Freedom Tower -- The Journal
contributor Dick Sheppard, who works in an office directly
overlooking the World Trade Center site, hopes to track progress
of the ascent of Freedom Tower, which at 1776 feet will be [more]
previous journals, see bottom of this page.
11, 2006 and Tribute in Lights
2007 Installment of the Monthly Journal
the sidebar, Building Freedom Tower -- The Journal for introduction]
Period ending 5/18/07
In the last
update, I noted a massive structural element apparently centered in the Freedom
Tower footprint. I speculated this was some sort of foundation anchoring
element. But as with previous guesses about what any given foundation
elements might be, this was incorrect. That central structure is a tower
crane that will build at least the initial Freedom Tower steelwork! And no
sooner had the Freedom Tower’s first stationary tower crane added the “boom” cab atop the tower, the tread-crawling
conventional crane was quickly disassembled and removed. A quick “lift”
transition. And just
as the Goldman Sachs tower across West Street from Freedom Tower sprouts several
cranes, sure enough, the first Freedom Tower crane immediately constructed a
"twin." Now, even though there is no additional above-ground Freedom Tower
construction evident, the stage is set for erecting steel. The Goldman site
boasts four tower cranes, and steel rises
fast there. This rapid-fire building offers confidence that there is a real
desire and need for Lower Manhattan commercial towers. There is even some
preliminary bickering over the type of tower that will eventually occupy the
final WTC building site, where the Deutsche building is presently being disassembled. If
people are already bickering over a to-be-designed building that’s six years
from completion at least, then there’s doubtless interest in the towers that are
planned and will be built.
The New "Twin Tower" Freedom Tower cranes
(four Goldman Sachs cranes are erected on building behind
East Bathtub along Church Street
East bathtub wall building goes on constantly from early
a.m. to late afternoon and likely sometimes beyond. Activity predominates at
southeast corner of the entire WTC site, and also north along Church Street. A
milling machine now bores wall sections on the Vesey Street line, at the northeast quadrant of the WTC site. Inside of the wall-building
perimeter, surface earth is being removed, and inside this "mini-quarry" are
assembled the rebar cages that serve as the “wall skeleton.” Soon, the
station access will move 75 feet south down Church Street, there's an opening
just west of Church Street, behind the site fence that might serve as the
station stairway entrance. It will be very near where pedestrians in the old WTC concourse would access
the R/W/N trains at the extreme eastside of the old concourse.
Beyond WTC site Freedom Tower and wall-building,
transportation projects abound. At the Fulton transit hub, scaffolding and a
gauzy fabric enshroud the 11-story 200 Broadway. Like the Deutsche Bank
building, this building comes down forthwith. Another 9/11-streetscape robbery;
a collateral building casualty years past the attack. Right at the southeast
corner of Broadway and Fulton the short corner building is stripped down to
ironwork. That remaining steel may be gone very soon, and when it is, that empty
lot is the main Fulton hub site. Metal cylinders are being emplaced by the tall,
drilling-rig-type foundation boring machines at the southwest corner of Broadway
and Dey, where some buildings were removed. This will likely be a Fulton Street
subway access station while the main Fulton hub is being built?
framework is emplaced at the prime Fulton Transit hub site at the southeast
corner of Fulton and Broadway. At street-level, the corner building has been
reduced to it's steel framework. Thus you have steel framework being removed
above ground, and steel framework being built underground.
Shrouded 198-200 Broadway building, prepared for demo
Fulton Transit hub primary site at s-e corner Broadway & Fulton
Fulton Transit hub primary site at s-e corner Broadway & Fulton.
Under Cortlandt & Broadway
At the Cortlandt and Broadway intersection, the rebar floor
is being poured with concrete. This entire under-street intersection is widening
out to include what was an existing subway access stairway for the 3, 4, 5
trains at that southwest corner of the Broadway/Cortlandt intersection. These
stairs will likely be another subway access apart from the Fulton hub access?
All of these projects are going full blazes at 7:30 a.m. when I emerge from the
temporary PATH station and make my way to my One Liberty Plaza office. Sometimes
heading down Church and up Cortlandt, or sometimes up Fulton and down Broadway
to Cortlandt. Each route offers a constantly updating view each piece of the
Deutsche Bank Accident
The Deutsche Bank building demo was off to a noticeable
start once they got underway. It seemed like the floors would be flying off the
building. A few have, but rather than see increasingly dramatic views opening to
the west from our office, the steel itself isn’t coming down as fast as it
seemed it might.
Work Above and Under ground -
Broadway looking north at Cortlandt
However, you can tell that the upper 10 or so floors are
completely gutted internally. It’s
a matter of cutting and removing the steel skeleton, which may happen fast after
all. The crane never ceases raising empty and lowering full dumpsters, in
between lowering clusters of steel columns.
Men at work near top of the Deutsch Bank demo
On Thursday, May 17, an 8-foot section of pipe about
3" in diameter somehow got loose and fell 300 feet onto the top of Ladder
10 firehouse on Liberty and Greenwich, ripping a hole in the roof and causing
interior damage on in the second story of that already 9/11-scarred fire
station. This accident has for now halted Deutsche building demo work; more
issues on that troublesome structure.
Post-9/11 Lower Manhattan will forever generate debate, but
rebuilding WTC primarily as a commercial development, as opposed to a mixed residential/hotel/commercial/cultural undertaking, seems
the right call. This is not because one use is “better” than another.
Commercial rebuilding makes sense, because despite an encroaching residential
component, Lower Manhattan maintains a position as one of the world’s leading
financial districts. Lower Manhattan evolves in ways unforeseen, but into the
foreseeable future, Lower Manhattan equals Wall Street. Wall Street means Big
Shots, generating Big Money, in Big Businesses. Big Businesses, even in an era
of dispersible assets, telecommuting staff, and globalized outsourcing, still
derive benefits from the concentrated synergistic energies embodied in massive,
cutting edge towers. And the foundations for massive towers are underway at WTC.
One ought never dismiss the prestige element for
corporations and big shots, particularly in discussing Wall Street’s big-name
firms. Naysayers declare that commercial space at WTC makes no sense: the market
can’t absorb it. Besides, who wants to work in a “target?” Such naysayers!
Eventually Freedom Tower and the other World Trade Center towers will be
highly desired and highly desirable addresses, even if competing real estate
interests downplay the potential for their own interests.
Following the destruction of the World Trade Center, and
that is now more than five years past, there were many competing visions for
those empty sixteen acres. There was never a serious notion of just replacing
what was there, as poignantly sentimental such a notion could be. The “twin
towers” were soaring symbols of American ingenuity and financial
preponderance; they were lovely buildings, though others might recall them as
starkly rectangular, linearly uninspiring or “sterile.” They overtopped our
NYC skyline and were attacked as such. Whatever replaces them, sufficiently
massive, will ever inspire.