In the News: Panning the 9/11 Memorial

Processed with VSCOcam••• 30 Park Place is getting its faux limestone panels. I wonder how the concrete will look compared to the Woolworth Building’s terra cotta, especially in the early morning, when the Woolworth Building glows pink. —New York YIMBY (photo from anonymous reader)

••• Remember the July 4 Festival on the May Community Board 1 agendas? “Several Lower Manhattan organizations […] plan to join Fraunces Tavern to produce an all-day historical festival on July 4. The organizations behind this effort include the Downtown Alliance, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Wall Street Walks, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and several others.” Downtown Post NYC has the details.

••• Community Board 1 is ticked off about the food trucks at the South Street Seaport. —Downtown Post NYC

••• Shipley & Halmos (which had that Canal Street pop-up a while back) is having a sample sale. —Racked

••• “Plans to jump-start construction of [3 World Trade Center] faltered Wednesday as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey shelved a proposal to back $1.2 billion in financing for the building amid opposition from members of the agency’s board. Port Authority officials said at a board meeting Wednesday they were now seeking to cobble together a package that involves more private financing.” —Wall Street Journal

••• New renderings of the 63-story tower coming to 50 West. —New York YIMBY

••• New York Times critic Michael Kimmelman explains why the 9/11 Memorial doesn’t work for him. A choice excerpt is below. (Also of note: Those low buildings along West Street are “sheds for vents.”)

The place doesn’t feel like New York. It feels like a swath of the National Mall plunked in downtown Manhattan: formal, gigantic, impersonal, flat, built to awe, something for tourists. One complaint about the former World Trade Center towers, with their windswept plaza, was the lack of human scale. This is different but little better. […]

Yes, the supersize fountains move many people. A big hole in the ground invariably drops jaws. The rushing, churning water, like the din that the fountains make, has been elaborately orchestrated. It’s hypnotizing. Smaller voids, cut into the floors of the larger ones, spare the fountains from banality, though the symbolism of the drain has always struck me as odd, the opposite of uplifting. I have watched hundreds of tourists linger over one fountain, reading the inscribed names. Few linger over both.

Perhaps that’s partly because the site has been given over to overly literal symbolism: fountains the size of the towers’ footprints; America’s tallest tower, with a fortified base; a museum underground with a pavilion that resembles a collapsed building. The place doesn’t do much to celebrate the city’s values of energy, diversity, tolerance openness and debate.

Proud workers in blue vests tend to visitors who have questions and keep an eye out for unwanted activities, of which there are many. The memorial permits no recreation, no loud noise, no “behaving in a way that is inappropriate,” according to the memorial’s online rules list. You can’t sing. At a site celebrating freedom and liberty, protests and demonstrations are prohibited.

I asked one worker whether people can eat or sunbathe and received a look akin to what an airline passenger in coach earns when venturing into business class for extra peanuts. The worker volunteered that a visitor may bring a snack or sandwich to the memorial but must dispose of the trash off site. There are no garbage receptacles—no vendors, either, and retail is forbidden in the adjacent towers that face the memorial site.

Even the seating is severe: square concrete blocks, low, backless, as if comfort violated the sanctity of the place.

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  1. RE: 30 Park Pl, Silverstein’s site says the building will be 926 feet and 82 stories tall. This piece in YIMBY says 937 feet but only 67 stories tall. Wonder if it’s just a mistake or if so something changed?

    From Silverstein’s 30 Park Place site:

    In December 2013, Silverstein Properties commenced construction on a Four Seasons hotel, restaurant and private residences at 30 Park Place in Tribeca. At 926 feet, the property will be the tallest residential tower in Downtown Manhattan – and one of the tallest in the city.

    A 189-key Four Seasons Hotel will occupy the first 27 floors, and 157 luxury condominiums will occupy the rest of the 82 story, 710,000 square foot tower. Over 15% of the hotel rooms will be suites, including a 3,500-square-foot Royal Suite. The private residences will be managed by Four Seasons and will be as large as 6,000 square feet. The project also will include a landscaped park and is scheduled for completion in early 2016. Visit for more information.

  2. I love the food trucks. Again, more phony outrage. What is it with these people to get angry about EVERYTHING! Seriously???? People love the trucks. They provide dining options while the seaport continues its buildout of the new Pier 17 and restoration of what was lost during Sandy. Howard Hughes was told to do what it could to continue to draw people to the area despite the closure of Pier 17 and the damage from Sandy and they have done exactly that. I say “Great Job!” I wish these people would focus their anger on REAL problems like the lack of enough public schools downtown!

  3. Re: “The Community Board unanimously voted to frame a resolution demanding that the food trucks be removed.” I would highly recommend Steven Amedee, that guy does some nice work.