Memorials Lack Surviving Pieces of Towers
by Beth Fertig
NEW YORK, NY (2003-12-02) The eight new designs for the World Trade Center Memorial are coming under growing criticism on various fronts. WNYC's Beth Fertig has this report on what happened to the original conception of saving what was left of the Towers.
In the days after the September 11th attacks, there was one image of the destruction that came to symbolize the shattered city. The poignant remains of two jagged facades looming over the piles of debris like Gothic ruins. Many people inquired about using them in a future memorial. The question was raised when former mayor Rudolph Giuliani took several members of Congress to visit the site on October first, 2001.
CONGRESSMAN: Will you leave anything up as a memorial?
GIULIANI: I think they're going to take it all down and preserve it. And then decide what kind of memorial they want so if they can they can rebuild something like that
But preserving those ruins wasn't so easy.
HOLDEN: That was a great idea. The problem is that those pieces represented the bottom sections of the exterior skeleton of towers 1 and 2.
city's department of Design and Construction. He says the fragile looking skeletons were really anchors - making them so heavy, that each foot of steel weighed almost a ton. And the facades were each several stories high.
HOLDEN: We were not cutting it down with intention of setting it aside for a memorial. We were trying to take it down in the fastest possible manner because leaving them standing represented a safety hazard to the construction workers, fire fighters and police officers who were working on the site.
The skeletons had to be cut into small pieces in order to be safely removed. Holden says he consulted with engineers about whether they could be taken down in a way that would allow them to be rebuilt. But he says that wasn't possible.
A spokesman for the Port Authority says the agency has only 31 pieces left from the North Tower's fa ade. Each is about 40 to 45 feet long and 10 feet wide. They're all cataloged and tagged in a hangar at Kennedy Airport along with the last beam that was removed from the site. But that's just a tiny part of the wreckage. And the agency says it doesn't have any surviving pieces from the fa ade of the South Tower. Ken Holden believes it was all recycled.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney was among those urging the city to keep the wreckage and she's disappointed.