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September 11 Books


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Richard Bernstein tells the story of September 11 from the context of the emergence of radical Islamist movements.

September 11 has spawned more books than any other single news event in history. Amazon.com lists nearly seven hundred 9/11-related titles in stock. Ingram Book Group, the country’s largest book distributor, will release 150 new 9/11 books in the fall of 2002.

"It’s definitely a high-water mark for the industry," said Charlotte Abbott, Book News Editor at Publishers Weekly. Abbott believes some publishing houses, many of which are located in New York City, are driven not just by sales, but by a sense of obligation. "I think they wanted to help in some way," she said. "It is only natural that publishers would respond."

Many of the books originated in numerous news organizations that have turned their reporting and photography into anthologies. Books by Reuters, Magnum Photographers, Life, The New York Times, and others chronicle the events of September 11 from the instant the first plane hit throughout the rescue and recovery operations.

The events also inspired a series of memoirs from such people as former Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen, former Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani whose forthcoming book is entitled Leadership. Biographies like Let’s Roll and Father Mychal Judge: An Authentic American Hero pay homage to individuals who died on September 11.

Fireboat explains the events of September 11, 2001 to children.

A number of books related to 9/11 try to answer the overarching questions -- how and why the events occurred –and arrive at different conclusions. Richard Bernstein’s Out of the Blue explains the 9/11 attacks in the context of the emergence of Islamist movements. Breakdown by Bill Gertz and The Cell co-authored by ABC journalist John Miller attribute Al Qaeda’s success to massive intelligence failures. In 9-11, Noam Chomsky finds fault in the United States’ foreign policy.

Communicating the event to children and young adults created an additional challenge for authors and publishers. The editors of The New York Times compiled a young reader’s edition of the newspaper section "A Nation Challenged." A book called Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey is aimed at a 9-year-old audience and recounts the story of the "the largest, fastest and shiniest fireboat of them all."

What makes the events of September 11 unique, argue book publishers, is that they touch on nearly every aspect of contemporary culture: politics, economics, art, science, and religion. "No other has had so many tie-ins," says Nancy Stewart of Ingram Book Group told Publishers Weekly "In a sense, it was a very comprehensive disaster."

For more information
• New York Times Book Review 9/11 Reading List
• A Year Later: How Book Publishers Have Been Affected (Publishers Weekly)


The List

You can sort the list by clicking on the categories at the top of the list.

Title Author Editor Publisher Subject

110 Stories: New York Writes after September 11 Ulrich Baer New York University Press. Anthologies: Poetry, Prose, And More
A compendium of stories and meditations on September 11 from New York's vibrant community of prose and fiction writers.
19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East Naomi Shihab Nye HarperCollins Juvenile Books Children/Young Adults
Responding to the stigma attached to people of Arab and Middle Eastern descent following September 11, the author collected four dozen samples of her poetry for a new volume. The poems largely deal with the experiences of Arab Americans.
9-11 Noam Chomsky Seven Stories Press Political/Historical Background
Chomsky, a vocal critic of United States foreign policy, weighs in on the causes of 9-11 in this slim volume compiled from various interviews he has given following the September 11 atrocities. Counterpunch.org calls the booklet "an essential read not only for those who wish to resist the attempt to curb freedom and democracy but also everyone who wants to learn about the background to the 9-11 terrorist attacks", while Front Page Magazine's David Horowitz dismisses it as "anti-American ravings."

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9-11: Artists Respond September 11th 2001 Volumes 1 & 2 Chaos, Dark Horse, DC Comics & Image Anthologies: Poetry, Prose, And More
Various comic book artists and writers contributed to this collection of stories about September 11. All proceeds benefit relief organizations. Rambles.net calls the volumes "dramatic, thoughtful, powerful, and in some ways healing."

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9-11: Emergency Relief Alternative Comics Anthologies: Poetry, Prose, And More
More than 80 comic book artists collaborated on this graphic novel whose proceeds will benefit the American Red Cross. The book collects the cartoonists' personal accounts of the September 11 attacks.

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911: The Book of Help Michael Cart, Marianne Carus, Marc Aronson Cricket Books Children/Young Adults
More than 20 prominent young adult authors contributed to this collection of essays, poems, and stories about September 11. Ages 12 and up.
A Nation Challenged: A Visual History of 9/11 and Its Aftermath Mitchel Levitas, Nancy Lee, Lonnie Schlein Times Books. Photography
The editors of the New York Times juxtapose photographs and prose from their September 11 coverage.
A Nation Challenged: A Visual History of 9/11 and its Aftermath (Young Reader's Ed.) Scholastic Trade Children/Young Adults
A young adult version of A Nation Challenged. Combines photos, commentary, statistics, and graphics geared to a teen audience.
Above Hallowed Ground: A Photographic Record of September 11, 2001 Studio Books Photography
Photographic account of the September 11 terrorist attacks from the perspective of New York City police officers.
After the World Trade Center: Rethinking New York City Michael Sorkin, Sharon Zukin Routledge Rebuilding
A collection of essays on the past and future of the World Trade Center site from a prominent New York social critics and urbanists. What kind of downtown should emerge from the rebuilding process? That question is at the heart of this volume. The answers, though varied, each "call for a more democratic New York, one where the voices of all the people can be heard, not just the economically and politically powerful."

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Afterwords: Stories and Reports from 9/11 and Beyond Washington Square Press Anthologies: Poetry, Prose, And More
A collection of pieces from Salon.com that tackle September 11 from a wide range of perspective, from "an in-depth interview with controversial social critic Noam Chomsky, to a female Pakistani-American journalist's meeting with a Taliban leader and his wives, and essays on how sheer horror gave way to heartening solidarity, macabre spectacle, and kitschy sentimentality."

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America from the Heart: Quilters Remember September 11, 2001 Karey Bresenhan C & T Publishing Anthologies: Poetry, Prose, And More
This book features quilts made in response to 9/11. Proceeds will benefit the Families for Freedom Scholarship Fund.
American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center William Langewiesche North Point Press Historical Accounts
Originally appearing in installments in The Atlantic Monthly, this book documents the effort to clean up the site of the World Trade Center.

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American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us Steven Emerson The Free Press Political/Historical Background
Emerson argues that U.S.-based militant Islam groups threaten the country. Moreover, he contends that Muslim charitable organizations are fronts for international terrorists. The New York Times writes, "His information should be taken seriously--just not at face value."

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Among The Heroes: United Flight 93 and the Passengers and Crew Who Fought Back Jere Longman HarperCollins Historical Accounts
A "clear and forceful book"about United Flight 93 from the New York Times reporter who originally covered the story. The author weaves the stories of various passengers, crew members, and terrorists into his narrative.

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Before and After: Stories from New York Thomas Beller Mr. Beller's Neighborhood Books Anthologies: Poetry, Prose, And More
Drawn exclusively from submissions to mrbellersneighborhood.com, this collection highlights true stories from New Yorkers written in the days and weeks preceding and following September 11.
Bravemole Lynne Jonell Putnam Publishing Group Children/Young Adults
An allegorical retelling of 9/11 revolving around a community of moles that must defend itself against belligerent dragons. Ages 4-8.
Breakdown: How America's Intelligence Failures Led to September 11 Bill Gertz Regnery Publishing Political/Historical Background
The author argues that the September 11 attacks succeeded in large part because of mismanagement of U.S. intelligence agencies and meddlesome oversight from Congress. Rush Limbaugh calls Gertz's discoveries "shocking" and lauds him for performing "a great service for the people of this country. "

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Brotherhood McCourt and Rudolph Giuliani and Tom Von Essen Frank Sterling Publications Tributes And Stories About Victims
A tribute in photographs and words to the firefighters who dies on September 11. An unbroken list of their names traces the bottom of each page.

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Faces of Ground Zero: Portraits of the Heroes of September 11 Joe McNally, Little, Brown, and Co Photography
150 photographs of survivors from LIFE Magazine's Joe McNally. Includes a foreword by Rudy Giuliani .

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Fallen Heroes: A Tribute from Fire Engineering, September 11, 2001 Pennwell Publishers Photography
A book of photographs from September 11 honoring the firefighters who lost their lives in the World Trade Center collapse.
Father Mychal Judge: An Authentic American Hero Michael Ford Paulist Press Tributes And Stories About Victims
A biography of the beloved fire chaplain who died while administering the last rites to a victim on 9/11.
Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey Putnam Pub Group Juv Children/Young Adults
Geared to a pre-school to Grade 3 audience, this book explains the events of September 11, 2001 by recounting the story of the John J. Harvey, "the largest, fastest and shiniest fireboat of them all."

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Firehouse David Halberstam Hyperion Tributes And Stories About Victims
Originally an article for Vanity Fair, Firehouse chronicles Engine 40 and Ladder 35, which lost 12 men on September 11. Halberstam "does an extremely deft job of simultaneously rendering his portraits and moving the reader ever deeper into the horror of their fate."

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Here Is New York: A Democracy of Photographs Scalo Photography
A comprehensive collection of amateur and professional photographs of New York on and after September 11. Since opening its New York exhibition, Here Is New York has established itself as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to archiving and exhibiting these images around the world. This book contains nearly a thousand pages. The net proceeds from the book will be donated to charity.

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How Did This Happen? Terrorism and the New War Gideon Rose, James F. Hoge, Jr. Public Affairs Political/Historical Background
A series of essays by distinguished scholars and foreign policy experts seeks to answer this question. The essays explore the various circumstances that contributed to 9/11, including tensions in the Middle East, diplomacy, and the state of the military.
It's A Free Country: Personal Freedom in America after September 11, Vol. 1 Danny Goldberg, Victor Goldberg, Robert Greenwald Akashic Books Civil Liberties
A collection of pieces examining the Bush administration's "war on terrorism" and its implications for civil liberties. Includes a foreword by Cornel West, interviews with Congressman Barney Frank and Nat Hentoff, and pieces by Michael Moore, columnist Robert Scheer, cartoonist Matt Groening, Howard Zinn, and many others.
Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11 Thomas L. Friedman Farrar Straus & Giroux Political/Historical Background
Pulitzer Prize-winner and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman examines the state of global politics after September 11 in this collection of columns and unpublished journal entries. Curledup.com calls the book "thoughtful and highly recommended."

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Messages to Ground Zero: Children Respond to September 11, 2001 Shelley Harwayne (Compiler), New York City Board of Education, Heinemann Anthologies: Poetry, Prose, And More
This volume collects artwork, poetry, and letters written by New York City schoolchildren following 9/11.

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Militant Islam Reaches America Daniel Pipes Norton Political/Historical Background
In a series of essays, Daniel Pipes discusses the emergence of militant Islam and its arrival in western nations. The Washington Post calls it "engagingly written" but accuses Pipes of taking "simultaneously contradictory positions about the scale of the threat posed by militant Islam."

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New York September 11 powerHouse Cultural Entertainment, Incorporated. Photography
Members of the Magnum photography collective document the events of September 11, 2001 and the immediate aftermath. The Onion calls it "a deeply individualistic book, somewhere between journalistic record and personal catharsis."
New York September Eleven Two Thousand One Giorgio Baravalle, Cari Modine eds. Photography
This book memorializes the victims of the September 11 attacks by listing their names in a multipage spread. Also included are numerous photographs, as well as essays, poems, and reflections by notable contributors such as Noam Chomsky, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Thomas Friedman, Bill Moyers, Salman Rushdie, and Julian Schnabel. Proceeds will benefit the International Red Cross.
New York's Bravest Mary Pope Osborne, Steve Johnson (Illustrator), Lou Fancher Knopf Children/Young Adults
An homage to the firefighters who died on September 11, this picture book for 4-8 year-olds serves tells the legend of a heroic 19th century fireman.
On That Day Andrea Patel Tricycle Press Children/Young Adults
A picture book for pre-schoolers to second-graders that tries to make sense of the calamitous events of September 11. To be released September 2002.
One Nation: America Remembers September 11, 2001 Little Brown & Company Photography
Featuring an Introduction by Rudolph Giuliani, the editors of Life magazine have compiled this collection of photographs as a tribute to the victims and survivors of the attack on the World Trade Center.
Out of the Blue: The Story of Sept. 11, 2001, From Jihad to Ground Zero Richard Bernstein and Staff of The New York Times Times Books Political/Historical Background
Drawing largely from The New York Times' coverage, Bernstein constructs a narrative of the events of September 11 while placing them in the context of the emergence of radical Islamist movements.
Pilgrimage: Looking at Ground Zero Kevin Bubriski (Photographer), Richard B. Woodward (Afte PowerHouse Cultural Entertainment, Incorporated. Photography
Photographer Kevin Bubriski made four trips to Lower Manhattan from his home in Vermont in the weeks following September 11. His photographs attempt to capture the gamut of emotions that New Yorkers experienced as the dust began to settle. Foreword by the Dalai Lama. To be released September 2002.
Poetry After 9-11: An Anthology of New York Poets Dennis Loy Johnson et al. Melville House Publishing Anthologies: Poetry, Prose, And More
A compilation of mostly unpublished work from prominent New York poets. Some pieces provide eyewitness accounts of the tragedy, while others offer more abstract reflections upon its ramifications for life in New York.
Portraits 9/11/01: The Collected "Portraits of Grief" from The New York Times Howell Raines, et al. Times Books Tributes And Stories About Victims
In the months following September 11, 2001, The New York Times published a widely acclaimed section devoted to illuminating the personal lives of as many victims as possible. These "Portraits of Grief" are collected in this single volume.
Report from Ground Zero: The Story of the Rescue Efforts at Ground Zero Dennis Smith Viking Press Historical Accounts
A retired firefighter documents the rescue and recovery efforts in Lower Manhattan.
Running Toward Danger: Stories Behind the Breaking News of 9/11 Rowman & Littlefield Historical Accounts
The story of 9/11 told by the journalists who covered it.
September 11 Photo Project Michael Feldschuh. HarperCollins. Photography
The culmination of a three-month exhibit in SoHo, this book collects work from more than 500 photographers. These photographs are now on a nation-wide tour.
September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond William Heyen Etruscan Press Anthologies: Poetry, Prose, And More
William Heyen asked numerous writers and poets, some renowned and some obscure, to submit pieces that would illuminate how September 11 has affected us as individuals and "shaken our senses of identity and security."

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September 11: A Testimony Prentice Hall. Photography
Drawing together worldwide reportage of September 11 and its aftermath, the staff of Reuters aims to provide a comprehensive view of the tragedy.
September 11: An Oral History Dean E. Murphy Doubleday Historical Accounts
A collection of eye-witness oral accounts of the September 11 attacks compiled by a writer for The New York Times.
Strong Of Heart: Life And Death In The Fire Department Of New York Thomas Von Essen ReganBooks Memoirs
In a memoir that "manages the neat trick of not joining the avalanche of bargain-basement pieties about Sept. 11," former Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen reconstructs the disaster amid the backdrop of his 31-year experience with the New York Fire Department.

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The Age of Sacred Terror: Radical Islam's War Against America Daniel Benjamin, Steven A. Simon Random House Political/Historical Background
The authors discuss how and why the 9/11 attacks succeeded, why the United States failed to prevent them, and why radical Islam poses a threat to western nations.
The Age of Terror: America and the World After September 11 Strobe Talbott, Nayan Chanda, eds. Basic Books Political/Historical Background
A collection of essays examining foreign policy in a post-September 11 context. Publishers Weekly calls the book "comprehensive and thoughtful" and "sure to feed some readers' newly whetted appetites for information on the post-post-Cold War world".

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The American Spirit: Meeting the Challenge of September 11 Time, Inc., Home Entertainment. Photography
Second in a two-volume series, The American Spirit revisits some of the survivors whose stories appeared in the previous volume, One Nation. Photographs document the recovery of the World Trade Center site. Also included are essays by James Bradley and David McCullough and an introduction by George Bush.
The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot, and Why the F.B.I. and C.I.A. Failed to Stop It. John Miller and Michael Stone, with Chris Mitchell. Hyperion Political/Historical Background
ABC journalist John Miller recounts his 1998 meeting with Osama bin Laden. He and co-author Michael Stone attribute Al Qaeda's success on September 11 to significant intelligence failures on the part of the United States. Though it lacks footnotes and is of "questionable historical value," Miller and Stone support their arguments with ample anecdotal evidence.

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The Day Our World Changed: Children's Art of 9/11 Robin F. Goodman, Andrea Henderson Fahnestock Abrams,Harry N Inc. Children/Young Adults
A collection of artwork from New York City-area children and teenagers. Proceeds will benefit the New York University Child Study Center and the Museum of the City of New York.
The Day the World Came to Town Jim Defede Regan Books Historical Accounts
This "astonishing collection of touching stories"documents the experiences of the residents of Gander, a Newfoundland town that attended to thousands of airline passengers whose flights were diverted on September 11.

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The Heart of a Soldier: A Story of Love, Heroism, and September 11 James B. Stewart Simon & Schuster Tributes And Stories About Victims
The story of Rick Rescorla, a decorated soldier and the head of security at Morgan Stanley who helped 2,700 people reach safety on September 11 before dying in the collapse.

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Understanding September 11th: Answering Questions About the Attacks on America Mitch Frank Viking Childrens Books Children/Young Adults
Intended for readers age 12 and up, this volume attempts to explain the basic issues involved in the September 11 attacks. Utilizing a question-and-answer format, the author addresses questions such as "What is terrorism?" and "Why did the terrorists target the United States?"
What We Saw: The Events of September 11, 2001--In Words, Pictures, and Video Simon & Schuster Historical Accounts
Drawing from the CBS News archives, this book documents the events of the September 11 through photography, essays, and eyewitness accounts. It includes a full-length DVD.

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What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response Bernard Lewis Oxford University Press Political/Historical Background
A respected scholar of the region discusses why and how the Middle East fell from the forefront of civilization to a state of relative disarray. Ultimately, Lewis stacks the blame solely on the Arab and Muslim nations themselves. Publishers Weekly calls Lewis' arguments "inconsistent" and "recycled."

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Why Terrorism Works Alan M. Dershowitz Yale University Press Political/Historical Background
The renowned civil liberties attorney argues that "religiously inspired, state sponsored terrorist groups" pose the most significant threat to the world today. He searches for a way to stem this threat while preserving individual freedom. Elie Wiesel describes the book as "written with great clarity and perception."

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With Their Eyes: September 11„The View from a High School at Ground Zero Annie Thoms HarperTempest, Publisher. Children/Young Adults
With Their Eyes collects the firsthand accounts of the World Trade Center attack from students at nearby Stuyvesant High School.
Writing in the Dust: After September 11 Rowan Williams Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Theology/Spirituality
An Anglican scholar and the recently appoint archbishop of Canterbury ponders what it means to be a Christian following the September 11 attacks. The essay is less a political manifesto than a catalyst of contemplation and reflection.

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Leadership


 
Recently Released | Bookshelf

image of Leadership Cover
The buzz...

· Giuliani Says City Was Prepared for 9/11 by Eric Lipton (New York Times)

· Low-key Rollout for Giuliani Book by Paul Colford (Daily News)

· "Rudy's Book: How I Kissed & Made Up With Gov" by Robert Hardt Jr. (New York Post)

· For Giuliani, 'Leadership' Has Privileges by Dan Janison (Newsday)

The first of two books contracted between former mayor Rudy Giuliani and Miramax Books was published on October 1, 2002. "Leadership", as the title suggests, provides the mayor's insight into his leadership style - a mix of strong beliefs, managing fear, trying different plans, teamwork and communication (source: New York Sun) - which he feels is applicable to all areas of management. Spanning 288 pages and employing anecdotes from childhood to present day, it covers his time as a federal prosecutor and mayor.

Coverage and reviews of the book are thus far limited, owing to a low-key release. Outside of U.S. News, who put the former mayor on its October 7 cover and published exclusive excerpts, the New York Times has given the most coverage. A lengthy Sunday article is critical of the mayor, citing disparities between Giuliani's assessment of the city's preparedness for the events of September 11 and those of independent inquiries. Later, writer Eric Lipton expresses surprise at what Giuliani has excluded in protraying himself as "nice". "There is none of the lambasting of his political opponents... (and) no sections of the book recall that a central part of his leadership style while in office was ridiculing agencies he did not like" he writes.

Have you read the book? Give us info@gothamgazette.com">your opinion.

Recently Released

· Leadership by Rudolph Giuliani

Bookshelf
Articles About Books That Share A Genre Or Topic

September 11 Books (9/9/2002)
September 11 has spawned more books than any other single news event in history. Amazon.com lists nearly seven hundred 9/11-related titles in stock. Ingram Book Group, the country's largest book distributor, will release 150 new 9/11 books in the fall of 2002. Want something that strays from the mainstream? The Arts and Culture section of Rebuilding NYC includes a broad array of titles.

New Yorkers' Favorite Books (9/25/2000)
You've heard of The Power Broker and the Encyclopedia of the City of New York. But how about the Iconography of the Island of Manhattan, or The Mole People? Here are favorite New York books by historians, librarians, booksellers, a museum director, a politician, and many more...

Future Topics: New York During Wartime, Books About Neighborhoods, NYC Poetry -- info@gothamgazette.com?subject=NYC%20Books">you tell us.

Latest Arts and Culture News


Collections of September 11 In Culture

Books
Our list of September 11-related books, from former Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen's memoir "Strong of Heart" and the children's book "Bravemole" to the collected "Portraits of Grief" from the New York Times.

Film and Video Documentaries
This list of film documentariesincludes both short features and full-length documentaries made about September 11. Some include footage from that day, while other features focus on reaction after the attacks and different ways people have commemorated the date.

Museum Exhibitions
This list of museum exibitions (which ran at the time of the first anniversary of 9/11) focusing on September 11 includes all the exhibitions in New York City as well as some prominent showcases at the Smithsonian and other museums out of town.

Songs
A collection of songswritten about September 11. The songs come from many genres and include a broad range of emotional and political reactions to the September 11 attacks. Find out more about the music and listen to some audio clips.

Television After 9/11
Since the September 11 attacks, television has approached the tragedy in different ways. Aside from the 24-hour news coverage in the hours and days after, September 11 has also been addressed (and not addressed) in shows as diverse as "Third Watch" and "Politically Incorrect."

Theater
Our list of plays and other theatrical productionsthat respond to September 11 includes shows dealing with the aftermath of September 11. Previously exhibited plays are listed along with features that ran during the first anniversary of the attacks.

Visual and Performing Art
Our list of visual and performing artrelated to September 11 includes paintings and murals, photography exhibitions, dance and performance art.

 



Gotham Gazette Articles

Lincoln Center's Lessons for Ground Zero (08/20/03)
At the same time that Lincoln Center is "breaking up," there are plans to include a cultural center at Ground Zero. Martha Hostetter offers a list of mistakes made by Lincoln Center that the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation can avoid.

Building Community (09/09/02)
Martha Hostetter explains how the arts institutions suffered economically, even while artists helped build community.

Artists Talk About September 11 (05/10/02)
Five New Yorkers in the arts discussed life after September 11 in a panel that was part of the Tribeca Film Festival. Moderated by talk show host Jon Stewart, painter Karen Batten, performance artist Spalding Gray, actress Susan Sarandon, and playwright Wendy Wasserstein talked about their personal reactions to the events of September 11th and how it has affected their work as artists.

With a Collage of 9/11 Audio Clips, Artists Create a Ground Zero Walking Tour CD - Sep 11, 2004
From the hundreds of calls and audio clips they collected, the Kitchen Sisters created "The Sonic Memorial Project," created from hundreds of phone calls and audio clips related to 9/11, has been turned into an audio walking tour of the Trade Center site: "Ground Zero: A Sonic Memorial Soundwalk." (New York Times )

Marking 9/11's Anniversary on City Island - Sep 11, 2004
New York has its ends of the earth, odd little places so psychically removed from the rest of the city that they barely heed the urban scat. Places like City Island, that Bronx curio of a community lingering like an afterthought in the chop and sway of the Long Island Sound. But it is the second week in September, the third anniversary, and remote City Island is still New York City. (New York Times )

Football Star to Sing At 9/11 Anniversary Ceremony - Sep 10, 2004
A former football star, Morris Robinson will provide the soundtrack for Friday's ceremony at ground zero marking the third anniversary of 9/11. (New York Times )

Image of Twin Towers Remains Throughout City - Sep 9, 2004
They are lost, of course. But they have not disappeared. Three years after it seemed that the name and image of the twin towers would be mournfully expunged from the cityscape, the World Trade Center survives. Not on the skyline, but on street signs and shopping bags and book covers, in Fire Department insignia and the logo of the Alliance for Downtown New York, in a subway station and a parking garage, at the gateway to SoHo and in the lobby of an apartment building that was especially hard hit on Sept. 11, 2001. (New York Times )

Frederic Schwartz: Designer of Two 9/11 Memorials - Sep 9, 2004
Frederic Schwartz is standing on a peninsula at Liberty State Park where ground is to be broken tomorrow for the 9/11 memorial he has designed for New Jersey, only three-and-a-half hours after ground is broken in Westchester County for the 9/11 memorial he has designed there. But for a moment, his sad eyes are not focused on the empty sky across the Hudson River where the World Trade Center is supposed to be. (New York Times )

Art Exhibit Traces Children's Recovery from 9/11 - Sep 9, 2004
The magic marker drawing of an empty baseball diamond adorned with two little yellow crosses told Allison Hobbs just how much her 12-year-old son, Steven, misses his dad, who was killed on 9/11. (New York Daily News)

Photographing Ground Zero, Minute by Minute - Sep 8, 2004
In the fall of 2001 when the dust and ash from the World Trade Center were still in the air, Jim Whitaker, a documentary filmmaker, decided to photograph everything happening at ground zero. By the spring of 2002 three cameras were pointed at the pit, each taking one shot every five minutes, round the clock. Months later, three more cameras were added. That was the beginning of Project Rebirth, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a historical record of the rebuilding. (New York Times )

Covering the Terror, Again - Aug 25, 2002
Media coverage of the September 11 one-year anniversary will dwarf that of previous remembrances for the Oklahoma City bombing, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. (Newsday)

Theater Artists Commemorate 9/11 - Aug 21, 2002
One year after the terrorist attacks, nearly 150 theater artists will commemorate Sept. 11 with "Brave New World: American Theatre Responds to 9/11." The star-studded theater marathon, consisting of about 50 short plays and songs responding to the tragedy, will run Sept. 9 through Sept. 11 at the midtown performance venue Town Hall. (Newsday)

More Than 150 Sept. 11 Books to Hit Shelves - Aug 19, 2002
Ranging from glossy photography books to terrorism primers, more than 150 books about Sept. 11 and every issue surrounding it are flooding bookstores for the one-year anniversary. The publishers themselves admit there are too many books, and say they expect only mediocre sales. But bookstores, buoyed by strong sales from the earlier Sept. 11 books, are ordering nearly every book out there, even if only one or two copies. (Crain's New York Business)

A TV Rush, at Times Crass, Over Sept. 11 - Aug 19, 2002
With the first anniversary of the national trauma little more than three weeks away, news organizations are gearing up. Newspapers and news magazines are planning special sections or series. But it is broadcast journalists, whose medium demands immediacy, who may be feeling most competitive for access to the people they believe can help recapture the collective memory of last year's horror. (New York Times)

Smithsonian Struggles With 9/11 - Aug 13, 2002
Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's cell phone and baseball cap, a stairwell sign from the World Trade Center, a piece of limestone from the Pentagon, a uniform from a Navy officer who rescued a Pentagon victim. Those are some of the items that will be on display when the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History opens its exhibit, "September 11: Bearing Witness to History," on the anniversary of the attacks. (Associated Press)

Broadway Shows To Be Closed September 11 - Aug 6, 2002
Many Broadway theaters will go dark on Wednesday, Sept. 11, the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Traditionally, theaters offer matinee and evening performances on Wednesdays. The following shows have announced there will be no performances that day: "Aida," "Beauty and the Beast," "Chicago," "42nd Street," "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune," "The Graduate," "Into the Woods," "Les Miserables," "The Lion King," "Mamma Mia!," "Noises Off," "Oklahoma!," "Rent" and "Urinetown." (Newsday)

We Must Memorialize the Ultimate Sacrifice of the Uniformed Heroes of 9/11


One magnificent memorial to remember every precious life lost. An appropriate recognition of the uniformed rescue workers who willingly and selflessly gave the supreme sacrifice to save others. Keep the names of the rescuers together so they remain united.

This is the mission of our group, the Advocates for a 9/11 Fallen Heroes Memorial. A retired firefighter, I started the advocates group because I was concerned that there might not be a memorial to recognize the courage and sacrifice of the firefighters, and other rescue workers.

If the memorial design includes a wall, we hope to see engraved in it all the names of the equally precious civilians listed together, the firefighters listed together, with their name, rank, serial number and company, and the same with the New York police officers and other rescue workers killed on September 11. The memorial should properly and accurately reflect the valiant rescue effort and historic sacrifice of New York's uniformed rescue services. This in no way seeks to diminish the lives or careers of the cherished souls who were working in the trade center on that fateful day.

We cannot expect future generations to understand fully what those who came before saw, experienced and felt on 9/11. But, we can make sure that our children know enough to say, "Thank you."

What should the World Trade Center memorial mean to future generations? It should serve to educate and remind all who visit the memorial that the terrorists did not harm the American spirit. And the members of the fire department, police department and Port Authority who knowingly and willingly responded to the World Trade Center tragedy on 9/11 greatly reflected that spirit as they gave the ultimate sacrifice so others could live. Over 25,000 people were saved because of the efforts of the uniformed men and women. And it should be noted for historical record.

The board members of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation unanimously voted this past April on a resolution to ensure that the permanent memorial on the World Trade Center site not bear any "hierarchy of victims." In other words, no separate designations for the uniformed rescue workers who sacrificed their lives to save others.

There is no question that it is vitally important to honor the loss of life equally and remember all who died in the September 11th attack, as well as the 1993 bombing. Each innocent life lost was precious and our city continues to mourn as we remember the victims of our city, state and nation's most devastating terrorist attack. The permanent memorial will inspire us, and future generations, to continue to reflect on their lives and our loss.

However, every brave step forward our firefighters, police officers and emergency workers took in the midst of the tragedy must also be remembered.

We cannot forget the image of our uniformed members of the emergency service departments rushing into the burning towers as they selflessly honored their commitment to serve and protect. It is now time to make sure future generations do not forget as well. This in no way detracts from or places less value on the lives of civilians.

The development corporation's guiding principles state the memorial should recognize "courage and sacrifice." However, the board's move to permanently block this recognition seems to contradict the very spirit of their very mission. What is worse, it fails to demonstrate sincere gratitude and understanding of the sacrifice made by our fallen rescue workers.

Surely honoring their willingness to lay down their lives for others by designating a part of the greater memorial for them is the least we can do. We need to embrace our heroes left behind so we can go forward knowing they did not die in vain and we will remain forever grateful for their sacrifice.

We are thankful to Kevin Rampe of the development corporation for clearing up some of our concerns regarding this matter, and hopeful that the jury will honor the memorial guidelines' requirement to honor the role of the rescue workers.

On the fateful morning of September 11th, Battalion Chief Orio Palmer led his men of Battalion 7 far up the South Tower to the burning 78th Floor. Audiotapes of Chief Palmer's radio transmissions from the crash zone released one year after the tragedy are a resounding reminder of the courage and bravery of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. In the tapes, Chief Palmer does not sound fearful or panicked. Rather, he can be heard signaling to those on the ground that he would continue to climb higher into the inferno to come to the aid of the victims who were counting on him to be there.

We must never forget the pride we felt the days, weeks and months following September 11th. We were proud to be Americans. And we were proud of our firefighters, police officers and rescue workers. They were our heroes. And we were grateful.

We must now make sure our gratitude is forever remembered by future generations on the site of New York City's uniformed rescue services' greatest sacrifice. They did their job. We must now do ours.

Chief Palmer's 12-year old son Keith said it best in a poem he dedicated to his father that was recited at his funeral. He wrote, "because of you, I am a hero's son."

10-4, Keith.

And New York will always remember.

John Finucane, a retired FDNY Lieutenant, serves as Chairman for the Advocates for a 9/11 Fallen Heroes Memorial.

The Memorial Hearing


Hundreds of firefighters and family members of rescue workers who died on September 11 packed the Tribeca Performing Arts Center on May 28, urging the members of the jury selecting a 9/11 memorial that the design must list the affiliations of rescue workers who died in the World Trade Center attacks. Some, holding up signs that said, "They went in together, let them stay together," said that the firefighters who died should be listed together with the members of their company, not listed alphabetically.

"If it wasn't for them, you would need twice as much space for a memorial because there would be twice as many victims," said Chris Ganci, whose father, Chief of the Fire Department Pete Ganci, died on 9/11.

Other victim's family members said the memorial should not show some victims as more worthy of recognition. "Please ensure that the truth of the day is told, honestly and equally," Julie Boryczewski, whose younger brother, a trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, died on 9/11, told the jury. "Once separations are made, integrity is lost within the whole."

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's guidelines say that the memorial should "honor the loss of life equally and the contributions of all without establishing any hierarchies," but the memorial competition's rules do not specifically bar designers from including a victim's job, rank or title.

Others at the hearing told jury members to use different criteria when chosing a design. Carl Weisbrod, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York and a development corporation board member, said that the jury should chose a design that brings Daniel Libeskind's plan for a sunken memorial space up to street level.

The deadline for registering to enter the design competition was May 29. Over 13,000 people registered, more than any design competition in history. They will have until June 30 to submit their designs, and the jury will spend the rest of the summer evaluating them.

"I would urge the jury to prefer designs that really go the extra mile in creating ways for future visitors to experience each of these individual people," said Michael Kuo, a victim's family member who works at Imagine New York, "so that they can know how special my father was, and how special everyone who was lost was."

Give Us Back Our Neighborhood


 

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On September 11th, I was standing in front of P.S. 234, where my eight-year-old son is a student, when the World Trade Center was attacked a few blocks away. Suddenly the neighborhood where I had lived for 16 years became nothing resembling a place to live. As the only person on the new Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Corporation who actually lives in Lower Manhattan, I see part of my job as representing my neighbors and helping to make the neighborhood around "Ground Zero" better than ever.

I was one of the lucky residents. I was evacuated from my home for only five days, because they thought the gas lines in the building might blow up.

At least 30,000 of the 50,000 residents were displaced in those first few days and weeks. Three months after the attacks, nobody knows exactly how many are still displaced, since many people have decided to move out permanently, but a rough estimate would be 6,000.

Twenty five percent of the children are in group counseling. Some have been moved to other schools where there are 80 children in a classroom.

People have lost so much. They would like to stay downtown, but they need support. There's been tremendous resilience, but there's also been tremendous trauma. People are still very nervous, very afraid, very unsettled.

The city has not been very helpful. If you walk along Pier 25 on West Street, you can see 15 to 20 trucks idling, the debris in the back uncovered. Much of that debris contains asbestos. A crane picks up the debris and drops it on to a barge, which also disperses dust and asbestos into the air.

This is a 24-hour-a-day operation. It happens right next to Stuyvesant High School where there are 3,500 students and the Borough of Manhattan Community College where there are 15,000 students. Across the street, 5,000 people live in Independence Plaza and the surrounding buildings.

We are trying to get it closed between midnight and six a.m., so the thousands of people living nearby can get some sleep. The workers want it to happen. The construction companies want it to happen. But the city's Office of Emergency Management has been unresponsive.

The clean-up began as an emergency effort. But we are no longer in an emergency, so there is no reason we cannot improve the process of the clean up.

We have asked them to put the material in closed containers at the site, so less debris is released into the air as it is transported. We are trying to get the cranes and trucks to use low sulfur fuel. We have asked that a net be put on the side of Stuyvesant High School to keep the debris from coming into the building. The site where the debris is loaded from trucks onto a barge, should also be moved further north toward Canal Street, where there are fewer residents. Setting up this new site would take nine days to complete, but would greatly improve life for those in the area.

Stuyvesant High School is still the only school in the area near the World Trade Center that has reopened. The teachers and the students came back with the understanding that there would be a new air filtration system put in and that the schools could hire their own air quality testers. Months later, these things still have not happened. Several parents wanted to transfer their students elsewhere temporarily, especially those who have respiratory ailments, but the Board of Education said that if they do not return, the students will be discharged from the school permanently.

We have to prepare our other schools for reuse before the students return. That means cleaning them and putting in new air filtration systems to keep dust and asbestos from coming back into the building. We also have to deal with the psychological aspects of bringing children back to a school that they were evacuated from. The children in the area saw the towers fall. Now we have to make them feel as at home as possible.

Community Board 1 is also the only one in New York City without an indoor recreation facility. Our grassy fields have been paved over as part of the clean up. The pier that was an outdoor recreation center that was used for summer camps and after-school programs is now being used as a dump. As a temporary solution, there is a proposal to put a temporary bubble to be built on city land that can be used as recreation until development begins again in the area.

Streets all over the area are being torn up for new telephone, gas, and electricity lines. There is going to have to be a whole new infrastructure underground. We are asking for a reasonable reconstruction plan so the digging is done in a coordinated fashion. Often now, a street is dug up by one agency, covered up, and then dug up the next day by another agency. We need a plan that lets members of the community use the streets and get some sleep.

Madelyn Wils is the chair of Community Board 1 and a member of the newly appointed Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Corporation.

Click here to read Etta Sanders' "Living Near Ground Zero"

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The 9/11 Memorial Belongs to All of America: It Should Not Be Compromised Behind Closed Doors


The future memorial at the World Trade Center site belongs to all of America and must be treated with the same historical reverence as comparable sites in American history such as Shanksville Pennsylvania, Pearl Harbor, Gettysburg, and the Oklahoma City National Memorial. Transportation infrastructure and commercial development do not have a place in the sacred space within the bathtub area of the World Trade Center site where most of the remains of those murdered on September 11 were found.

The Coalition of 9-11 Families, where I am a board member, the Civic Alliance to Rebuild Downtown New York and many other civic groups are concerned that "America's Memorial" at the World Trade Center site is being considerably modified beyond recognition behind closed doors. The memorial has been and continues to be compromised by political and economic agendas. The results will be detrimental to our country's legacy.

An early compromise happened when Daniel Libeskind's design for the World Trade Center site was modified. Libeskind's original design went down six stories below street level, preserving the bedrock of the bathtub area of the World Trade Center site and designating the space for a memorial. In December 2002, the architect described his motivation for preserving this area in the following statement: "We have to be able to enter this hallowed, sacred ground, while creating a quiet, meditative and spiritual place. We need to journey down, some 70 feet into Ground Zero, onto the bedrock foundation, a procession with deliberation into the deep indelible footprints of Tower One and Two."

As the development corporation sought public input on the nine different designs for ground zero, Libeskind's design emerged as the plan the public wanted to see realized. But when the chosen design was revealed at a press conference in February 2003, it had changed considerably. The new plan only went three stories below street level. During the press conference no information was given on what would comprise the three additional stories, and no word was given on what would grace the sacred bedrock of the bathtub area.

Due to the advisory capacity in which we, the leaders of the Coalition of 9-11 Families serve, the Port Authority and Lower Manhattan Development Corporation privately informed us that they were considering plans to build a bus garage, transportation infrastructure, and perhaps even retail within this area of the site.

The efforts of the Coalition of 9-11 Families to clarify our position and to reveal the truth about the direction of the redevelopment process have been stymied. The Coalition of 9-11 Families is the largest September 11 advocacy entity. Comprised of major September 11 family organizations, we represent the memorial position of thousands of family members, survivors, rescue workers and concerned Americans. Our leadership has personally communicated our position to Governor Pataki and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. It is time to publicly set the record straight.

Our united vision is to:

Preserve from bedrock to infinity the sacred ground within the area surrounded by the "slurry wall." This area contains the bedrock footprints of the North and South Towers, the Marriott Hotel and World Trade Center 6. We define this area as sacred ground because this is the area of the site where the largest concentration of remains (nearly 20,000) of those murdered on September 11 were recovered.

We are opposed to any and all transportation (for example, the bus garage or other infrastructure) and commercial development (for example, a mall, retail, office space) within this area of the site. The memorial must be the centerpiece of the redevelopment. We conceded to the infringement of the PATH train station within this area as long as it is incorporated into the memorial (for example, it could be named Sept. 11 Memorial Station). We've also communicated that in the event that Greenwich Street and Fulton Street are extended through the site, they must be pedestrian only.

Ensure that a memorial museum to Sept. 11 is erected within the area encased by the "slurry wall," and that museum is dedicated to Sept. 11 and February 26, 1993 only; we oppose any inclusion of other themes/issues within the memorial museum.

Secure a repository in the area encased by the "slurry wall" where all unidentified and unclaimed remains of the individuals murdered on Sept. 11 can be interred.

Ensure that all new World Trade Center construction is hallmarked by quality, safety and security, and built under the legal jurisdiction of local building and fire codes. (The former World Trade Center, built by the Port Authority, was immune from federal, state, and city building and fire codes.)

Pledge to continue to petition political and redevelopment leaders to include an adequate number of family members, survivors and rescue workers in the decision making process

If these important principles are considered and plans behind closed doors cease, "America's Memorial" at the World Trade Center site can be realized and American history will be preserved for this and future generations.

Anthony Gardner's brother Harvey Joseph Gardner III was killed in the September 11 attacks. Gardner is President of WTC United Family Group, a board member of the Coalition of 9-11 Families and a member of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Family Advisory Council.

Competing to Design the 9/11 Memorial


Mario Gentile was one of 13,683 people from around the world who promised, by the 5 p.m. deadline on Monday, June 30th, to submit their designs for a 9/11 memorial on the site of the World Trade Center. Gentile had never designed anything like this before, but he decided to enter the international memorial competition because, he says, he needed to put his strong feelings "on paper."

Gentile may well be typical of those who entered the competition in at least one important way: However spontaneous and emotional his initial impulse, he is far from an amateur. A graduate of the Columbia School of Architecture, he makes his living designing Manhattan interiors. Indeed, some say it would have been difficult for a complete architectural amateur to have met the demanding technical guidelines set forth by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.

Those who did send in designs had to figure out how their proposal would best memorialize September 11, even as those closest to the tragedy disagreed on the details and concepts for the memorial. They also were presented with both a lengthy list of guidelines and a hint from the development corporation that the winning design may be one that need not follow the rules after all.

The Competition
Each would-be memorialist pre-registered for the competition in May. They received a number, so that all of the submissions will be anonymous, and then had a month to finish their designs and send them in. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has not yet released the number of people who have mailed in their proposals.

The memorial jury -- made up of artists, architects and academics, as well as a downtown resident and a victim's family member -- will spend all summer evaluating the designs. They will not know any of the designers' names until after they agree on five finalists this fall.

This is a good thing, said Gentile, because it puts the focus on the design itself. Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer Maya Lin, now a member of the 9/11 jury, won that 1981 anonymous memorial competition when she was an undergraduate student at Yale.

Downtown architect Frederic Schwartz, along with other architects in the THINK team, was a finalist in the competition to design the entire World Trade Center site earlier this year, but ultimately lost to Daniel Libeskind. Schwartz is now entering this second competition run by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, this time for the memorial. "I think they did an excellent job of setting up the competition by going around the world, looking at competitions, carefully writing a program, carefully writing a mission statement.... And the jury -- now, it's an excellent jury. It's good because it's diverse," said Schwartz, who has entered 50 architectural competitions in the last 25 years.

Although the contest is open to anyone age 18 or older (and, officials have said that even those under 18 can enter with an adult), some say that the guidelines are so detailed that only an architect would be able to create a design that follows the rules. They are "way too strict," said Gentile. "The more limitations, the less people [will be able to compete]," he explained.

The guidelines tell designers to create a memorial that recognizes each person who was killed in the September 11 attacks in New York, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania, as well as the victims of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Manhattan architects Raul A. Smith and Clementina Ruggieri said that they worked together to create one design that not only met the requirement to individually recognize the victims, but "also one which engages all the volunteers and, ultimately, anyone in the world who feels the need to heal by going to Ground Zero."

The guidelines also say that the design needs to create a space for "contemplation," "make visible the footprints" where the World Trade Center towers stood and convey the "historical authenticity" of September 11. Designers are told to situate their memorial -- which will need to accommodate 8,000 to 50,000 visitors a day -- in the 4.7-acre site set aside for the competition.

However, the development corporation has suggested that the rules may not be binding after all, leaving competitors unclear about just how flexible the contest is. Designs that do not stay inside boundaries specified for the competition "may be considered by the jury if, in collaboration with the LMDC, they are deemed feasible and consistent with site plan objectives," according to the development corporationÕs guidelines.

Controversies and Compromise
This is surely one of the most publicized memorial competitions in history, and all of the attention may have created even more challenges for would-be designers, not only architectural challenges, but also emotional ones. This may be one reason why people like Rosemary Jensen, registered for the competition but didn't ultimately send in a design. Jensen, a freelance publications production artist said that she just couldn't come up with a design that fit.

Many of those closest to the September 11 tragedy have conflicting, and very emotional, opinions, which they have shared in public forums and private meetings.

"You can't take a public opinion poll," said Schwartz. "People from maybe the same family might say build nothing there or build the world's tallest building there... You would hope it would heal everybody's wounds but it won't."

Controversies over the memorial abound, over what the details of the design should be to how it should be situated. Even though rebuilding officials selected Libeskind's overall design for Ground Zero -- with its designated space for the memorial -- way back in February, people continue to argue over the space for the memorial. While Libeskind sunk the memorial space 30 ft. below ground level, exposing the World Trade Center's original foundations, some downtown residents are upset with the idea of a large hole in the middle of everything, fearing it will cut off neighborhoods. Many victims' family members, however, consider the plot sacred ground and approve of how Libeskind's design sets it apart.

While Schwartz did not give the details of his design, or say whether or not it puts the memorial 30 feet below, Gentile said that his design (in pdf format) incorporates the sunken space. "I think the scar should be left in the earth," he said. "It is not going to cut off [the neighborhood]. I think it will be an improvement from what was there."

Listing the Names
Another tense debate over the memorial concerns how the names of the victims should be listed (if the chosen design does indeed include a list, guidelines merely stipulate that each victim should be individually recognized). Family members of firefighters who died on September 11 are passionate that they should be listed together, with their titles,

But others say that separating the victims of 9-11 would suggest that some of the people who died were more important than others.

"There is a question about what's the difference between a military memorial and a memorial for a tragedy that occurred that involved people of various different status," said Reinhold Martin, who directs the Advanced Architectural Design program at Columbia University's School of Architecture and is closely following the competition. "Firefighter is probably in between in the popular imagination; in between a soldier and a regular citizen."

How are the designers mitigating such conflicting desires? "You do it as you live life," said Schwartz. "You try to make the best decisions. I don't think you can make all of this a compromise, because if everything is a compromise you'll have a compromise. It is just finding what you think in your heart is right. Heart has to dictate over intellect."

In his design, Gentile created a field of columns, each inscribed with the name and description of one of the victims. He arranged the columns so that the first rows would be the rescue workers, then those in the planes, then people who worked in the towers.

It is not just the architects who will have to worry about pleasing the public. The jury members will have the difficult task of selecting something that conflicting groups can agree on. "The jury is not in isolation. They will be affected by the public, even if they don't realize it; by the mixed feelings many people have about how this is working," said Martin. "What they should be focusing on, I think, is some kind of dignity or discretion as opposed to kitsch. It's very difficult to avoid kitsch in this circumstance. They're going have to balance the sense of discretion against this media-driven demand for some sort of more spectacular thing."

Striving to Memorialize 9/11
More people registered for the September 11 memorial competition than any other design competition in history. While the number of people who actually sent in designs has not yet been released, it is clear that architects, designers and regular people around the world were overwhelmingly compelled to create a memorial for 9/11.

"Through our design we simply want to be another voice," said Smith, who entered the contest with Ruggieri. "And we hope that, as a voice among many, we can contribute to a more meaningful selection process."

"My incentive is doing something great for all the people," said Schwartz. "Just as a dancer or an artist has some abilities given to them, I have certain abilities so I want to use them to do something for these people who were murdered. For their memory, for their families, for the city, I want to give something back. That's what it is; that's why I do public work."

Martin has a very different take. "Fame is the incentive, but they wouldn't tell you that."

The Pentagon Memorial's Lessons for New York


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The Pentagon design.

 

 

By the time New York City's September 11 memorial jury narrows the Ground Zero memorial competition down to five finalists, the Pentagon will have already broken ground on its memorial - selected way back in March - for the 184 victims who died there on 9/11.

Many in New York wonder how the rebuilding and memorial process in Washington D.C. has gone so quickly, and seemingly so smoothly, as New Yorkers still struggle with some of the most basic questions about rebuilding. And some families of those who died in the attack on the World Trade Center - many of whom have struggled since the beginning for a voice in the rebuilding process - are surprised to learn of the extent to which Pentagon family members were consulted and included. Some involved in the memorial process in New York are asking, should we follow the Pentagon's example?

A Fast Pace
The response in Washington has been markedly different than in New York. Just one day after American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into a portion of the Pentagon's outer ring, Pentagon officials put rebuilding efforts in motion. While many civilians were killed at the Pentagon, including 59 airline passengers, the attacks were handled with military efficiency. The day after the attacks, the Pentagon announced their plan to have the destroyed area rebuilt within twelve months. On the one-year anniversary of September 11, 3,000 dislocated Pentagon employees were moved into new offices in the rebuilt wing.

Planning for a memorial to the 184 people killed in the Pentagon attacks progressed as expeditiously. The Baltimore office of the Army Corps of Engineers took charge of the memorial site selection and design in the month following 9/11. Their first point of order was to solicit advice from family members of those killed, who organized into a Family Member Steering Committee.

In July 2002, the Corps announced an open, international competition to design the memorial, with guidelines largely developed by the families. It called for a design that would sit on a 1.98-acre site, just 165 feet from where the plane hit the building, and that would "speak generally - as the U.S. government's official response, it represents all Americans, and specifically - it must also embody the deeply personal tragedy that the events of that day visited on the families of the victims." The competition was judged by a 13-member jury, which included two family members.

In just three days, the jury sifted through more than 1,100 entries, and selected six finalists, who were given eight weeks and $20,000 to produce a more detailed plan of their proposal. On March 3, 2003, five days after Daniel Libeskind's chosen design for the World Trade Center site garnered worldwide attention, the jury announced the winner in the Pentagon Memorial competition: the design by Kaseman Beckman Amsterdam Studios.

The Memorial: Light Benches
The architects, Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman, both recent graduates of the Columbia architecture program, were living in New York on September 11, 2001. Both are relatively unknown designers with no major projects. At the center of their scheme, which is called "Light Benches," 184 benches - each bearing the name of a victim killed in the Pentagon attacks - are cantilevered over small, lit pools. The benches are ordered along what Beckman and Kaseman call an "age line," ranging from 3 years for the youngest victim, to 71 for the oldest. To find a victim's name, a visitor to the memorial would locate the year in which that person was born, and then travel along that line to the birth day. The benches are also oriented along the flight path that American Airlines Flight 77 was traveling moments before crashing into the Pentagon. A grove of 70 cedar trees surrounds the field of benches.

Construction of the memorial is scheduled to begin this summer and be completed by September 2005. Like most memorials, the Pentagon 9/11 memorial will be funded through private donations rather than by public money.

Victims' family members, who have been at the forefront of the Pentagon memorial process since the first meeting in November 2001, have assumed much of the responsibility for fundraising.

Involving the Families
In both New York and D.C., victims' family members were closely involved in planning the guidelines and mission for each memorial. But at the Pentagon, family members were given a more significant role in choosing the winning design. The memorial jury invited family members to view all of the original 1,100 competition entries, even before the jury began going through them. Their comments were shared with the jury. "Family members have always been the primary decision makers," said Brett Eaton, spokesman for the Pentagon Renovation Project, the agency that is managing the memorial construction.

In New York, the memorial jury is reviewing the 5,200 designs submitted to the competition in private. "I think that the families would appreciate having an opportunity to review the finalists prior to the decision," said Imagine New York coordinator Michael Kuo, whose father died on 9/11, "but I do believe that the jury should have the ultimate say. I wouldn't want to mislead the families into thinking that they have a chance to lobby for one design over another."

Involving the families of Pentagon victims was easier than in New York for several reasons. First, there were far fewer families, a majority of whom were members of a military family, where compromise and agreement is an accepted way of life. As Jim Laychak, a competition juror whose brother died at the Pentagon on September 11, said, "It was important for the family members to be united, and to compromise when necessary. We all wanted the best memorial, and so our focus was to work together to make that happen."

The World Trade Center site memorial jury has one victim's family member, Paula Grant Berry. At public hearings about the memorial, some family members of those who died on 9/11 have said that Grant Berry should not be their sole representative. "I would have loved to see more family members on the jury," said Monica Iken, who lost her husband in the World Trade Center attacks and went on to establish September's Mission, "But D.C. was a different dynamic. There, families are the primary stakeholders. But here, there are so many different interests - the owner, the builder, downtown residents. Family members are just one strong voice among so many others."

"A lot of families have said they're very comfortable with one family member. Some said they wanted none, as they thought that families were just too close to the situation. For this same reason, no Vietnam veterans were on the jury to design the Vietnam memorial," said Anita Contini, who is the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation official in charge of the memorial. "Family members did have meetings with the jury and the jury is aware of the families' point of view, as well as the point of view of other stakeholders - residents, the international community and the communities of those impacted by the attacks at the Pentagon, Shanksville and in 1993."

Kuo said that he feels that having high-caliber design professionals on the jury - even if that means less representation from family members - is very important. "Take a look at Maya Lin's sketches from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial competition," he says. "If I were on that jury, I would have never been able to visualize how those black, white, green and blue pastel sketches would somehow be developed into what is widely acknowledged as the most powerful memorial in the country today."

Different Places
Another significant difference between the two memorials may be that at the Pentagon site, the remains of all but five people were identified. In New York, however, the World Trade Center site is the final resting place for hundreds of people whose remains were not identified. This makes questions about rebuilding, and memorializing, much more complicated. The Pentagon, a government building in the suburbs of Washington D.C., is also a different sort of place than Ground Zero, in the heart of lower Manhattan.

Reed Kroloff, former editor of Architecture magazine and an advisor to the Pentagon memorial competition, said, "While the Pentagon is a public space, it's still a military building. Had this happened to the Washington Monument or the Lincoln Memorial - icons of the city - the response would have been far different, and far more difficult."

New York and Washington are, of course, just different cities in general. New York is a designer's town, and a place where discourse, and disagreement, have often led to some of the city's best projects. As Terry Riley, architecture curator at MOMA and Chairman of the Pentagon Memorial Jury said, "New Yorkers have a tendency for critical discourse more than any other place. It helps to define who we are as a city."

Aimee Molloy is the Director of Exhibits at the Municipal Art Society. The exhibit "Results of the Competition to Design the Pentagon Memorial" is on view at the Urban Center Galleries, 457 Madison Avenue, through August 12, 2003.

A Resident's Hopes for the Memorial


As the 9/11 memorial jury prepares to sort through design applications for the international memorial competition, I continue think about what I want the memorial to be. While I have no specific physical vision - I leave that to those with the creative ability to turn concepts into reality - I have been contemplating three questions: What are we memorializing? Who is the memorial for? What should the memorial mean for future generations? My answers to these questions are inevitably influenced by my own biases and experiences, which include witnessing the first plane hit the north tower and remaining at my home in Tribeca throughout the aftermath of 9/11.

What are we memorializing?
I believe that we are memorializing a moment in time - a moment when the unthinkable happened; a moment that touched and brought together the entire world community. This transformative moment necessarily and appropriately focuses on those who lost their lives that day and what their sacrifice can teach those of us who survived and those who will come after us.

Who is the memorial for?
9/11 was not a local event: it resonated across borders and cultures and the entire world reached out to help. As horrible as it was, 9/11 demonstrated that we are truly one interconnected and interdependent global community. Thus, the memorial cannot belong to any one individual or group of individuals. The memorial should be a legacy for everyone throughout the world.

What should the memorial mean for future generations?
Whatever is built - or not built - on the World Trade Center site will inevitably acquire meaning and symbolic value. For me, the meaning of the memorial should be community. 9/11 was a shared experience that bound us together in many overlapping and distinct communities. They include those who lost their lives that day, the community of families and friends of those who died, the community of those who lived and worked in lower Manhattan, the city itself, the country, and the entire world.

Those of us who lived below Canal Street and elected not to evacuate after 9/11 discovered a very special sense of community in the weeks immediately following the attacks. We gathered on street corners to hold vigils and sing old songs. Those who had electricity, or phones, or hot water opened their homes to those who did not. We entered into intimate conversations with those who, heretofore, were only nodding acquaintances. The experience of coming together as a community in the aftermath of this horrible tragedy rekindled my belief in the possibility of creating a better world: a world that has learned that violence only begets violence and hate begets hate.

My dream is that the memorial will convey the possibility of this better world and hold it up as an attainable idea. As the memorial mission statements says so well, "May the lives remembered, the deeds recognized, and the spirit reawakened be eternal beacons, which reaffirm respect for life, strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and inspire and end to hatred, ignorance and intolerance."

In many ways, the World Trade Center was the center of lower Manhattan before 9/11. Now it is forever our physical and spiritual heart and one that, I believe, can and should be shared with the rest of the world. The memorial can be a place where people come to learn what it means to be part of a world community and gain personal resolve to make the world a better place.

Three criteria could serve as guidelines in creating such a memorial: it needs to be accessible; connected, and integrated.

Accessible
The memorial must be accessible, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It should go without saying that the memorial needs to be accessible to all regardless of physical or mental abilities. It needs to be hospitable to strangers and those without prior knowledge of 9/11. This being New York City, accessibility necessarily includes being pedestrian friendly and promoting public transportation as the best way to get to and fro. I don't think accessibility necessarily requires bringing the memorial to street level, as some have suggested. Given that Daniel Liebskind's design for the site, with the memorial 30 feet below street level, was chosen, I see that as the starting point and any significant changes should be consistent with the overall intent.

Accessibility also entails enabling those who visit the memorial to get in touch with the emotions of the day and their own heart. And it should be possible for visitors to connect with the larger, spiritual meanings of 9/11 without the distractions of specific religious symbols or practices.

Connected
An effective memorial will connect the past, present, and future and can also serve to bridge differences between individuals and communities. From a very parochial perspective, my hope is that the memorial somehow connects the surrounding neighborhoods, since the World Trade Center site is the hub that connects Battery Park City, South Greenwich, the Financial District and Tribeca.

Even more important, however, is building connections that bridge and promote understanding of cultural, racial, and ethnic differences, which all to frequently lead to suspicion, hate, and violence. To do this, the memorial must provide connections to those who died by telling their stories - their deaths have meaning that must not be forgotten. The most important connection and ultimate indicator of success, however, will be creating the memory links that help future generations understand and make sense of this experience. The memorial needs to build connections to those yet to be born and help them have a direct connection with 9/11.

Integrated
My personal hope is that the memorial becomes an integrated and inspirational part of the neighborhood and the fabric of New York City. Without diminishing the importance of dedicated space for remembrance and contemplation, I think that an effective memorial should be an integral part of daily life, much as the grounds at Trinity Church are. Furthermore, I believe that the entire site - not just the "formal" memorial - should be a tribute to those who perished on 9/11 and to those who lived through the experience. For me, this means creating a vibrant, livable, dynamic, mixed-use community that incorporates the lessons of 9/11 and serves as a model for what it might look like to end hatred and ignorance and promote peace. This community should be a model for sustainable development, have buildings that exceed all current safety standards, and respect the fact that people make a city - and the world - thrive and be successful.

Ultimately, the memorial needs to recognize and reconcile the needs and concerns of everyone involved - those who live and work downtown, those who died on 9/11 and their families, those who come to visit and learn from this tragedy, and the entire global community. Because the World Trade Center site has acquired an important symbolic value to the entire world, the importance of what is done there cannot be overstated. My hope is that both the process and the end product channel our passions in ways that foster community in its true sense, globally and locally. The memorial should provide ways to incorporate the lessons of 9/11 as we discover new ways to live together.

Tim Lannan has lived and worked in Tribeca since 1994 and is an active member of several local organizations, including Manhattan Community Board 1 and Neighbors Against N.O.I.S.E.

My Memorial


Unlike many people who lost someone on 9/11, I have been in a unique position to affect the memorial process from a variety of critical standpoints and to listen to what people have to say. I helped draft the mission statement for the memorial, I am a member of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's Family Advisory Council, and I am the head of Imagine New York. Last month, Imagine New York engaged 2,800 people in public workshops and on our website, to gather the public's thoughts on the eight memorial designs. At the same time they gave others the chance to explore their reactions to the memorial designs, these workshops helped me with my own personal feelings about a 9/11 memorial.

When I first saw the designs I was overwhelmed, and I was looking forward to hearing what others had to say about them to help me grasp what they meant. Let me just admit that I'm not a person whoÕs crazy about art. My so-called "museum tolerance" is about an hour to an hour-and-a-half. I usually breeze through most exhibits, stopping for a minute at only a handful of pieces. I'm more interested in looking at the people looking at the art. By contrast, my training in urban planning has given me the ability to look at a site plan and understand it in three dimensions. Although these memorials do have a multi-layered quality to them, they also have something else that is difficult for me as an individual to grasp...poetry.

However, through these memorial designs, and the responses to them, I was able to develop some of my own personal thoughts about my own 9/11 experience.

At times I have grappled with an investigatory impulse to try to imagine what my father, Frederick Kuo Jr., was doing in the minutes between the 2nd plane's impact with the South Tower and the tower's collapse 55 minutes later. I know he was alive when the plane crashed into the building. I suspect that he had enough time and a clear enough path to escape. Why didn't he make it out? Was it because there simply wasn't enough time for him to navigate his way down 1,300 some odd feet to safety? Or was it because he stopped to help people along the way, never imagining that those behemoths would fall?

Whatever the case, it doesn't matter. He didn't make it out and now I'm faced with the only thing that I can have any effect on -- how to remember who he was and where he was when he died, and how to share that with people who will never know him but must be able to understand the incomprehensible. My sense of loss can be multiplied out to the thousands of other families who lost loved ones, and the millions of others who lost a part of themselves as well. It is my belief that the memorial should have a plurality of meanings but a universal significance for all those affected. So many people lost, so many lives changed irrevocably and with profound suddenness and without choice.

After my first viewing, my impressions were mixed. I was appreciative of the individual designers efforts and the jury's monumental task of viewing and critiquing them, but I also thought that the designs were lacking things I wanted to see. I also understood that my opinions of these designs would change, perhaps wildly, over the next few days and weeks.

However, I wasn't confused about certain things; in fact, my position on some issues crystallized as a result of the designers bringing them to life. One, my dad lived and died in the South Tower and I did not like designs that treated the tower footprints differently. For example, in Dual Memory, while I appreciate the notion of individual and collective loss expressed in the North and South tower footprints, respectively, I know that I would be drawn to the South Tower footprint. I didn't want to be trying to find the presence of my dad in the South Tower, while others were having a different experience in the North Tower. In these two most sacred of places, the spirituality should be the equal.

Secondly, when I discovered my spiritual connection to the South Tower as opposed to the North Tower, I realized that I felt more connected to those who he was with when he died. The people in the upper floors of the South Tower may have shared each other's company to the end and may have even crossed paths or taken elevators together in happier days, so they seem to belong together in a grouping of names. This was an epiphany for me because I realized that this is all the firefighters are asking for. To be listed among those who were with them in life and in death. Passages of Light: The Memorial Cloud addresses these critical relationships in an amazingly profound way. The ribbon of rescuers moving through and among civilians, grouped together by who they were with when they died has a thousand times more meaning than an alphabetical or age-ordered listing of names.

Thirdly, death and grief are important topics to address in the memorial, but to stop there does nothing to acknowledge what makes this chapter in history unique: how we reacted and what we learned about ourselves and each other in the aftermath of the attacks. I cannot describe to you, the sense of love for this city and its people, that I felt as I went from hospital to hospital looking for my dad or from watching the iron workers, volunteers and rescue workers toiling away at Ground Zero on TV. In my community, neighbors and strangers sent us food, flowers and condolences. I have never seen anything like that in my life. The whole city, the whole region was experiencing this together. As diverse and differentiated we are as individuals, in those days following September 11, we were like a tribe. This must be embodied in the memorial, as a large, open and inviting public space where public gatherings both organized and spontaneous can take place. This space should be located at or close to street level. I do not see this in any one of the designs, though some of them, like Lower Waters, have the potential to do so.

My feeling that the designs lacked something was shared by many, as we found through the workshops and comments on the internet from which we drew the conclusions in our recent report to the jury.

While Imagine New York participants liked particular elements within the designs, none of them possessed an essential message that resonated with the public. This may be a function of the complex plurality of meanings that is currently associated with 9/11. It's probably true that it takes a special kind of person to try to understand what that day will mean in history, only two years and three months after the attacks. People have different ideas about what 9/11 means, and therefore how it should be memorialized. Many people wanted to know why the designs were so pretty, so clean and so pure when this event was so horribly ugly, devastating, disorienting and complex. Some people felt that this was a deliberate attempt to make us forget, in order for business to continue and to keep the machine moving. Others felt that the ugliness and context belonged in the 9/11 Museum, available to those who choose to have more layers to their experience and that whatever is open and in full view of the public should have an element of dignity and peace to it.

While I was pouring over the 15,000 comments that we received it became clear to me that our findings could become a framework for the jury and the LMDC to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each of the eight designs (download Imagine New York's report as a pdf file). This would not only help them to select the memorial with the most potential, but also to understand how that design might be modified in the future in order to help it to complete its message.

If the jury wants to get this right, they will listen to the voices that are outside their own private deliberations, because there are thousands -- if not millions -- of people who have already visited these memorials in their minds. We have some important insights to share.

Mike Kuo is the project manager of Imagine New York. He is also a member of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's Family Advisory Council and the Mission Statement Drafting Committee. His father, Frederick Kuo Jr., was killed on 9/11.



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