World Trade Center site
Aerial view of the World Trade Center site, September 23, 2001.
The World Trade Center site (ZIP code: 10048), also known as "Ground Zero" after the September 11 attacks, sits on 16 acres (65,000 m2) in Lower Manhattan in New York City. The World Trade Center complex stood on the site until it was destroyed in the attacks; Studio Daniel Libeskind, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Silverstein Properties, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation oversee the reconstruction of the site. The site is bounded by Vesey Street to the north, the West Side Highway to the west, Liberty Street to the south, and Church Street to the east. The Port Authority owns the site's land (except for 7 World Trade Center). Developer Larry Silverstein holds the lease to retail and office space in four of the site's buildings.
While the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is often identified as the owner of the WTC site, the ownership situation is actually somewhat complex and ambiguous. While the Port Authority indeed owns a "significant" internal portion of the 16-acre site, the Port Authority has acknowledged "ambiguities over ownership of miscellaneous strips of property at the World Trade Center site," going back to the 1960's. Two and a half acres of land at the site, representing the land where streets had been located prior to the development of the World Trade Center, have unclear ownership.
 Before the World Trade Center occupied the site
The WTC site was occupied by Radio Row and the Hudson Terminal during the 20th century. Both were demolished to make way for the World Trade Center. In addition, at least one notable event occurred on the World Trade Center site: Adriaen Block's ship, the Tyger, burned to the waterline in November 1613, and was left where it was, to be rediscovered in 1916. The shipwreck led to the construction of the Onrust.
 September 11 attacks
Main article: September 11 attacks
Ground Zero debris with markup showing building locations.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, two hijacked planes bound for Los Angeles were intentionally crashed into the two towers of the World Trade Center. The towers collapsed within two hours of the collisions. Terrorists affiliated with Al-Qaeda and others organized and executed the attacks, in which approximately 3,000 people died. After the attacks, hospital workers and police officers began referring to the World Trade Center site as "Ground Zero".
 Debris and cleanup
Further information: Rescue and recovery effort after the September 11 attacks
Debris from the World Trade Center, 2001.
The collapse of the towers spread dust across New York City and left hundreds of thousands of tons of debris at the site. To organize the cleanup and search for survivors and for human remains, the New York Fire Department divided the disaster site into four sectors, each headed by its own chief. Early estimates suggested that debris removal would take a year, but cleanup ended in May 2002, under budget and without a single serious injury. Three years later, in February 2005, the New York City Medical Examiner's office ended its process of identifying human remains at the site.
According to experts, when WTC 1 (the North Tower) collapsed, falling debris struck 7 World Trade Center and ignited fires on multiple floors. The uncontrolled fires ultimately led to the progressive collapse of the structure. Portions of the South Tower also damaged the nearby Deutsche Bank Building, which soon became filled with toxic dust. By 2002, Deutsche Bank determined that its building was unsalvageable. It is in the process of being demolished.
Cleanup workers trucked most of the building materials and debris from Ground Zero to Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island. Some people, such as those affiliated with World Trade Center Families for Proper Burial, worried that human remains might also have been (inadvertently) transported to the landfill.
The World Trade Center site 17 days after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Buildings surrounding the site of the collapsed towers are fitted with mesh to prevent further damage and large construction vehicles are being used to clear debris.
In August 2008, New York City firefighters donated a cross made of steel from the World Trade Center to the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Company. The beam, mounted atop a platform shaped like the Pentagon, was erected outside the Shanksville firehouse near the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93.
In December 2001, a temporary viewing platform at Fulton Street, between Church Street and Broadway, opened to the public.
Every year on September 11, a temporary memorial called Tribute in Light – consisting of two parallel, vertical beams of light – was projected from the site. Since construction has begun, however, the tribute may cease.
In July 2010 a team of archaeologists at the site discovered the remains of a 32-foot-long boat over 200 years old; it was probably made in the 18th century and dumped there along with wooden beams and trash about 1810 to make up the land. The boat had been weighted to make it sink as part of foundations for a new pier. Samples of its wood have been taken for dendrochronology.
Soon after the September 11 attacks, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Governor George Pataki, and President George W. Bush vowed to rebuild the World Trade Center site. On the day of the attacks, Giuliani proclaimed, "We will rebuild. We're going to come out of this stronger than before, politically stronger, economically stronger. The skyline will be made whole again." During a visit to the site on September 14, 2001, Bush spoke to a crowd of cleanup workers through a bullhorn. An individual in the crowd shouted, "I can't hear you," to which Bush replied, "I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."
In a later address before Congress, the president declared, "As a symbol of America's resolve, my administration will work with Congress, and these two leaders, to show the world that we will rebuild New York City." The immediate response from World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein was that "it would be the tragedy of tragedies not to rebuild this part of New York. It would give the terrorists the victory they seek."
A light still on at Ground Zero remains, 2001..
The World Trade Center site after cleanup, 2003.
From the south, a view of ongoing excavation in July 2002. The slurry wall circumscribing the site is visible, as is the damaged Verizon Building in the background.
Visitor and observation plaza, 2005.
Aerial view of the site from the northwest, 2002.
Construction as of March 2, 2010. The frame for Tower 4 can be seen rising on the left.
Overhead, April 2010
From the 30th floor of the W Hotel, July 28, 2010
 Lower Manhattan Development Corporation
Governor Pataki established the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) in November 2001, as an official commission to oversee the rebuilding process. The LMDC coordinates federal assistance in the rebuilding process, and works with the Port Authority, Larry Silverstein, and Studio Daniel Libeskind, the master plan architect for the site's redesign. The corporation also handles communication with the local community, businesses, the city of New York, and relatives of victims of the September 11 attacks. A 16-member board of directors, half appointed by the governor and half by the mayor of New York, governs the LMDC.
The LMDC had questionable legal status regarding the restoration of the World Trade Center site, because the Port Authority owns most of the property and Larry Silverstein leased the World Trade Center's office space in July 2001. But the LMDC, in an April 2002 articulation of its principles for action, asserted its role in revitalizing lower Manhattan.
 Early proposals for redesign
In the months following the attacks, architects and urban planning experts held meetings and forums to discuss ideas for rebuilding the site. In January 2002, New York City art dealer Max Protetch solicited 50 concepts and renderings from artists and architects, which were put on exhibit in his Chelsea art gallery.
In April 2002, the LMDC sent out requests for proposals to redesign the World Trade Center site to 24 Manhattan architecture firms, but then soon withdrew them. The following month, the LMDC selected Beyer Blinder Belle as planner for the redesign of the World Trade Center site.
On July 16, 2002, Beyer Blinder Belle unveiled six concepts for redesigning the World Trade Center site. All six designs were voted "poor" by the roughly 5,000 New Yorkers that submitted feedback, so the LDMC announced a new, international, open-design study.
 2002 World Trade Center site design competition
In an August 2002 press release, the LMDC announced a design study for the World Trade Center site. The following month, the LMDC, along with New York New Visions – a coalition of 21 architecture, engineering, planning, landscape architecture and design organizations – announced seven semifinalists. The following seven architecture firms were then invited to compete to be the master plan architect for the World Trade Center:
- Foster and Partners (Norman Foster)
- Studio Daniel Libeskind (Daniel Libeskind)
- Meier Eisenman Gwathmey Holl (Peter Eisenman, Richard Meier, Charles Gwathmey and Steven Holl), sometimes known as "The Dream Team"
- Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
- THINK Team (Shigeru Ban, Frederic Schwartz, Ken Smith, Rafael Vinoly)
- United Architects
Peterson Littenberg, a small New York architecture firm, had been enlisted by the LMDC earlier that summer as a consultant, and was invited to participate as the seventh semifinalist.
The seven semifinalists presented their entries to the public on December 18, 2002 at the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center. In the following weeks, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill withdrew its entry from the competition.
Days before the announcement of the two finalists in February 2003, Larry Silverstein wrote to LMDC Chair John Whitehead to express his disapproval of all of the semifinalists' designs. As the Twin Towers' insurance money recipient, Silverstein claimed that he had the sole right to decide what would be built. He announced that he had already picked Skidmore, Owings & Merrill as his master planner for the site.
On February 1, 2003, the LMDC selected two finalists, the THINK Team and Studio Daniel Libeskind, and planned on picking a single winner by the end of the month.
Rafael Viñoly of the THINK Team and Studio Daniel Libeskind presented their designs to the LMDC, which selected the THINK design. Earlier the same day, however, Roland Betts, a member of the LMDC, had called a meeting and the corporation had agreed to vote for the THINK design before hearing the final presentations. Governor Pataki, who had originally commissioned the LMDC, intervened and overruled the LMDC's decision. On February 27, 2003, Studio Daniel Libeskind officially won the competition to be the master planner for the World Trade Center redesign.
Libeskind's original proposal, which is titled Memory Foundations, underwent extensive revisions during collaboration with Larry Silverstein, and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, whom Silverstein hired. Though Libeskind designed the site, the individual buildings have been designed by different architects.
Detailed information about Libeskind's Memory Foundations site plan can be accessed here.
One World Trade Center (previously coined the "Freedom Tower" by Governor Pataki) is the centerpiece of Libeskind's design. The building will rise to 1,362 feet, the height of the original World Trade Center south tower, and its antenna will rise to the symbolic height of 1,776 feet (541 m). The antenna's height refers to 1776, the year in which the United States Declaration of Independence was signed.
The tower was a collaboration between Studio Daniel Libeskind and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill architect David Childs. Childs acted as the design architect and project manager for the tower, and Daniel Libeskind collaborated on the concept and schematic design.
Tower 5 was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and will stand where the Deutsche Bank building once stood. On June 22, 2007, the Port Authority announced that JP Morgan Chase will lease the 42-story building for its investment banking headquarters.
7 World Trade Center stands off of Port Authority property. David Childs of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill designed the tower, which opened in May 2006.
View of Ground Zero from the 45th floor of the completed 7 World Trade Center in September 2006.
Main article: World Trade Center Memorial
A memorial called "Reflecting Absence" honors the victims of the September 11 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The memorial, designed by Peter Walker and Israeli-American architect Michael Arad, consists of a field of trees interrupted by the footprints of the twin towers. Pools of water fill the footprints, underneath which sits a memorial space whose walls bear the names of the victims. The slurry wall, which holds back the Hudson River in the west and was an integral part of Libeskind's proposal, remains exposed.
Walker and Arad were selected from more than 5,000 entrants in the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition in January 2004. Construction of the memorial is due to be completed by September 11, 2011.
 Museum and PATH Station
Entrance to the PATH at the World Trade Center
The Snøhetta-designed museum will now act as a memorial museum and visitors' center, after family members of 9/11 victims objected to the building's original occupant, the International Freedom Center.
Gehry's performing arts complex will now house only the Joyce Theater, because the Signature Theater Company dropped out due to space constraints and cost limitations.
Santiago Calatrava designed the World Trade Center Transportation Hub (its main asset being the PATH station) to replace the old World Trade Center station. The Port Authority will cool the new station, as well as the September 11 Memorial and Museum, via a heat exchanger fed by four pipes carrying water from the Hudson River. 
 Cordoba House
In 2010, controversy arose concerning the development of Cordoba House, a mosque and cultural center planned at a site two blocks from the World Trade Center site. The builders say it is intended to represent moderate Islam. But, given its proximity to Ground Zero, it has stirred controversy among people suspicious of the motives behind it, and led to comments for and against it being built at that location from families of 9/11 victims, politicians, organizations, and academics.
As of May 2010[update], progress on the construction of the redesigned site is as follows:
- 1 World Trade Center – Construction began in April 2006; two years later, tower-foundation steel columns, concrete, and rebar had been installed. In 2006, the Port Authority took over from Silverstein Properties as the project's developer. Tishman Construction Corporation is the construction manager. The estimated completion date is 2013.
- 2 World Trade Center – Groundbreaking began in July 2008.
- 3 World Trade Center – Groundbreaking began in March 2008. In April 2008, excavation and preparations for foundation work took place.
- 4 World Trade Center – Construction began in 2008.
- 5 World Trade Center – Construction began on January 1, 2009. The Port Authority acts as the building's developer.
- 7 World Trade Center – Off of Port Authority land, the tower opened on May 23, 2006 and achieved LEED gold status.
- National September 11 Memorial & Museum – Under construction. The memorial will include a museum and two square pools where the Twin Towers formerly stood. The memorial is on schedule for a September 11, 2011 opening.
- Performing Arts Center – Construction will begin after 2010 since a temporary exit from the PATH station will occupy the site until then.
 See also
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: World Trade Center site
- Collapse of the World Trade Center
- Controversy surrounding the rebuilding of the World Trade Center
- Health effects arising from the September 11 attacks
- Survivors' Staircase
- Verizon Building
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 External links
- Official site - Silverstein Properties
- Tribute WTC 9/11 Visitor Center
- Downtown Restoration Program - Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
- National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center
- Project Rebirth
- World Trade Center Rising
- RebuildGroundZero.org, a community project based on Ground Zero's rebuilding.
- The Freedom Tower (YouTube)