Saturday, March 28, 2009

Now, if they could only build two of them...

The announcement came out yesterday that The Freedom Tower will now be called One World Trade Center.

I have to be honest, as a former New Yorker, this announcement has only come about 7 years too late. In general, I don't like anything that feels forced. I hate ESPN because they try to tell me what I should like. I like the new U2 album because it's the first time in 10 years they haven't been making music with the overt goal of convincing me how good a band they are.

And with the World Trade Center, we've attached so much "importance" to what happened there that we had to attach symbolism. And patriotism!

What always irked me when I lived in NYC was how it always seemed that the rest of the country had a lot more say about what happened on that site than the people who lived in New York and the people who had worked in the original World Trade Center. That's funny, see, because up until about 8 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 - when I was walking down Fifth Ave. to work - most places to the west of the Hudson River complained that all those New Yorkers thought they were just the center of the world.

Anyhow, on Christmas Eve 2002, I spent the afternoon adjacent to the World Trade Center site in the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center. There, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp had displays for the potential site plans to replace the Twin Towers. Understand that, at this time, about 50% of New Yorkers simply wanted the Twin Towers rebuilt.

I remember putting my two cents in on the plans on the provided comment cards. But, even at that time, the word was out that with a "celebrity" architect (Daniel Libeskind) submitting a plan, that every politician and his sister was going to favor him. Why? Because this ground needs something monumental. Something symbolic.

I know I wasn't the only one who was disappointed. And, honestly, even since moving south in 2005, I have had some secret glee with every design change, from the initial "we have to change this if it's actually going to work structurally" to the MTA announcing the name of the subway station is and always will be "World Trade Center" at the end of the E line. And now, yesterday's name change.

I am sure the memorial on the site will be beautiful. But your average New Yorker wanted to stand on Park Row, looking up, and see a really damn tall building. Your average New Yorker probably thought the Twin Towers were kinda ugly compared to other iconic NYC towers. But, they were every New Yorker's ugly towers.

For the past 7 years, the rest of America - a lot of people who could care less about New York and are scared to get on the Subway - were having their interests represented at Vesey and Greenwich Sts.

Today, that land, the World Trade Center, is back where it belongs.

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