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November 30, 2014- The NYT slams the design of the WTC, “There had been talk after Sept. 11 about the World Trade Center development’s including housing, culture and retail, capitalizing on urban trends and the growing desire for a truer neighborhood, at a human scale, where the windswept plaza at the foot of the twin towers had been. But the idea was brushed aside by the political ambitions of former Gov. George E. Pataki of New York, a Republican, and the commercial interests of Larry Silverstein, the developer with a controlling stake at the site, among other forces pressing for a mid-20th-century complex of glass towers surrounding a plaza.
Stripped of prospective cultural institutions, as well as of street life and housing, the plan soon turned into something akin to an old-school office park, destined to die at night — the last thing a young generation of New Yorkers wanted. In retrospect, had 1 World Trade been built last, after the site was coaxed back to life (and yes, many added years later), a very different project might have evolved.
With its hotel, offices, restaurants, apartments and observation deck, it is also an all-in-one mixed-use development, built on a busy transit hub. The point is that something better was possible in Lower Manhattan.
That said, one day the sally ports now blocking Vesey and Fulton Streets may disappear, shops may glom onto the office towers around the memorial plaza, and the plaza may become more like a park. Life has a way of taking over even the most unpromising places in New York.
Until then, 1 World Trade is a cautionary tale. The public had a big stake in making it great. That stake wasn’t leveraged. There are other giant projects like Hudson Yards, Penn Station and Roosevelt Island that will reshape the city’s streets and skyline. Their design is everyone’s business.
Not so bad should never be good enough.”