(2000) Windows on the World is the highest-grossing restaurant in the United States.
(2001) The WTC site is destroyed.
(Early 2002) The Port Authority and the LMDC begin the process of seeking bids from architects. They require the original streets prior to the WTC be restored, and they support Mr. Silverstein's lease, which requires replacing 10 million square feet of office space.
"This was a disastrous decision, and no one could believe it," said Mr. Yaro of the Regional Plan Association. (The RPA and several associated groups had vigorously lobbied for restoring the original streets, in the belief that this would prevent large scale development.) — NY Times (edited)
(August, 2002) All initial plans are rejected. The LMDC solicits new plans but repeats the requirements that new master plan proposals restore the older streets and have 10 million square feet of office space. —www.pbs.org (edited)
On a fall day in 2002 the seven finalist teams for the master plan stood at the picture windows and gazed down at the stillness of the site. Somebody from the Port said, "Does anybody want to go down," Daniel Libeskind, known then as the architect who had designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin, recalled. "There was complete silence." I said, "I want to." It was miserable rain. We borrowed galoshes and bought cheap umbrellas. And as we descended down that huge ramp, really, my view of the world changed. Deep down at the bedrock level, Mr. Libeskind said, he felt both the "enormity of the loss" and the unadorned power of the pit itself. After placing his hands on the rough face of the concrete slurry wall, he turned to his wife and said, "Call Berlin. Drop everything we're doing. I have a complete vision of what should be." — NY Times
(March, 2003) A few days after Mr. Libeskind was "anointed," as Mr. Silverstein put it, the men got together. In Mr. Silverstein's conference room, Nina Libeskind made it clear that her husband would be designing the 1776 building, as it was then known. "I looked at her in absolute shock and said, 'But he's never designed a high-rise in his life,' " Mr. Silverstein recalled. "I said, 'Tell me something. If you were needing neurosurgery, would you go to a general practitioner who has never done any kind of operating in his life?' She said, 'Daniel is a quick learner.' " Mr. Silverstein started picking apart Mr. Libeskind's master plan. He objected first to the location of the Freedom Tower at the northwest corner of the site, where it would be farthest from the transportation hub and, complicating construction, above the train tracks. But Mr. Silverstein lost that battle, and the next: "I said to Larry," Mr. Childs recalled, " 'If the governor won't move the tower, ask him if he would build it last. Then you'll have more of a market, the train station will be done and the slurry wall fixed.' But the governor said: 'No. I want to build it first. I want to build it there. And I want to build it quickly.' " — NY Times
(May 2003) There are over 5000 World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition submissions, including a facade submission by Ken Gardner.
(August 2003) The WTC Memorial jury will select up to eight finalists, who will receive over $100,000 each to refine their designs more fully ("to develop models and three-dimensional computerized designs"). A winner (from among the finalists) will be announced at the end of the year.
'Why The WTC Memorial Will Be A Failure'
"In the next few weeks a decision will be made on which memorial at the World Trade Center site will be built. The decision will be hailed by the powers that be as a victory for the people, for the open process by which it was conducted, for democracy. It will also almost certainly be a failure. The eight designs under consideration are widely considered uninspiring, banal, needlessly complicated, unimaginative and insufficient to evoke the horror of Sept. 11. But if you believe the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which is overseeing the redevelopment of ground zero, they are the best that democracy can provide, and that ought to be good enough for anyone." — The Globe & Mail (Canada) 12/15/2003
"There is a remarkable sameness to these designs. None provide a well-designed urban public gathering space, none make use of the artifacts from the World Trade Center buildings, and none convey the urban and international texture of the place." — New York chapter, American Planning Association
"The New York Times magazine published a number of memorial proposals, including Maya Lin's sketch for a site defined by two voids. The winning design by Michael Arad is remarkably similar... Rudy Giuliani suggested that the committee should declare a failed search and begin again...We need a memorial defined by presence, not absence, conveying the specifics of the event, inspiring thoughtfulness and mourning, clear in its form and message. The memorial we need and history deserves isn't there. And now, apparently, there is no time to find or even imagine it." — Sculpture Magazine
"After literally hundreds of hours of study of the WTC site, architect Herbert Belton and I concluded that the appropriate solution for rebuilding is to design facade-based memorials and new Twin Towers.
Restoring our skyline with modern Twin Towers would represent not only the resilience of a great nation, but also the "bigness" of New York, which is what has always attracted visitors to the this city. Each floor plate covered one full acre. The current plan put forth by the LMDC is much less significant. Mr. Libeskind and Mr. Childs are trying to invent a new icon. I believe that icons evolve. The original towers were not very popular when they were first built, but they became one of the great symbols of this country over time. Elements of these buildings symbolize this country and always will. If for any reason the Capitol building were to be damaged or destroyed, I cannot imagine replacing the magnificent dome over the Rotunda with some kind of twisted trapezoidal or fortress-like structure. Yet this is what has been planned for the Freedom Tower.
In Europe after World War II many landmark structures were rebuilt. This is how a country and a civilization preserves its rich history. In my travels to Europe I felt a sense of longevity engendered by the presence of architecture that marked significant eras in each country's history. America will not have this deep sense of time if we do not protect and preserve our symbols of who we are and what we stand for. I am a great fan of change and technology, but I am also a student of history and a preservationist. To allow the image of these icons to vanish into memory, never to be seen by future generations, is to erase a part of what makes us American." — Ken Gardner, 2004 (updated 2005)
Herbert Belton was a junior architect at Emery Roth & Sons on the original World Trade Center site. He was licensed in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, and was a project manager at New Jersey Bell, manager of design and construction at AT&T, and worked for Johnson Jones Architects in Princeton, N.J. He died on November 29, 2005.
Ken Gardner is a model fabricator for some of New York's largest real estate projects. He built the models shown on this website.
(June, 2004) The LMDC selects four arts groups for the site.
(May 5, 2005) The governor orders a complete redesign of the Freedom Tower, to be done in seven weeks, which results in the original design being scrapped for a completely different design by a different architect. The public basically believes the modifications are minor, for "security reasons." A Pataki ally says, "The governor doesn't have any choice. His whole career is gonna come down to this project."
(May 7, 2005) "To redo the entire plan for rebuilding ground zero . . . would be a mistake, a waste of precious time and formidable talent." — NY Times editorial
(May 18, 2005) Donald Trump advocates new Twin Towers and conventional memorials for the WTC site.
(July11, 2005) "Too bad that time and a deeper consideration of the public good aren't on the agenda in rethinking Ground Zero. That would help bring about ideas that look genuinely inspired." — Newsweek (Cathleen McGuigan)
(July 27, 2005) "It is dreadfully apparent now that the entire project is in the hands of a group of egotists, political opportunists, and incompetents." — New York Observer (Ron Rosenbaum)
(February, 2006) "If you don't go ahead now with the Freedom Tower, you'll have no construction on the site for a year and half. That's not acceptable." — Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff
(June 20, 2006) Mr. Sciame presented five memorial options last Thursday to the governor and the mayor. The option they chose, Mr. Pataki said today, preserves the voids, the waterfalls, the pools, the names around the pools and the underground passage to the museum. "To me, these were all very important elements of the Michael Arad design," the governor said. — NY Times
(September, 2006) Some officials involved in rebuilding say that the final decision may go to the next governor. "We're six months away from the point that we're full steam ahead," said a senior executive, who requested anonymity because he did not want a public spat with Governor Pataki. — NY Times
(February, 2007) Governor Spitzer unenthusiastically decides to proceed with the Libeskind "plan".
(May, 2008) Governor Paterson appoints Chris Ward Port Authority Director, who commits to the Libeskind plan.
(August, 2008) Authorities realize that streets crossing the site must be highly restricted to vehicular traffic for security reasons. — Security Director News
(August, 2009) "Gov. Paterson warned Mr. Silverstein that if negotiations did not proceed more quickly, he would ask the Port Authority to move on its own to finish the victims' memorial, the transit hub and other public portions of the site. Ground zero might have been rebuilt today if former Gov. George Pataki had issued a similar warning eight years ago." — NY Times editorial
(November, 2009) The Port Authority confirms there is no final design, no set budget, no opening date, and no location yet for the WTC central security command post. — NY Daily News
(March, 2011) "We do not build vanity projects at the top of tall buildings. We are committed to finding the highest, best and most practical use for this space - one that does not require subsidizing a restaurant with public money for years to come." — PA Director Chris Ward, announcing that plans for a new Windows on the World have been scrapped.
"Windows on the World was an elegant restaurant known as a place for big celebrations, such as weddings. In its last full year of operation, 2000, Windows on the World reported revenues of $37.5 million, making it the highest-grossing restaurant in the United States." — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Trade_Center