As we approach the 4th of July, there’s one piece of America that is still a giant fucking hole, years after a disaster – well, obviously two, if you count New Orleans – but I’m talking about the World Trade Center site in downtown NYC. If there was a testament, a piece of visual poetry, to perfectly encapsulate America’s self-image, you don’t have to look any farther than Ground Zero almost seven years after the attack.
I drive by Ground Zero all the time, and for six years, it has looked exactly the same: bulldozers, temporary walkways, dirt, and plastic sheeting. If we weren’t so used to it, the site would be considered a brownfield blight, a tragedy that started on September 12 and never stopped.
You’d think it’d be a matter of national honor to get this site fixed. What would be a better metaphor for the American spirit than another tower, a bustling workplace, a somber yet soaring monument – hell, even a pasture with cows – to raise the spirits of New Yorkers and all Americans? We could even hoist the old “Don’t Tread On Us” flag and mean it. Instead, we’ve got this rain-filled sinkhole beset by a bunch of bullshit bureaucrats and a bunch of architects whacking off on our dollar.
The Empire State Building was built in 410 days during the Depression. How about the Hoover Dam, which required tunneling through the Black Canyon (twice), diverting the Colorado River, creating Lake Mead, and pouring the largest concrete structure in the world? Done in four years, largely with hand tools.
Oh, and for a bit of irony – 15 of the 19 hijackers on September 11 were from Saudi Arabia, now home of the Burj Dubai building [actually the U.A.E. – thanks, Ehren! -ed], which broke ground in September 2004 and will be the tallest man-made structure of any kind when finished next year.
Our festering gully of shame won’t even be finished by 2011. Seems we have another decade of squabbling, ninnyism, staggering inefficiency, cronyism, blame-shifting and ego to go through. What an incomprehensible lack of vision. Get used to it: