September 11, 2013
The Story Behind the First Piece of Public Architecture at Ground Zero

Big, sweeping thinking was endemic to post-9/11 New York. The aftermath seemed to encourage everyone not simply to pursue their ideas but to stretch them to their most ambitious, impressive ends. For architect Kevin Kennon, this meant solving the problem of the WTC’s enduring chaos. 
Kevin lived on Hudson Street, in Tribeca, about ten blocks from the destruction. Every night, the glow from recovery crews’ floodlights illuminated his street. The rumbling of jackhammers provided twenty-four-hour-a-day white noise. In the midst of all this, Kevin thought it was too soon to be thinking about rebuilding, so one October afternoon he took a break from the whirl of design meetings and walked to Ground Zero. “It was chaotic, and it was extraordinary,” Kevin said of the site. “There were an extraordinary number of people. People were climbing fences, it was unsafe.” He paused and gave me a knowing look. “Something had to be done.”
Read more. [Image: Mike Segar/Reuters]

The Story Behind the First Piece of Public Architecture at Ground Zero

Big, sweeping thinking was endemic to post-9/11 New York. The aftermath seemed to encourage everyone not simply to pursue their ideas but to stretch them to their most ambitious, impressive ends. For architect Kevin Kennon, this meant solving the problem of the WTC’s enduring chaos. 

Kevin lived on Hudson Street, in Tribeca, about ten blocks from the destruction. Every night, the glow from recovery crews’ floodlights illuminated his street. The rumbling of jackhammers provided twenty-four-hour-a-day white noise. In the midst of all this, Kevin thought it was too soon to be thinking about rebuilding, so one October afternoon he took a break from the whirl of design meetings and walked to Ground Zero. “It was chaotic, and it was extraordinary,” Kevin said of the site. “There were an extraordinary number of people. People were climbing fences, it was unsafe.” He paused and gave me a knowing look. “Something had to be done.”

Read more. [Image: Mike Segar/Reuters]

May 5, 2011
Obama’s First Ground Zero Visit: ‘Where is Osama Bin Laden?’ To understand President Obama’s visit to Ground Zero today, Elizabeth Greenspan suggests we remember his first visit there, back in 2008:

To understand why people filled the streets to celebrate the death of  Osama bin Laden this week, it’s worth taking a look at Obama’s first  visit to Ground Zero. People have been looking for something to  celebrate ever since.
I was at the site that day for anniversary ceremonies. Fewer people  turned out than in past years, despite Obama and McCain’s impending  arrival (rumors were actually swirling that the two decided not to  come). The plaza designated for the public was across the street from  the square closed-off for victims’ families. In one corner, a ring of  people penned their names upon memorial canvases laid out on the ground.  On the other side, a youth Mennonite choir sang solemn hymns. But the  middle of the square was nearly empty save for one woman holding a large  sign. It read, “Where is Osama Bin Laden?” People eyed her  suspiciously and, as if honoring an invisible force field, kept their  distance. It was a question no one really wanted to face.

Read the rest of the story at The Atlantic.

Obama’s First Ground Zero Visit: ‘Where is Osama Bin Laden?’ To understand President Obama’s visit to Ground Zero today, Elizabeth Greenspan suggests we remember his first visit there, back in 2008:

To understand why people filled the streets to celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden this week, it’s worth taking a look at Obama’s first visit to Ground Zero. People have been looking for something to celebrate ever since.

I was at the site that day for anniversary ceremonies. Fewer people turned out than in past years, despite Obama and McCain’s impending arrival (rumors were actually swirling that the two decided not to come). The plaza designated for the public was across the street from the square closed-off for victims’ families. In one corner, a ring of people penned their names upon memorial canvases laid out on the ground. On the other side, a youth Mennonite choir sang solemn hymns. But the middle of the square was nearly empty save for one woman holding a large sign. It read, “Where is Osama Bin Laden?”

People eyed her suspiciously and, as if honoring an invisible force field, kept their distance. It was a question no one really wanted to face.

Read the rest of the story at The Atlantic.

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