Nosy Neighbor: Where Is the Special Forces Monument Going?

I saw a piece on that says a monument to the special forces soldiers who rode with the Northern Alliance to attack the Taliban immediately after 9/11 is going to be installed on private property directly across from Ground Zero on Veterans Day this year. I can think of only a few places at fit the bill—Zuccotti Park (!), in the traffic island in front of 7 WTC (is that public or owned by Silverstein Properties?), or on the narrow lawn alongside the West Street side of the WFC (which seems like a bad place for a major statue and probably is BPC land, not private). I couldn’t find any details even though this is less than a month away. Can you help solve the mystery? —Nicole

An 18-foot bronze monument of soldiers on horseback that’ll be unveiled “with the help of New York City firefighters, police officers, other emergency responders and Port Authority members”—and yet no one seems to know about it? That is indeed a mystery.

Sculptor Douwe Blumberg knows, of course, but he’s not talking. (That’s him in the photo, by the way, and the photo is his.) As per the CNN item, the patrons behind the artwork don’t want their identities revealed, and they’d prefer not to say much about the work just yet. (Why they allowed CNN to cover it is another mystery.) Blumberg agreed to pass along a message but I never heard back.

“The statue will be installed on private property, owned by a supportive firm, close to ground zero,” says CNN. Note that “close”—the article also says “across,” but not “directly,” so we could be talking about anywhere.

The folks at Downtown Alliance hadn’t heard about it, nor had Community Board 1. I asked the CB1 rep whether a monument going on private land would have to come before CB1, and he said no—permanent art in a privately owned public space such as Zuccotti Park, however, would require approval by the city planning commission. Of course, Zuccotti has some issues right now.

The plaza in front of 7 World Trade strikes me as a stretch, given that a Jeff Koons work is already there. On the other hand, it meets every other criteria. I only got around to emailing Silverstein Properties last night, and the rep replied that she didn’t know about it but she’d ask around.

I did email Brookfield Office Properties about Zuccotti and the World Financial Center, but I never heard back. I emailed the 9/11 Memorial, which I figured might be in on the unveiling ceremony, but they said they didn’t have any information and that I might try contacting the Port Authority (I did, to no response). I called the Battery Park City Authority—an unlikely prospect, seeing as how it feels about art funded by anonymous donors. [Crickets.]

Does anyone know anything? This is where being a blogger (vs. a reporter) isn’t helpful, because I don’t have the contacts a traditional reporter does. What I do have, however, is no shame in asking the world at large for help. So if you have details about where this art is headed, please email me at As always, tips are anonymous unless you specify otherwise.

UPDATE NOV. 11: The New York Times has all the details: “One of the guest stars in the Veterans Day Parade on Friday is a 5,000-pound statue that just arrived in New York and still needs a permanent home. The statue, a 16-foot-tall bronze of a Special Forces soldier on horseback, may wind up in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan once the protesters camped there depart. But for now, it is bound for a temporary spot in a building a block from the World Trade Center site. […] it will go to a lobby of 1 World Financial Center, a building owned by Brookfield Office Properties, the company that owns Zuccotti Park. Brookfield had considered placing the statue in the park, before the Occupy Wall Street crowd descended on that plaza in mid-September, said Bill White, who helped arrange the creation of the statue. But that idea would have required approval by city officials. Melissa Coley, a spokeswoman for Brookfield, said, “We’re pleased to provide a temporary home” for the statue. Mr. White said the statue’s sponsors hoped it would eventually reside at the World Trade Center, but Patrick Foye, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said no decision had been made.”

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