New York Voices; 330; Whose Memorial Is It?
Order Never before has a memorial competition produces so great an outpouring of creative ideas where like I think they fail is that there's a feeling of sterility and sanitizing that I as a family member I feel a little disappointed with the memorials for satisfy so many different agendas. But we do know that in order for a memorial to last it's got it in some ways touch each of those various constituencies as we go forward. New York's. One voice at a time. New York.
VOICES. New York Voices is made possible by the members of 13 additional funding provided by Michael t Martin and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Welcome to your voices on Raphael in today's program we focus on the new face of lower Manhattan. As we all know the temporary pass station is now open down here at the World Trade Center site. The new design for the Freedom Tower has finally been unveiled in the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation will soon announce the winning memorial design to commemorate the events of 9/11. You know the memorial finalist from which the winner will be chosen. Hit a nerve with many New Yorkers when they were first presented to the public last November. Since then a number of architectural critics editorialists and victims groups have expressed serious misgivings. In a moment we'll hear from the president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation the man responsible for navigating the memorial selection process. But we begin with Marian Fontana. It's fun Tana has the 9/11 Widows and Victims Family Association. And we asked her to give us her views on the eight
memorial finalists. Never before has a memorial competition produced so great an outpouring of creative ideas from across six continents 63 nations and forty nine states. Five thousand two hundred and one individuals. Answered the call to honor all those who lost on September 11th and in a 1993 bombing. Down to 5 AM Oriel designed. That would do justice to New York. And its spirit. By becoming a symbol of its resiliency. The jury and the jury all along. Will select one of these eight plans for the memorial. My name is Marian Front-End. I lost my husband de-fund as a firefighter inspired one. I run the 9/11 widows of Victims Family
Association. I think there's elements of each one that really hit on something profound and beautiful. I think the architects put a lot of time and effort into incorporating all the elements. A lot of the interest groups wanted. Where are they. I think they fail is really not in the fault of the architects but in the process itself there isn't a unified feeling between the original design of leave askin which is businesses and offices around the site and the memorial itself so there's a feeling of sterility and sanitizing that as a family member I feel I'm a little disappointed with. And I know that I don't do see is there a lot of political pressure economic pressure to do certain things and so
that's made it a little frustrating because it is limiting to what these designs could be and I think that's really the saddest part is I think if the artists and sculptors and all these people who work so hard were really given free reign we're not giving you know thick limitation and what they could do it really would have been interesting to see how. Beautiful it could have been. So I think if you just work a little bit more toward that I think we could have something really found here. First and foremost I think preserving the bad move very important to a lot of people not just the family members I think there's an effort to I can sanitize what happened that day. And so I think preserving that because it holds so many fossils of the towers the holes the iron beams that once stood. And you know the obvious in that 3000 people were compressed down
below level. I think it really has an emotional impact for the family members and New Yorkers in that most of the family members did not retrieve anything did not get a body of their loved one and so it was especially important to the family members to have that preserved. And I think that would have been a lot of creative ways to do that I think covering a clear covering with a clear flooring so that people can look down and see the overwhelming huge size of the event I think would would have been very profound and we've had millions and millions of people visiting an empty hole. Not that I want an empty hole forever but that it gives that sense of hugeness to the events that existed on the 11th. And also very important to me is to capture not just the devastation of what happened but the coming together that followed in the aftermath we found out rapes that happened and people's generosity in coming together and everyone came together. You know
the whole world can support us. So I think I think that's a really important element of the memorial design because I think it also gives people hope. That designs might not happen exactly as the family members want and you know there is no way to satisfy everybody but I think if everyone comes to the table with a sense of purpose of really wanting to revitalize the city economically emotionally and giving the families that. Reverence and dignity that we had in the very beginning I think we can satisfy everyone maybe not a hundred percent but certainly coming to the table with that sense of purpose. There are many different groups with a stake in the 9/11 memorial. A select jury of 13 whose members include David Rockefeller and Maya Lin will choose the winning design early next year. Kevin Ryan P president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has overseen the memorial selection
process since the beginning. I spoke with him at the Winter Garden where the models of the eight memorial finalists are on display. I began our conversation by asking him whose memorial is it. I think that's that's important question. I think it's more that belongs to all of us. I think first and foremost it belongs to the families of those who are lost but also belong to the community and belong so in some ways to the city and to the nation as a whole. And I think that's what's made it so difficult going through this whole process because the memorials for satisfy so many different agendas. But we do know that in order for a memorial to last it's got to in some ways touch each of those various constituencies as we go forward. And it's really something that we're never going to know except in retrospect have you been surprised or even disappointed at the lack of enthusiasm with which your announcement of the. Eight final designs was greeted not surprised I mean we realize from the beginning that this is a very emotional process a very difficult process and be fraught with
criticism. And we also realize that this memorial's unlike any other moment which even makes it more difficult but also this memorial's trying to do things that no single memorials ever done before. We're trying to remember two lost icons of Commerce the Twin Towers. And we try to memorialize their loss trying to remember the loss of so many people on September 11th. Over 3000 people not just here but in Shanksville and also at the Pentagon and at the same time the memorial also serves as a last resting place for those unidentified remains so many ways it's also a burial ground. And you know we look through history look diverse. It's hard to find anything that's had so many different agendas pulling out and that's caused a lot of difficulty. Well the main criticism such as they were seemed to boil down to a handful I wonder if I could just mention each of them and get your response. First one critique is that. You had guidelines that constricted the ability of the creative process and possibilities that the designers could come up with. How do you respond to what the guidelines really reflect is what the public wanted to see in the memorial
we want to make sure is we want to provide creativity but at the same time we want to make sure the memorial reflected what the public want of the scene. We don't we do not believe that the guidelines in any way really impacted the designs in terms of the creativity in fact I think there's a great deal of creativity I received fifty two hundred over fifty two hundred designs the largest memorial design competition in history. Clearly we didn't really impact the creativity or ability for people to feel that they're putting forth their best ideas in their best design. Another criticism is that this memorial is being built too soon that perhaps you should a waited a few years maybe five years so that passion. Motions dissipate to their political interests could dissipate. I've heard that and I think one of the biggest concerns is that it's fine to say it's too soon but it's hard to say that to all of the families out there and again especially the families who don't even have remains to say you're going to have to wait even longer to have a place to go to remember your loved ones go even longer to have a place for your loved ones remains. Be
they identified can can be located. We don't have that time to wait. We need to move forward. I think it's also important remember that this memorial is about the larger economic revitalization of lower Manhattan it's part of the overall plan. And as we go forward what's going to be important is the ultimate memorial that is selected provide the flexibility as we go forward to understand what happened events of September 11. And I think what's important is none of these memorials have any political agenda. All of them provide for the opportunity for transformation for adjustment as we go forward and as we better understand what happened on September 11th and what it meant for us as a country. But that's another criticism that I've read that these memorials. While containing a lot of memory the sorrow of 9/11 in the history of 9/11 don't tell you what happened so much why it happened nor does it tell you about the heroism and selflessness that happened. And that's absolutely correct. But the problem with that criticism is that it fails to recognize the
whole site. And I think what's critical to understand is we're not just talking about these are the subject of the memorial competition. In many ways the entire site is a memorial to the events of September 11. If you look to the Freedom Tower soaring to the sky an emblem of our resilience and that we're fighting back in the next that we're going our Performing Arts Center the culture overcoming terrorism all that we have the heroes part we have everything all the pieces put together are a fitting memorial and one of the most important pieces that people really need to keep in mind when evaluating this Morris is the museum. We're going to have a museum which is going to interpret what happened on 9/11 only museum can rightly tell the story of heroism that day and story of all those innocent victims of lost their lives on September 11. So even after you choose the final selection the final winner. That will be subject to some revisions. Oh absolutely as we go forward looking for a core concept to work with here. And that's what the jury ultimately is going to select. You're not going to see something dramatically different.
But it's only logical that you cannot completely design an engineer memorial in the weeks and a few months that we've had at this point time these things can have to evolve. So there's no chance it's actually some of these people here we're talking about they're worried about that because of the criticism the whole process will start again as it did with the initial master plan. Absolutely not. We are we are committed to seeing this process through. As I said earlier we expected the criticism but we're confident in the outcome and we think we have some really great ideas here some ideas have people get very excited. We can focus down on the single memorial design or move forward its construction and the overall revitalization of lower Manhattan as quickly as possible. We turn now to the debate about bringing the arts downtown. You know a lot's been said about including arts groups in the planning processes for the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan. So we spoke to several people in the arts community about their hopes and their vision for the World Trade Center
complex. I think the idea of the Joyce Theater coming downtown anybody you know any arts organizations that we can get downtown. Great. I think I think everybody would welcome their presence but I would say not only should there be room for this idea of the individual artist but you have to remember that this whole community downtown has not been about the center. We wouldn't be living downtown if we were about a center. We were going off to the fringes and finding a place to live. We were settling. That's what artists do. How are you know of the works and ideas and spaces that artists might inhabit and use. Where are those going to be how can we get those included in downtown.
I think the choice would provide a great anchor along with many other arts organizations to help with the redevelopment in lower Manhattan and together. We could provide great programming. A lot of street life with restaurants and shops and places to attract people to come down there. With the joists we have the unique advantage of offering dance programming which is accessible to audiences there's no language barrier. And our mission is to have a broad and varied program like we do here at the Joyce in Chelsea and that's attractive to many many people to come to the area. Obviously this is a way of tracking attention you know to lower Manhattan and creating another identity for Manhattan. Besides that of a financial community the arts quarter is based upon the
concept that we have in place right now sort of a fantastic collection of. Internationally known public art. Also we have historic districts covering most of the Lower Manhattan. So taking the two together the historical buildings the public art we felt we could extend that into a walk by creating more public art and tying that in to the idea of having art. I think ground floor of all the office buildings having it wherever possible in the streets. For Hunter College part of this new vial ization of lower Manhattan would be a really terrific thing. We are the public school of the arts. We offer an
affordable education at a fraction of the privates. It's accessible you can take classes and work. And we're thinking about the future and whatever goes on at the World Trade Center is going to be about the future of New York City. We're training tomorrow's artists tomorrow's art administrator is the curators. We want to replace the studios that were lost in the World Trade Center Well we build studios for our students to have students and working artists and students and working filmmakers next to each other I think there's no better vision of creating future artists for the city and it's really a very exciting opportunity. The Museum of the city of New York is not just about the past of New York but it's about interpreting its life its past present and future. And it seems to me that the best tribute to the World Trade Center and to the people who died there may indeed not be just to dwell on the past but to think about where we are and where we're going because that's how a city endures.
And that's the that's really the task of. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and it's the task of those who want to remember the past even as they move forward. In the memorial. And that's what the Museum of the city of New York can bring to the site a continuing dialogue about where past present and future. Meet. We turn once again to Kevin ramping to get his take on the need to integrate the arts community in the rebuilding of the Lower Manhattan so Marj groups have said that the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan gives you the opportunity not only rebuild but through vent or maybe had to make this not only the World Financial Center but also the world cultural center. Is that realistic. I think there's the opportunity to make lower Manhattan a major cultural center. And I don't think and I think it's actually critical to the future of lower Manhattan and again in our response to the attacks September 11th. It's the it's the prevailing of culture over terror which will tell more to future generations about our culture and who we are than anything else. And that's why we
felt it was critical in the original program to kluge space for a cultural center and we're going to look throughout lower Manhattan and ways to enhance culture. Culture is also a major economic driver as we go forward. Major business major central business asserts a 21st century business center is going to need a cultural component and part of the development includes an arts company. Absolutely we include probably 600000 square feet for an arts complex we have over a hundred thousand square feet for a museum we have a performing arts center and we've had major institutions express interest. We've had institutions such as The New York City Opera press a real interest of being located on the site and I think that's exciting for everybody in New York City. Now some of these are groups have made suggestions for example that at least 10 percent of all the monies that come. I have no development should be set aside for trust. To use to subsidize artistic studios residences of performance spaces you think that's a good idea. Well I don't know I don't want in particular percentages but we will we do things and porn is getting the correct mix of
cultural institutions in lower Manhattan. We don't want to see large cultural institutions who also want to provide an opportunity for the small artist and new artists. The new theatre groups have their place to have space in which to practice their craft space to me and space to rehearse and we're going to do that. So are you going to try to proactively create for example our venues down here in our core doors what somebody was talking about where you had where you take advantage of what exists here to present performances. Absolutely absolutely and again it's going to be the correct mix of a large cultural institutions a stable ones and also these new institutions as we go forward. Finally we take a look at an organization that helps homeless men by putting them to work. They
don't fund programs ready willing and able it's keeping them in the streets of New York City. It. Was to jump out the bell like when we get off the fam right here we still like to plug stuff move move move move move quickly I was in the service or something. When I do I thought often I'll survey done. I don't know how bad a job I got if. It doesn't look. The worst. In the morning with all the. Kids going to school people. In the world. And if you want to be tided and. Get to work. Our program has three components to it. Paid work. Our folks go out and work for a beginning of five dollars and fifty cents an hour. They pay $50 a week and rent $15 a week for food
and save 30 dollars a week. Over the course of the program nine to 12 months to $30 a week adds up to a thousand dollars. We match that with a thousand dollars to give them a head start when they get that private sector job and their apartment a room to live in inside. The third aspect is social services. Working with traffic you know pedestrian traffic is just part of the job I wanted to get to navigate myself through it you know and on my route you know I'm there every day so people pretty much see me and we just do a little dance. One of my pet peeves is cigarette butts. That's something to see all the cigarette butt ass we've got a system. Where I break down history into like after sweep the gutter and I'll sweep around the edges and then I'll get down. In between these reservoirs.
I've noticed that when you do that. The street seems to get a lot cleaner. I've been many places you know. It's no secret. I've been. In prison. My bad and. Drug detox and I'm here now. Ready when I. Go phones help me. Our folks don't belong in jail they don't need to be in jail. They give up drugs the first day that they're with us they get used to having money in their pocket. I recently lost my house lost my job. I used to be a manager of a law firm. And after 9/11. Cutbacks. Saying then I lost a lot of my partner. But. I never lost the ability to work. So this right here. Is get me her head.
Around here. Because what I do everything. Right. People are great. The morning and say good morning. Made me feel good because her number never told me Good morning. Here. To target jewel grabbing industry rumors you might want to know. It. The big house right that makes all the difference in the world and them got it from this it was a lot of talk. But we do it manually. The community tells us how happy your folks are and that's true they are happy because they're not going to be on the street sweeping it forever this is a means to an end. A private sector job and a place to live. I've been working at the Grossman building five yes. I love the job that I do on the porter. I'll do the laundry room.
Three clean a washing machine to dry is. A good medical coverage is great. I never had this before so I'm loving it right now. I take advantage of it. I'm not on the street. I'm not on the street. I'm not using no more I'm not committing any crime. At all I have money. My partner had we speak no. And I'm not looking to take your. Homelessness ultimately comes with a degree of shame. Also people don't want the family or friends to see them get the out that they used in. The on the street like get this memory. No I'm included in a lot of photo. I feel. Like I'm living a lot better. I've got. Some directions I'm focusing my life. I'm going to make it.
Right. And that's it for this edition of New York Voices as always for more information check out our website at 13 dot org. I'm Rafael Perez. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you next week. New York Voices is made possible by the members of 13 additional funding provided by Michael t Martin and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
- New York Voices
- Episode Number
- Whose Memorial Is It?
- Producing Organization
- Thirteen WNET
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- Thirteen WNET (New York, New York)
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- Episode Description
- Featuring Marian Fontana; Lower Manhattan Development Corp.; Arts community shares its thoughts on lower manhattan scene; Profile of a program for the homeless
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- New York Voices is a news magazine made up of segments featuring profiles and interviews with New Yorkers talking about the issues affecting New York.
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- Moving Image
Producing Organization: Thirteen WNET
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Thirteen - New York Public Media (WNET)
Identifier: wnet_aacip_25293 (WNET Archive)
Format: Digital Betacam
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- Chicago: “New York Voices; 330; Whose Memorial Is It?,” 2003-12-19, Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 30, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-75-289gjbn7.
- MLA: “New York Voices; 330; Whose Memorial Is It?.” 2003-12-19. Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. November 30, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-75-289gjbn7>.
- APA: New York Voices; 330; Whose Memorial Is It?. Boston, MA: Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-75-289gjbn7