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Rebuilding NYC - Testimonies From The 2003 Public Hearings
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Gotham Gazette

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Rebuilding NYC






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Is This The Right Program? Is This The Right Process?


Jay Allen Zimmerman, former Lower Manhattan resident

I want to applaud these amazing architects for their creative designs. I think this exercise demonstrates, just like the July plans, and the other hundreds of plans that I saw working with the New York New Visions growth strategies group last year, that 6 to 10 million square feet of commercial space on this site is always going to look bulky and bloated and completely dominate any kind of memorial, no matter who designs it.

So, instead of discussing plan A or plan B, I think we should really be discussing, "is this the right program? Is this the right process?" I have yet to hear any solid justification for building all of this commercial space on this site.

Regarding the mission statement, I really like the word "innocent" as describing the victims because this was an attack on ordinary, not military, people. And the program principles I belive are good because they leave a lot of room for creative response. Under the elements category, I feel strongly that the victims should be treated equally. The firefighters and police should be honored for their courage and bravery, there's no doubt about that. I feel that the deaths of the other thousands and thousands of innocent people are just as significant.

I would like to make sure that you don't list the victims names alphabetically, as that will divide up some of the families who were killed in entirety who had different last names. Also, I believe that you should be open to memorializing the victims of the 1993 bombing in a related, but somewhat different memorial, as it was a separate event. Perhaps the program elements category can begin with a plural of "memorials," somehow combining but still recognizing that they will have separate elements. We should remain as flexible as possible right now.

The competition should be open to everyone in the world, including the crackpots who were mentioned earlier. I think it should be done anonymously and held in stages. I think that this is too large the prospect of a project for just one ego, so let one encompassing vision begin the first stage, and then hold a series of competitions for the various elements of that vision.

Now the most important point I want to make is the site as a memorial. I agree that it should center around the bathtub and footprint area, but you need to leave a lot of flexibility for these designers to discover how large it should be, or exactly where it should be placed. I think if the site planners stick to principles and goals instead of grids and square footage, then the memorial concept can drive and influence the other development, as it should.

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