Inside the Political Struggle to Rebuild the World Trade Center

Monday, August 19, 2013

Elizabeth Greenspan talks about the tension between commerce and commemoration at the World Trade Center site. Plans to rebuild at the site often have been conflicting, and there have been disagreements over what the site should represent and what it should become. In Battle for Ground Zero: Inside the Political Struggle to Rebuild the World Trade Center, based on years of Greenspan’s reporting on Ground Zero for the Atlantic Monthly and other publications, she details the building of One World Trade Center.


Elizabeth Greenspan

Comments [11]

anna from new york

Conversation of barbarians. No one mentioned the fact that human ashes had been falling much further than two blocks and this religious center would be be on some ashes. Of course this means nothing to barbarians.

Aug. 25 2013 05:34 PM

The conversation this morning was interesting especially about the reactions concerning ownership, tourism, personal vs commerce. The WTC site, because it's a symbol is owned by the communal pysche, not just those who have ownership of the land and/or building (Silverman's lease, NYC Port Authority,etc) or can lease it in the future.

The Lower Manhattan organization I run, Dance New Amsterdam, moved to the area as part of the vision to revitalize and support the community. Since I work and live in the area, I am concerned about all that is Lower Manhattan and its relationship to revitalization from disasters (911 attacks and now Superstorm Sandy). Leonard asked questions which resonate beyond the WTC rebuild, it taps into the whole area. We continue to try and revitalize the area - initially there was support for businesses and NGO cultural organizations to come and rebuild and help develop the area, but there was little accounting for after the physical rebuild. Billions are being spent on the WTC site as one element of revitalizing the area.

The WTC rebuild is about memory as well as commerce - but for those who live and work in this area, it's about the whole community coming back to life. I hope the book touches on the community issues, and the wider picture. If not, it would be interesting to find out how the whole community has undergone revitalization, how support was allocated, and if the social concern for revitalization and regarding an earlier question from someone close to the issues at hand for NGO's has that social good concern been replaced by a commerce focused vision?

Aug. 19 2013 07:09 PM

TAGS: elizabeth greenspan ground zero new york city world trace center wtc

hey where's the editor? see above

Aug. 19 2013 04:44 PM
Gianluca Tramontana

I've been working with Catherine Peila who runs Dance New Amsterdam across from City Hall. They were one of the first cultural organizations to be invited to the area post 911 to help revitalize it. Like other Non-profits in the neighborhood, most of the long-term commitment moved from community building values to straight commerce. Is this a sign what is planned for the area? A straight-up commercial zone like Time Square? Is there a way to do both?

Aug. 19 2013 01:11 PM

genejoke from Brooklyn: What are you talking about?

Aug. 19 2013 12:47 PM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I attended the LMDC meetings before the designs for the new building(s) had been submitted and spoke one evening as a member of the community.

My vision was that we rebuild the Towers exactly as they had been (only upgrading safety features, of course), and I could barely speak for the entire three minutes because I was constantly interrupted by the applause and cheers of the other members of the community. So I presume that's what we all really wanted.

The fact that Daniel Liebeskind won a design contest means that the LMDC hearings were held because they had to be by law, but that they completely ignored the will of the public (not unusual). We all, also, objected to Mr. Liebeskind's design when it came out, but once again the will of the people was ignored. Hence, we have this ugly building going up that is taking far too long, costing far too much, and symbolizing nothing.

Aug. 19 2013 12:42 PM
Amy from Manhattan

If I'm remembering right, the design was originally going to include wind turbines, but that was changed. Are any other environmental elements included?

Aug. 19 2013 12:40 PM
Cynzanne from Brooklyn

The memorial is super sanitized. No indication of the violence that happened there.
That is why I think the Globe sculpture should be placed there.

Aug. 19 2013 12:36 PM
genejoke from Brooklyn

I've heard many examples of guests' vocal fry coupled with upspeak?? on WNYC, but this woman is frying GRAVEL.

Aug. 19 2013 12:29 PM
Keith from WTC

Elizabeth should contact me via the ArtAID website. I have a significant body of work, namely the Ground Zero Memorial on the viewing platforms, including banners, documentation and artifacts, that she should know more about. Thanks.

Aug. 19 2013 12:22 PM

"the tension between commerce and commemoration at the World Trade Center site."

But is there any question that the site will go back to being at least /a/ major headquarters for some of the most vicious and predatory corporations and banks, culpable and complicit in the suffering and misery of untold millions?

Is that an /honor/ for the victims of the 9/11 massacre?

Aug. 19 2013 06:42 AM

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