Plans to Rebuild Lower Manhattan
News from Ground Zero, NY
by Joseph De Matteo

GROUND ZERO, SEPTEMBER 2007 - September 9, 2007

With the sixth anniversary of the attack just days away, Ground Zero is a busy construction site.  There are now more than 600 construction workers busily preparing for the construction of four buildings and all the peripheral that they demand.

It is not that no work has been going on, because much has been accomplished.  However, not noticeably above ground.  Political and financial wrangling has had a choke collar effect on the building of, what many New Yorkers and Americans want to be a thumb in the eye of the enemies.

The transit center that you cannot see when viewing the pit, which is the main picture that the media usually gives us of Ground Zero, is a wonderment.

Did you know that the streets of lower Manhattan are virtually at sea-level, and the Freedom Tower's first four pillars are anchored to the bedrock 70-feet below street level.  Retaining walls are crucial in keeping the waters of the Hudson River out of the site, which will reach 7-stories below sea-level.

More photos

The tip of Manhattan is in Upper New York Bay.  On it's east side is the East River, on it's west side the mighty Hudson River; The Battery (named after the cannon battery once used to guard the city from attack, has the water of the Atlantic rushing in and out with the tide.  Water, in this city with so many underground facilities, is always a problem needing attention.

Transportation Hub:

The World Trade Center Transportation Hub will be complete by 2011, but it is doing just fine right now, thank you. Work began in September of 2005 on Santiago Calatrava's $2.2 billion project, and it is nothing short of incredible. This will be the home of PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson. Part of the quasi governmental organization The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey), and connect to 13 subway lines via the Fulton Street Transit Center, as well as other terminals.
Commuters from Upstate New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as business men from Washington, DC and all points south and west using mass transit to lower Manhattan will find getting around World Financial Center easy. Underground concourses not only give great access to Lower Manhattan and beyond, also to the many ferries.


August 5, 2005: Update on Lower Manhattan Development of the World Trade Center Site.

The last announcement form the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the organization that manages lower Manhattan projects and development for the city, headline read: 


1,776 Foot Tall Tower Will Emit Light from Spire as a New Beacon of Freedom

New Tower Will Evoke Classic New York Skyscrapers in Elegance and Symmetry

Bold, Sleek and Symbolic Design Speaks to Future While Solving Challenges of Modern Urban Environment

It appears from the pronouncement of June 29, 2005 that a big change from the originally accepted design is in the base.  The base of the tower will be a "cubic design" with a foot print of 200 feet by 200 feet (one square acre), the same footprint the Twin Towers  destroyed on September 11, 2001 in the attack on the United States that has spurred this new world wide war against the shadowy enemy, which has coined the phrase, Islamofascists. 

Lower Manhattan Development Corporation

Governor Pataki said, " we see the result is a better, safer, and prouder symbol of freedom for our skyline.   This new design reflects a soaring tribute to freedom and a bedrock commitment to safety and security.  The Freedom Tower will not only be a tremendous icon, it will also be an economic engine generating thousands of jobs for New Yorkers."  

The New York Governor went on to praise David Childs, who is responsible for the changes and Daniel Libeskind, master site planner for the rebuilding project that includes  the Freedom Tower.

Mayor Bloomberg said, "It is also an important part of our vision to transform Lower Manhattan into a vibrant 24-hour residential and commercial neighborhood."  This is remarkable in a city with so many powerful and ambitious politicians: each of the five counties (boroughs) that make up New York City (all with huge populations) has a  Borough President   There is also a City Council, which is populated by many very aggressive and even radical members who are all known for their ability to flexing their muscles.

An extremely important component to the World Trade Center site is the transportation hub, of which few understand the real importance.

On June 28th, the day before the Freedom Tower proclamation above,  the announcement was made of a change in  Spanish designer Santiago Calatrava's winged PATH Station, a complex transit hub at the Trade Center site that allows passengers from New Jersey and beyond to connect to subways, busses and ferries to get to all points of the city.  The change in the PATH station, like the changes in the Freedom Tower, addressed security.  Of them Mr. Calatrava said, "We preserved the transparency and the ethereal character of the building."   Basically, the changes to the "Bird in Flight" design  added more steel at the expense of glass.  The complete announcement. SCROLL DOWN TO WORLD TRADE CENTER PROJECT

 The World Trade Center Site May 18, 2005

A lot has happened since the final decision was made to construct the Freedom Tower project and "building" began.  Well, a lot has happened except any construction on the Freedom Tower.

Lower Manhattan Development Corporation

The Freedom Tower Project was supposed to be needle like tower rising 1776 feet into the sky over Manhattan Island.  It also had a couple of lower towers with distinctive angled roofs. 
       Everyone, me too, thought things were moving ahead, but the story broke this week that the NYPD had security problems with the Freedom Tower.

Daniel Libeskind, World Trade Center master site planner, had envisioned the height of the Freedom Tower to represent the year of American independence, and the spire itself to recall the raised arm of the Statue of Liberty, which stands across the Hudson River from the site.  However, with reportedly "major changes" to the base of the building and the layout of the site, Pandora's Box seems to have been opened.

Twin Tower II Design

by Kenneth Gardner and Herbert Belton

Enter stage right, Donald Trump.

"Why are we building this monstrous 'skeleton' known as Freedom Tower? If Freedom Tower is built, the terrorists win."  Mr. Turmp has gotten behind the familiar look of Ken Gardner's.  At 1858 feet (1 story higher than the original Twin Towers) Mr. Gardner's phoenix like raising of the Twin Towers would be the tallest building in the world.

Twin Towers II Design
by Kenneth Gardner and Herbert Belton Send comments to:
As another great New Yorker, Yogi Berra, once said, "It ain't over till it's over".

Today, July 16, 2002, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. released 6 different plans for the rebuilding of the site of the World Trade Center.  This will be whittled to 3 in the next few months. 

Debate over how much of the new project would be purely Memorial in nature covers the full spectrum of possibilities.  An example is the difference between Governor Potaki and Mayor Bloomberg.  Unlike George Potaki, Michael Bloomberg was not in office at the time of the attack that caused the demolition of what had been the dominant feature of the New York skyline since the early 1970s, however, Bloomberg has been a prominent figure in both New York City and its financial district for many years.  Mayor Bloomberg is looking to replace the 11 million square feet of office space lost on September 11, 2001, as well as have a memorial.  Governor Potaki, on the other hand said in a recent speech that he was committed to have a memorial only.  Not a few hard-nosed New Yorkers have gone to the extreme of stating that New York should rebuild the towers even higher than they were before, higher, in fact, than any other building.  It’s been too long since NYC has held the Tallest Building in the World title, is the opinion of many of these people. 

In fact, the plans released today seem all to be at varying points of middle ground.  The plans are all for multiple buildings, between 4 and 6, with none of the structures reaching as high as the 110 stories of the Twin Towers.  Each plan has in common a memorial to the victims of the terrorist attack, some of whose remains it was said this week, may never be recovered.

Another common aspect of these proposals is a new public transportation hub.  Another fact worth noting is that New York Cities Financial District is where many well to do people work.  Many of these people live in places pretty far from lower Manhattan.  Many live out of the metropolitan area, which includes northern and central New Jersey, in places as Connecticut and Pennsylvania.  For these people the morning commute is more that just a train ride, but it entails a good drive to the train. 

An aside: I remember, I was a mere babe at the time, when Nelson Rockefeller was Governor of New York.  He lived at the family estate in Sleepy Hollow, then North Tarrytown, and took a boat, a reconditioned World War II PT Boat, to his offices in the City or up in Albany.  

Some interesting points made by John Whitehead, Chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. about:

The relationship of these proposals to the end results:

  • The six plans are not final blueprints. 

  • Each of the plans represents a package of proposed ideas. 

  • These ideas can be mixed and matched and reconstituted based on public input.


  • Each plan begins with a memorial acknowledging that as we rebuild, we must remember.

Matthew Higgins, who is a spokesman for the LMDC, said that the release of the 6 plans is a starting point for a dialogue.  He indicated that the next step would be to actively engage the public through as many different forums as possible.

More to come.

Interesting Links:

Copyright 2002 Joseph De Matteo all rights reserved.

 Joe De Matteo


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