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Rebuilding NYC - Testimonies From The 2003 Public Hearings
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Citizens Union

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Rebuilding NYC






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The Centrality of the Memorial


Norman, lower Manhattan resident

I thought, going into this process, that I wanted to see a design focus on restoring the skyline. I wanted to see a spire, something that would restore our feeling about each other and the city. But after looking at the plans that are on display at the Winter Garden, I have to say that Daniel Libeskind's plan has taught me something else. His architecture itself has taught me the centrality of the memorial. His buildings form a circle, like a circle of individual people with their hands linked, which look together onto the space and define the space. The memorial is there in the context, the context that this is a central space which has great meaning. It also respects the bathtub or the pit, and it retains the ramp leading down to it.

At the time of the anniversary of September 11, my daughter was working as a volunteer in Kosovo, and she saw the memorial ceremonies on television. She was deeply, deeply moved and felt a sense of comradeship with us at home by the silent descending down the ramp to this space and the deposition of flowers. The beautiful thing about the pit rather than a surface with fountains or other things like that as a memorial space is that when you go down into a pit, you also emerge from it. People visiting a memorial space, which is defined by the buildings around it and where you can go down and then emerge, are in that very symbolic act bringing our city back to life, which in my mind is the greatest memorial.

I think the space in that pit can accommodate significant items, such as a memorial to the firefighters and police officers and rescue workers and the remains of people who are now in the landfill. The great wall facing them can be a memorial opportunity as well. I think architecture that articulates the space, a space that encompasses that pit as the focal point, would be a very fitting memorial.

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