My wife and I made a pilgrimage to Ground Zero in lower Manhattan back in 2004. We had to see for ourselves the site where the World Trade Center’s iconic Twin Towers fell in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
On that hallowed ground, we offered prayers in memory of the more than 2,600 innocent souls who perished in the towers on that great and terrible day in this nation’s history.
Today, we mark another 9/11 anniversary. And I find myself disappointed. Because I expected far more progress in the rebuilding of the World Trade Center than has occurred since I visited the site five years ago.
Indeed, I went on Google maps this week for the latest satellite image of the 16-acre site. It hardly looks any different than it did in 2004.
And that’s not just my impression. Back in May, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told an audience at a Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association breakfast, “That we are where we are after this much time is an embarrassment to our city, our state, and the nation.”
And just this week, World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein, whose company, Silverstein Properties, is supposed to redevelop the site, said that progress is at a standstill because of lack of cooperation from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the public agency that owns the World Trade Center site.
The Port Authority sees things differently. It says that Silverstein Properties is asking the public to take on the financial risk in redevelopment of the World Trade Center that the company is unwilling to take on itself.
Meanwhile, the new World Trade Center – which promises five new skyscrapers and a national September 11 Memorial and Museum drawing upon the talents of such world-renowned architects as Santiago Calatrava, David Childs, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Fumihiko Maki, and Richard Rogers – remains pretty much a massive hole in the ground.
And, at the rate things are going (or, rather, not going) in lower Manhattan, not one of those five new skyscrapers by any of those architects will be completed by the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks two years from now..
That is a disgrace to the memory of the September 11 victims.