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Wednesday, June 29, 2005


FORTRESS AMERICA: WILL FREEDOM TOWER'S WINDOWLESS PEDESTAL BE UGLY MONOLITH? 





The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has unveiled the revised designs for "Freedom Tower" which is supposed to replace the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center site.

As part of the new design, the tower’s footprint, measuring 200 feet by 200 feet, is the same size as the footprints of the original Twin Towers. As the tower itself rises from its cubic base, its square edges are chamfered back, transforming the square into eight tall isosceles triangles in elevation. At its middle, the tower forms a perfect octagon in plan and then culminates in an observation deck and glass parapet. [LMDC]


However, what is not highlighted (and is only shown in 1 of 6 preview photos) is the 200-foot high pedestal that will be at the base of the tower. The New York Times says it will be a "an almost impermeable and impregnable 200-foot concrete and steel pedestal, clad in ornamental metalwork...This enormous pedestal would overlook the Sept. 11 memorial."

The pedestal will dominate the plaza where people will mill about observing and taking in the Twin Tower footprints as well as paying respects at the memorial. A huge, austere pedestal might cast a morbid pall over the area and create a dark, scary ambience instead a dignified mix of sadness, remembrance and defiance.

The first 30 feet of the 200-foot-tall pedestal would be completely solid, with no windows. The next 50 feet would have some openings, allowing light to be brought into the lobby from above. The rest of the base would be occupied by mechanical equipment. [NYT]


It is my hope that the Freedom Tower will be a poignant reminder to the world that the United States does not shrink in the face of terror. However, I wonder if the pedestal will be an imposing structure that lacks character. It hope it does not signal to many visitors from around the world that 9/11 changed this country forever; and turned the United States into Fortress America.

PS: Don't be fooled by the renditions of what the skyline will look like with a Freedom Tower in place. Look carefully and see that they show the building as rectangular in shape like the Twin Towers. But, the building will actually taper from the massive cube foundation to a small area at the top.
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Lower Manhattan Development Corporation
Freedom Tower Fact Sheet(pdf)
New Design for Freedom Tower Calls for 200-Foot Pedestal - New York Times
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Other blogs commenting on the newly designed Freedom Tower, Scott Sala's excellent Slant Point, Empire Builder, Dagenham Heathway, Modeltrain, Focused Forward, Blogs for Bush, The Exceptionalist, Mark Lerner, and Blogging the President.

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DAILY 7: NYC HOMEOWNERS SQUEEZED, NORWEGIAN TOURISTS, TIME TRAVEL, CLAUDIA ROSETT, ROGER EBERT REVIEW, MARCH OF THE PENGUINS, STARBUCKS ICE CREAM 


Don't see "War of the Worlds", do see "March of the Penguins"



1) PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF NEW YORK: Thanks to rent stabilization laws, tenants of 47-49 East Third Street pay only $500 to $950/ month (extemely cheap by Manhattan standards). Two years ago the building owner informed tenants their leases won't be renewed. The tenants sued and have refused to leave. New York law may be on the tenants' side

2) THE OUT OF TOWNERS: Norwegian tourists Espen Skotterud and Are Kjaer, both 24 and from Oslo claimed a black man robbed their digital camera in Central Park. Turns out they lost the camera and lied to police in order to file a false insurance statement. Now they are in jail, you can't fool the NYPD!

3) BUST OUT YOUR DELOREAN: "When it comes to the nature of time travel, physicists are pretty much at a loss, but some theorists think that has to change."

4) CLAUDIA ROSETT: "Kofi Annan wants to "reform" the U.N. again. Watch out for your wallet."

5) ROGER EBERT GIVES "WAR OF THE WORLDS" 2 STARS: It is a big, clunky movie containing some sensational sights but lacking the zest and joyous energy we expect from Steven Spielberg.

6) DO SEE "MARCH OF THE PENGUINS": Lou Lumenick says, "a remarkable, eye-popping nature documentary directed by France's Luc Jacquet.

7) JAVA THIS: Starbucks is giving away free ice cream on Wednesday afternoon at 6,000 of its stores.


Other blogs commenting on these stories, Sweet!, Well, There It Is, Sobering Thoughts, Roger Simon, Just One Minute, Gothamist, Vacation, and Visual Resistance.

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