NEW YORK —
Any plan to memorialize those lost through 9/11 and create new structures on those grounds was bound to stir controversy. It did. Plans changed. Names changed. Designs changed. Developers changed. So did the pricetag, now at $11 billion. Grumbling hasn’t disappeared. Many in the city, though, are simply relieved to see something getting done.
“It’s nice. I’m glad it’s happening,” Steven Chelsen said. “It should’ve been done a while ago.”
Besides its cost, the new WTC features many distinctive elements. The centerpiece, 1 World Trade Center, will be 102 stories tall, eight shy of the old Twin Towers, but promises to become the planet’s tallest building. A 300-foot spire will stretch it to a symbolic height of 1,776 feet. In the “Reflecting Absence” 9/11 Memorial, water will perpetually fall 30 feet from ground level into the basins. Bordering the pools will be gradually sloping walls, bearing the 2,983 names of 9/11 victims at New York, Washington and Shanksville, as well as the six people killed in a 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center. The museum will document the details, display well-known remnants of the devastation, and tell the stories behind the lives lost — bond traders, dishwashers and corporate executives. Some surviving infrastructure of the original World Trade Center was kept and built into the museum’s design. That’s why its underground, Cliff Chanin, director of education for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, explained in an instructional video created for teachers nationwide.
The site has won over Nobile Basile, a surveyor who has worked there.
Initially, Basile disliked the concept, particularly the below-ground design of the memorial pools and museum. He favored rebuilding the Twin Towers east of their original location, and placing the broken facade — a dominant piece of the debris — as a permanent fixture.
“But, you know what? Now that I see what’s actually there, I’m pretty impressed,” Basile said, while talking with friends at O’Hara’s Restaurant and Pub, a popular spot near the Trade Center site. “… The reflecting pools — they’re amazing. I didn’t think they would be, but they are. They’ve got all the names all the way around there.”