south | 365:152

by sam on 06/1/2013

The twin towers were never considered an aesthetic gem, and it was primarily the means of their absence that caused most people to miss the architecture of their isolating, monolithic frames that sat in a windswept (wind tunnel) plaza that cut off that section of the city from what would otherwise be actual street life. The new one world trade center is, in many ways, an architectural mess as well, a bastardization of what was, at one point, a beautiful form by Daniel Liebskind that was morphed by corporate interests into another generic facade.

Before 9/11, you could always orient yourself in the maze that was “below 34th street” Manhattan by looking up and seeing the towers and knowing they were at the end of the island. I always loved seeing them when driving back from school through New Jersey, because it meant I could know precisely where the vast wasteland of the New Jersey Turnpike ended and the island of Manhattan began. I have a visceral memory of the first trip I took through Jersey (to visit a client in PA) after 9/11, and on the way back just not being able to tell where New York, my home, began, and being so immensely sad at the thought. But I was moved today, sitting in the union square barnes & noble, when i realized that we once again had a signpost to southern manhattan. And it made me extremely grateful that they did build again.

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