Friday, September 11, 2009


I don't know what folks in PA and NY think, but I would be content to see both Ground Zero and Shanksville ground zero remain simple without a bunch of ultra-fancy memorials which get in the way of themselves.

When United Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, it crashed in an open field and a field which otherwise would have been unremarkable. But when/if they build a fancy memorial there to the tune of several thousand or millions of dollars or what-not, what are you left with? You drive to Shanksville ground zero, you walk up, and you see this modern archictural marvel--that's what you see. Sure, you'll see some names etched in the stone, but who cares if the stone is also so distracting? Forget the fancy, expensive memorial; leave the field as is with the makeshift memorials.

And when you to lower Manhattan and venture out to the area bounded by Vesey, West, Liberty, and Church Streets, you get a sense of the enormity of the area, this same area being what is called Ground Zero. And if you stop to think while you're standing there, you remember that on this vast plot of land over two thousand people died on one day as thousands of tons of steel and concrete came crashing down upon them, unless they were the poor saps who jumped out of the buildings before this. So, supposing that Larry Silverstein and the Port Authority ever make amends and the new World Trade Center is ever completed, so what? What do you get but another ultra-fancy memorial and another steel-and-glass tower which draw too much attention to themselves and fill the vast space which one can now see in lower Manhattan across the street from the World Financial Center? Or what do you get but a "Freedom Tower" that ends up not being the world's tallest building and which aesthetically doesn't totally mesh with the buildings of the surrounding area in the first place? Forget the WTC project: go ahead and finish the memorial, let people keep using the new 7 WTC, and turn the rest of the area into a park. Ultimately, this would probably be the best thing.

1 comment:

D.B. said...

I agree that a more minimal approach is the better way to go. Reminds me of the Vietnam Wall. Nothing but a wall and all the names, and it is quite a powerful thing.

It would be different with the number of dead, but I'm always on board with less is more.