Tag Archives: twin towers

Battery Park City landfill beach at the foot of the Twin Towers

4 Decades Later: Battery Park City is Complete

Battery Park City landfill beach at the foot of the Twin Towers
Battery Park City Landfill (Credit: Flickr - StevenSiegel260)

There is a certain poeticism when you think about the ground that Battery Park City is built on. Nearly four decades ago – Battery Park City was merely a concept born from the construction of the World Trade Center. Troublesome to remove landfill from the World Trade Center was more of a nuisance than a deliberate urban plan. Either way, the gaping holes from the World Trade Center site  gave rise to an urban planning precedence of a self encompassed city development. It is also poignant to note hat a city born to live within the shadows and the rise of the Twin Towers will forever live in the shadows of those same buildings tragedy.

Past, present and future aside – Nearly forty years later, the vision of Battery Park City is complete, and a final milestone in our community is overshadowed by the 10 year anniversary of September 11th.

The last two parcels of land, now have a name – Liberty Luxe and Liberty Green. The final twin-like installations of residential complexes have finished construction and will officially round out our population to nearly 13,000 in Battery Park City limits proper.

According to the Architectural Record, who has noted this small milestone, “After weathering several recessions, leadership changes, and September 11, BPC now covers roughly two dozen city blocks and contains more than 13,000 residents, 9 million square feet of commercial space, and several civic and cultural venues. “The buildings have a much more interesting program than we planned,” Eckstut says, citing Stuyvesant High School (Cooper, Robertson & Partners, 1992) and the Museum of Jewish Heritage (Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates, 1997). “These departures have made it more of a real city.”

BPC’s showpiece is the 1.5-mile-long waterfront esplanade, which features a plaza, marina, and views of the Statue of Liberty. Another vital community amenity: the Cesar Pelli–designed Winter Garden (1988), where free public events are presented year-round.

BPC’s success is attributable to its sustainable aspects. A dozen projects have received or are expected to receive LEED certification, but as Cooper notes, the neighborhood’s most important “green” features — open space, density, and proximity to transit — prefigured the sustainability discourse by decades.

Officially, Battery Park City’s official 30th birthday is still up in the air.  For those who consider the 1982 Battery Park City’s birthday when it opened its doors to commercial businesses, Battery Park City’s anniversary will be next year. However, if you consider the first residential move-ins as the mark of the  neighborhood, then 2015 is your celebratory year.

A far cry from the beachfront property that Lower Manhattan seemed to enjoy that hardly resemble the city we know and love now.

Defining Ground Zero beyond the footprints of the Twin Towers

Helicopter Video Depicting WTC Attacks Released

Defining Ground Zero beyond the footprints of the Twin Towers
Helicopter video captures the WTC attacks (Photo: FEMA)

A video taken by a NYPD helicopter as it circles the burning World Trade Center towers during the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks is quite possibly one of the most chilling events ever caught on tape. The video was recently released and can be viewed here.

The clip is approximately 20 minutes in length and the copter hovers incredibly close to the Twin Towers after both had been hit by commercial aircraft. The copter gets dangerously close to the burning buildings… almost too close. It is incredibly difficult to watch with such a bird’s eye view, even though it is essentially a historical document.

The video also captures the collapse of the Towers from a safe distance. Someone is heard saying, “We got out of there at the right time.”

Did you watch the video?

Tribute in Light in Battery Park

Tribute in Light Returns This Year and Next

Tribute in Light in Battery Park
Tribute in Light atop the Battery Garage on Morris Street.

The downtown skyline will soon be illuminated with the somber Tribute in Lights. Two giant beams of light cutting through the realization that we are upon the 9th anniversary of the terror attacks on the World Trade Center.

The Tribute in Light first came on six months after the attacks in 2002, and have been primarily funded by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) who have provided the financial support of the iconic tribute.

Contrary to popular belief, the Tribute in Lights is not beaming at the World Trade Center site but are located six blocks south of Ground Zero, set atop the Battery Garage on Morris Street. During the first two years of the tribute, the lights were located on West Street where the Goldman Sachs building now stands.

The tribute is comprised of 88 4-foot tall searchlights set in 50 x 50 foot identical squares.

Although primarily subsidized by the LMDC, the project is also in conjunction with Con Edison. It is speculated that after the LMDC re-allocated funding earmarked for Con Edison, meant to subsidize Con Edison’s costs at the World Trade Center Site may play a role in compromising the future of the Tribute. As of today, it is if the Tribute will exist beyond the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attack in 2011.

This year, as the past few years, the tribute will begin at dusk on September 11th and end on dawn of September 12.

Defining Ground Zero beyond the footprints of the Twin Towers

Defining and Redefining Ground Zero

Defining Ground Zero beyond the footprints of the Twin Towers
What is the definition of Ground Zero (Credit: FEMA)

What does Ground Zero mean?

Should the boundaries of 9/11 devastation be solely contained within a single continuous chain link fence in Lower Manhattan?

ground zero

— n

1. a point on the surface of land or water at or directly above or below the center of a nuclear explosion

2. a scene of great devastation

Before Ground Zero earned its capital letters and became the defacto term for the area of the NYC terrorist attacks on 9/11, it simply meant “a scene of great devastation.”

Throughout their existence, the Twin Towers were one of the most revered architectural skyscrapers of their time. Millions flocked to the 110-story observation deck to take pictures, buy t-shirts and mementos. Post 9/11, tourists still flocked to the area: a grotesquely different view that could no longer be called the Twin Towers. “Ground Zero” was a different word for a much-changed, different place.

There has been a lot of discussion about what should be considered “Ground Zero.” Putting definitive boundaries is a slippery slope. Here is a list of buildings that were affected by the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

The World Trade Center and its buildings:
1 World Trade Center
2 World Trade Center
3 World Trade Center – Marriott (Former Vista Hotel)
4 World Trade Center
5 World Trade Center
6 World Trade Center
7 World Trade Center

Borough of Manhattan Community College Fitterman Hall
Borough of Manhattan Community College Fitterman Hall after 9/11

Other buildings/structures destroyed or damaged on 9/11:
90 West Street
St. Nicholas Orthodox Greek Church
1 Liberty Plaza Building
Millenium Hotel
Old Post Office Building
BMCC/CUNY Fitterman Hall
Verizon Building
Bankers Trust Building
World Financial Center Bridge
World Financial Center Winter Garden
American Express Building
Merill Lynch Building
Gateway Plaza Complex

The building which endured damage furthest North of the Twin Towers footprints is the Borough of Manhattan Community College’s Fitterman Hall. The building at 30 West Broadway was destroyed by the collapse of 7 World Trade Center on 9/11. Today, the boundaries of the now demolished building, is not considered “Ground Zero.” Although, from the site of the proposed Park51 center, you can look West at the site where the building used to be. Is it that we implicitly feel the destruction of the CUNY building isn’t part of the boundaries of devastation?

Here is a Google Map look on the corner of West Broadway and Park Place. From a simple turn on the corner you can see the former Fitterman Hall and the former Burlington Coat Factory.

Corner of West Broadway at Park Place
Google Maps capture the corner of West Broadway and Park Place (Credit: Google)

To limit the term “Ground Zero” to the footprints of the Twin Towers automatically diminishes any destruction suffered on 9/11 beyond the chain linked fence that exists today.

To set boundaries means that insensitivities can be easily hurled from both sides of the Park51 debate. Like a game of tag, using the term Ground Zero is tantamount to having a “base” or “being safe.” Is it though?

The term “Ground Zero” should not be leveraged on either side to discuss who is right and who is wrong.

Residents of Battery Park City who were displaced and had to flee the neighborhood because of air and water concerns are also victims of the events that occurred at Ground Zero — although hardly recognized as such.  Many residents did not have homes to return to that day, could not return until their buildings were deemed safe. Devastation of businesses, houses of worship and homes were widespread in areas not colloquially considered “Ground Zero.” Does that make their experience post 9/11 any less important or less part of that scene?

To limit “Ground Zero” — which generically means “a scene of great devastation” — to just the footprints of the Twin Towers is a great disheartenment and disservice to the survivors of the attacks: the residents, businesses, schools and those who have endured to rebuild this community. Just ask anyone who lived in Battery Park City at that time. If the Cordoba Initiative wants to be part of the rebuilding, acknowledging instead of denying they are a community center at “Ground Zero” would be a first step in a good direction. Wouldn’t it be an honor to be part of rebuilding Ground Zero? After 9 years of almost inaction at the site, anyone who wants to improve on our community should be welcomed.

Perhaps the next step is to teach America and beyond that “Islam,””Muslims” and “mosque” are not dirty words.