned in the twenty years since regarding architecture. We shouldn't make an identical replica. We can't bring the lives back, but rebuilding the towers much as they were would be the boldest statement we could make to the world: don't tread on us. It will be a waste of your time, and will only make us stronger.

They're working on a Memorial for World War Two now. Year after year we're losing the last men and women of that war still alive to old age. I question the details of the memorial, but now is the time for a war memorial. Now is the time when we risk forgetting. World War Two was quite a long time ago in the eyes of younger generations.

Building a memorial now for the attack on the WTC on 911 is premature. It has been less than a year. We're still cleaning the ground that was once where the towers stood, where those who perished in its collapse lost their lives. Even as you read these words there's still a crew of men and women working that area. I don't think we should build anything on or near that space for awhile. The nation is healing, but building a memorial now would be like picking at the scab. Let the memorial be what has survived. The ground itself. The expressions of affection and empathy left by those who flock to the place every day - let that be the memorial.

Give it time. When the time is right, there'll be no need for proposals and speculation: we'll know what to do.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:39 PM on February 14, 2002

It's grandiose in its own annoying way, navigationally unworkable (recall that the WTC was a building of the Port Authority, whose charter is to work to expand, not inhibit, trade), and among other things, the recitation of the names of the dead would have rather enormous gaps until you got to the "upper" (outer) stories.

I can't escape the sense that whatever is constructed will be necessarily much larger and self-important than the Oklahoma City Memorial -- which I'm pretty sure isn't a great idea. But with the WWII memorial proceeding apace we seem to be in an era of such overblown, imposing, even oppressive structures. Architecturally I dislike the trend. Culturally I suspect it.

Keep it simple. A quiet place away from the crowds, a list of names, plenty of room for wreaths and keepsakes. Don't turn it into a cathedral.

(fleener, I know you're trolling as usual, but you do recall that the WTC site is private property? and the leaseholder is under obligation to provide rent income.)

And yes, I say rebuild. Maybe not the same, but tall enough and bold enough to be a landmark again. We're angry, but we're not afraid.
posted by dhartung at 6:52 PM on February 14, 2002

what's to keep the tourists/rowdy kids from jumping off the edge of the pier/memorial and drowning in the wake of commercial shipping lanes?.
posted by sixtwenty3dc at 8:01 PM on February 14, 2002

Whatever it turns out to be, I give it three years before someone tries to rename it after Ronald Reagan.
posted by solistrato at 9:59 PM on February 14, 2002

I can't escape the sense that whatever is constructed will be necessarily much larger and self-important than the Oklahoma City Memorial...

I don't believe this is physically possible. The OKC Memorial is more than a memorial to what Tim McVeigh did; it is a memorial to the 1990s themselves: Designed by committee in an attempt to please everyone, thus pleasing no one. Monstrously oversized. Capital-S Symbolism everywhere you turn, carried out with sledgehammer-to-the-skull subtlety. It even has its own special area "For The Children!" It doesn't just feel your pain, it makes damn sure you know it does, and attempts to make you feel guilty for not being as caring as it is itself. It is the Memorial of Excessive Times.

If New York can't do any better than OKC, then let's just pave the site over and make a nice parking lot.
posted by aaron at 1:13 AM on February 15, 2002

Ridiculous. If you're going to build a structure that large, put something on it! This will require guards guarding nothing but a large number of public restrooms 24/7 just to keep people from leaping/falling off the edge and/or creating a constrant stream of trash into the waterway. Yeah, it's a memorial, but tourists are still messy inconsiderate bastards.
And what's all this about holy land and whatnot? It's a crater, not <expletive> Jerusalem. I can imagine the disruption to normal business when whatever is built there and people are making pilgrimages all the damn time.

As for the OKC memorial, I lived in OK when all that happened, and Aaron isn't too far off in his damning of the thing. My favorite part was the "Survivor Tree" which is on constant life support because its particular species isn't even supposed to grow in Oklahoma in the first place.
posted by Su at 3:15 AM on February 15, 2002

One hypothetical memorial (in the NY Times Magazine last September, I think) reminded me of all those photocopied pictures that sprang up around the city.

It proposed a rebuilt tower and a top floor given over to an observation deck, with the images of victims etched transparently into the glass of the windows. Visitors would look out onto the city and see all the faces.

I do think that as part of a museum or memorial, someone should collect and display as many of these proposed, unbuilt memorials. Such a collection would have more than just historical value.
posted by oddovid at 9:48 AM on February 15, 2002

Whatever it turns out to be, I give it three years before someone tries to rename it after Ronald Reagan.

LOL, but too true. The Florida Turnpike, formerly known as the "Sunshine State Parkway", was Reaganized a few years ago. If they had to rename it, you'd think they could find somebody the state of Florida.
posted by groundhog at 10:11 AM on February 15, 2002

It's tricky dealing with, in addition to the lives lost, the loss of such a symbolic facility -- as in, how do we honor the dead while still flipping the bird to terrorism?

Jonah Goldberg suggested "America will find an appropriate way to mourn. But if we must have a shrine or monument for our remorse, let's put it on the 200th floor, right next to the anti-aircraft guns."
posted by Tubes at 11:44 AM on February 15, 2002

It's tricky dealing with, in addition to the lives lost, the loss of such a symbolic facility -- as in, how do we honor the dead while still flipping the bird to terrorism?

The WTC had a rather large plaza, most of which was given over to a 1970s-generic concrete fountain with some hideous round brass "sculpture" in the middle of it. If they were to rebuild the WTC exactly as it was, as so many would like (including myself), they could just use that huge space for a memorial instead of another pigeon attracter.
posted by aaron at 12:48 PM on February 15, 2002

As I recall, the Towers collapsed: they didn't just fall over on their sides. This is myopic and self-serving, at best.
posted by nagchampa at 1:35 PM on February 15, 2002

« Older Where in the world is Neal Stephenson?   |   Never mind the judges Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments