"Towers of Light" given ok by Bloomberg
March 5, 2002 10:02 AM   Subscribe

"Towers of Light" given ok by Bloomberg "There's nothing we can do to bring back those we lost, but we have to make sure we have a way to remember". Towers of Light and a now-damaged sculpture called "The Sphere," which stood in the fountain of the trade center plaza, will form two temporary memorials.
posted by Mutha (11 comments total)
Does anyone have a link to a current picture of the Sphere? I found plenty of images of it before the disaster, but would like to see one of how it looks now.
posted by Irontom at 10:32 AM on March 5, 2002

Previously discussed on MetaFilter on September 17 and October 16.

The Sphere is an appropriate memorial, but the Towers of Light are still a little too Nazi Party rally for me.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:07 AM on March 5, 2002

This letter In today's New York Times sums it up well:

To Hell with all the vulgarian developers so eager to talk about, even while the site was still burning, building on the sight of the World Trade Center. A park is the only appropriate use of the terrain (or a memorial). And to Hell, all the cowardly politicians affraid to speak out against such development.

Let's start a movement of people and companies who promise never to work in offices built on the site. Who would want to work in such a place anyway?

You know, it's not like Lower Manhattan has a short supply of office space, or sites for new buildings: most of the district below City Hall is an architectural disaster; a maze of narrow streets with antiquated buildings where the sun hardly shines, even in summer.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:35 AM on March 5, 2002

Also previously discussed on MetaFilter on February 14.

Created in 1971 by artist Fritz Koenig, "The Sphere" was described in a press release as "a monument fostering world peace."

Oh, it was a monument to something, all right. Typically ugly early-70s steel/bronze in the middle of a typically bland early-70s concrete fountain. Nobody would be saving it if wasn't such a nonsubtle metaphor for Survival. Or Rebirth. Or Bad Taste. I couldn't find a post-9/11 photo of it either, though.

PP, the only reason Lower Manhattan really has any excess supply of office space is because so many people have left because of 9/11. The WTC constituted fully ten percent of the office space in Lower Manhattan; paving over that much of any normal city would decimate the local economy (no pun intended). In addition, much of lower Manhattan was utterly dependent on the WTC for its own business, both from WTC workers and the tens of thousands of tourists it brought down there every day. (And Battery Park City was BUILT purely to serve the WTC.) That entire section on Manhattan is now practically in a depression. To turn the WTC into a mere park will permanently hurt many thousands more people than were casualties of 9/11 itself. They MUST be rebuilt for the sake of the city. You can have a memorial AND new office space; they are not mutually exclusive possibilities. (We've been over all this in more detail in the three previous threads linked above, BTW.)

As for the rest of your comment: Don't take it personally, Paris, but are you KIDDING? Lower Manhattan is an incredibly dense mess, and is essentially one giant National Historical Monument. You're suggesting we rip out some of the oldest buildings and streets on the entire continent, so we can turn it into a bunch of criss-crossed, Midtown-style streets. Are you KIDDING?
posted by aaron at 12:12 PM on March 5, 2002

Double Check and The Sphere after the attacks. They say the Sphere in the fountain survived but it doesn't look too good from this picture anyway. I always liked the bronze of the man on the bench and he survived pretty well.
posted by Mutha at 12:13 PM on March 5, 2002

Actually, for once in my life I disagree with Aaron. Just back in 1994, Lower Manhattan had a 23% vacancy rate, resulting in the The Lower Manhattan Revitalization Plan (caution: link informative but dreadfully boring).

Evidently successful, vacancy was at an incredible 5.3% low in October 2000 (Silicon Alley, etc.), although it must be noted that it had already slid up to 8% vacancy in August, 2001. (purty graph here). I think Lower Manhattan was just starting to fall back into a major vacancy period. Now, as of January 2002, vacancy rates "doubled," and 17% vacancy is projected by some.

But goddam, that sculpture is ugly!
posted by RJ Reynolds at 1:05 PM on March 5, 2002

If there is anything that is certain about NYC, it is its ability to build over old memories. This city was founded on business and will do whatever it takes to continue that tradition. Whoever wrote that letter PP is simply altruistic (or naive) with regards to the rebuilding of lower Manhattan. There will be a memorial, but asking people to boycott the area is simply silly. It will not happen. NYC...Scorpion.

I like the idea of the two lights for the brief period. I also think that a tasteful memorial is in the works. Whatever ends up being there, I am sure that it is better than anything I could come up with.
posted by lampshade at 1:36 PM on March 5, 2002

Aaron: I am not refering to the occupancy depression due to 9/11, but that if you truly need more office space, there are more appropriate places to build, particularly since most of Lower Manhattan is not historic and consists of buildings with no aesthetic or historical value. Most buildings downtown are neither historic nor desirable. But even if this were not the case, building on a grave yard would be wrong.

As for talking about "gridding" Lower Manhattan, I never suggested such a thing; only that 20 and 30 story buildings on very narrow streets is awful. On the other hand, the current plans for the WTC include restoring the pre-existing grid.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:19 PM on March 5, 2002

ParisParamus, do you have a link to the current plans, I would be interested in taking a look
posted by ajayb at 2:57 PM on March 5, 2002

Most buildings downtown are neither historic nor desirable.

That's what they said about the old Penn Station, a gorgeus Beaux-Arts terminal, before they tore it down and built Madison Square Garden on top of it. Every building has a history, and every neighborhood that was ripped apart for "development," whether for highways or for some corporate monolith, essentially got destroyed. The WTC replaced a small neighborhood where people actually lived.
posted by panopticon at 12:10 AM on March 6, 2002

panopticon. No. All old buildings are not Penn Station. And no one lives in the buildings I'm thinking of.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:18 AM on March 6, 2002

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