Wednesday, July 27, 2011
- Meanwhile At Ground Zero
I had a meeting today with a firm whose offices are at seven World Trade Center; the building just north of ground zero. Their offices were on the 37th floor, so it offered a unique view of the goings on at the construction site, which is otherwise closed to the public. I snapped the photo above from their conference room window using my phone. (it's linked to a larger version)
First, there is a very substantial building going up, and it's rising at the breathtaking pace that is typical of New York City Iron workers once they get all their forms filled out, their bribes paid, the unions takes their cut, and the work actually begins. You can't see it in the photo, but from my south facing view it was out of the frame on the right, and it spanned many stories above 37. It's partner is rising a little more slowly in the foreground and it partially obscures the memorial to commemorate the south tower.
I don't know if it was for testing or what, but the water was flowing in the south tower memorial, giving me a glimpse into what the future holds for the site. The north tower memorial is partially visible on the lower right, and as you can see, it's dry. This was my first and only glimpse of either of them so it's impossible for me to say what stage of construction they're in.
The memorial itself is a simple square hole in the ground, visible as a dark square in the center of the photo above, shadowed by another nearby building. Water was flowing down each of the sides into the hole, where it continued across the floor and was eventually bled back into the system from a smaller square in the center. (the upper right corner of the smaller square is barely visible for the south tower memorial) It was tough to estimate the depth of the hole precisely from my altitude, but it looked to me to be 40 or 50 feet deep.
The effect of the water falling such a great distance was really quite remarkable. It was as if the walls of the now missing building were continuing to fall somehow. From my altitude it seemed to fall slowly, vaguely reminiscent of that video we've all seen. Coupled with the low dark material which makes up the rest of the monument, it really made a profound and humble statement and I thought it communicated a deep sense of loss. I was astounded at how emotionally affecting it was, and how much I felt that it suited the site. As a piece of art, it seemed to me to be a great success. I know my description doesn't do it justice... but take my word for it, it was surprisingly moving.
The area is still closed to the public so I wasn't able to get any closer, but since I had the opportunity to peak over the fence, I thought you might like to get a little glimpse of what I saw. Even from that altitude, I think it's an impressive bit of work, and a surprisingly tasteful statement. Well suited to the ground it occupies.