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]
With the approach of the sixth anniversary of 9/11/01, disaster and
attendant gloom have befallen the dizzying WTC rebuilding, and the
various Lower Manhattan construction zones. A deadly fire broke out on
Saturday 8/18, on about the 17th story of the already partially
demolished Deutsche Bank building, killing two firefighters.
Subsequently on Friday 9/24, a partial scaffold collapse and debris
shower injured two firefighters and two construction workers. The
Deutsche Bank demo is snake bit with bad karma beyond belief. Those two
lost fireman join their lost 9/11/01 comrades as victims of the 9/11/01
The finger-pointing is underway, the
subcontractor is taking most of the blame, and evidently a
section of 20-inch standpipe was removed in the basement. There
wasn’t enough water to fight/contain the upper stories blaze.
The subcontractor also has Mob ties, it’s been supposed; the mob
has likely made tens of millions from the WTC rebuild. So what?
-- you’d say if there’s something to show for it? I have been
watching the Deutsche demo directly as the floors disappear,
they had some water on the demo site, as they were using hoses
to wet the dust and debris up there. Perhaps just not enough to
fight a fire blazing through the windows and generating enough
smoke to recall the images from six years ago, when two smoking
Just as a good pace of activity for bringing down Deutsche was
underway, work now halts, with no statement for restarting. I’ve
seen just today a few forlorn workers up on the exposed top
floors, wandering around for a few minutes before leaving.
Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal mourned the Deutsche
fire, how long it’s taking to get this building down; saying in
effect, “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” The Deutsche
demo is subject to every conceivable environmental review
imaginable, in effect, the building is being surgically removed.
Now that people are realizing the building should have been down
years ago, it’s delayed yet again, and who knows when that it
Steve Cuozzo in the NY Post explains how any delay will affect
work in the part of the WTC rebuild alongside Liberty Street,
just north of Deutsche. Certain aspects of the WTC rebuild
closest to Deutsche share underground infrastructure. So last
Saturday’s disaster is having a domino effect where Towers 3 & 4
will arise at Liberty and Church, and north of Liberty along
Church. Delay on Deutsche means delay for parts of WTC too.
View atop idle Deutsche Bank demo,
At Freedom Tower
As usual, not much to report directly at the Freedom Tower
footprint. One of the two Freedom Tower cranes is being used to
build-out the Vesey Street PATH access, which has progressed
from steel skeleton to covered structure. From above, the Vesey
Street PATH access looks close to being finished, but from
ground level, it looks like a few more months before commuters
will stream forth. That’s on the east side of Freedom Tower. On
the south side of Freedom Tower, one of the F.T. cranes is
helping to build-out the under-structure of that portion of
Fulton Street which will run parallel to the south side of
Freedom Tower. There’s some massive concrete slabs/flooring
being poured, so far two or three levels worth of concrete slabs
on top of reinforced concrete posts. I imagine somewhere under
the finished Fulton there will be some eventual public access.
At street level, Fulton Street will separate the Freedom Tower
from the Memorial.
Fulton build-up from above
Fulton Transit Hub
The lot on which the 80-foot glass gallery of the Fulton Transit
Hub will arise is now empty but for scoopable debris. All of the
buildings on the east side of Broadway from Fulton, south to the
11 John Street “Corbin Building,’ are gone, demolished. The
tallest structure, 198-200 Broadway, was gone by the middle of
last week (9/20). Now it’s just debris removal and likely a
re-fencing off of the area to begin foundation work in earnest.
There’s some scaffolding going up alongside the old A.T.T.
building on the west side of Broadway across from the Fulton Hub
site. For anyone who loves walking in Manhattan and admiring
buildings, scaffolding is the bane for these activities.
East side of Broadway, looking south
along empty Fulton Hub site
New Fulton Water Main
Just at the corner of Fulton and Broadway, stretching east all
the way to Gold Street and beyond, the south side of Fulton
Street, the traffic way, is exposed and the 150-year-old water
main is being replaced. (See before and after photos). I passed
by there in the later evening a few nights ago, and they
actually lay the large sections of the new pipe at night, they
can’t do it any other time there’s too much pedestrian and
vehicular traffic. The project is supposed to take two years,
but that includes doing a rework of the Fulton Street
streetscape and some park improvements. It sure looks like they
are laying the water pipe from Fulton toward the east fairly
Before: Old water main
After: New water main
in place, east of Broadway Fulton intersection
Looking east down Fulton Street, new
Cortlandt Street N/R Station
As this project directly cuts off the Church Street PATH access
from the rest of Lower Manhattan, it is the most visible and
annoying project at present. The Cortlandt Street station, which
is under Church Street, was supposed to be reopened by now, but
the only thing open is the street above, cut open like a
punched-up boxer’s eye. This is a critical connecting node
between the PATH trains and then under Dey Street to the Fulton
Transit Hub, but most of the work seemed like it was taking
place below ground. Now, the work is street level and causing
pedestrian and vehicular routing that at some points is
hazardous. The entire Corltandt Street station rebuild and Dey
Street pedestrian passageway, it’s difficult to say just what
stage they’re at or when it will be done. (Use work on Cortlandt
Work on Cortlandt Street station on
Cortlandt Street and Broadway
The sidewalk was recovered and reopened for pedestrians two
weeks ago, and the new 4-5 line access is open. Downtown 4-5
riders can now exit towards the front of the train and pop out
onto Broadway and Cortlandt at the base of One Liberty Plaza.
Eventually, there will be an access for the J-M_Z trains too.
Despite this progress, it seems like there’s too much reopening
of re-asphalted streets, and senior construction guys standing
around with schematics looking worried. For several days, a
Verizon truck seemingly on permanent station camped near an area
where an access chamber was built under the street, just about
in the intersection of Broadway and Cortlandt.
New Broadway & Cortlandt station
So it goes, the ebb, flow, and ebb of recovery from 9/11/01.
Fiterman Hall, sitting in squalor a block north of the WTC, is a
miniature Deutsche Bank building. Clad in similar scaffolding
and fabric, practically untouched in six years, since 9/11, who
knows when that edifice will come down. At the Fulton Hub, it
took just over 5 weeks to bring down the 198-200 Broadway
building, a bit taller and narrower than Fiterman.
From Cedar Street post-fire
At Deutsche, two firemen dead in a
building which still stands in horror, windows smashed and
fabric torn and scaffold askew, like a ghetto house that’s been
stoned a thousand times. Officials pointing fingers and
community activists screaming bloody defiance of any plan put
forth, it seems. In a word, a “mess.” A few fire brass have been
reassigned for lax inspection. Yes, it’s being cleaned up, being
re-built, with some pedestrian improvements. Yet as the Wall
Street Journal’s Henninger points out, and he too works in the
shadow of the Deutsche Building and daily passes the WTC site,
you recall the sense on the day of and aftermath of 9/11/01 that
we weren’t just losing two iconic towers, but that recapturing
their soaring inspirational presence might prove daunting, too.
We can hope without perhaps too much hope that our pursuit of
the perfect in defiance of the good, our hubristic pursuit of
“just so,” can be balanced with a sense of “ENOUGH,” and we can
see the skyline soar again.