Volume 18 • Issue 47 | April 7 - 13, 2006

Downtown Express photo by Jefferson Siegel Downtown Express photo by Elisabeth Robert

By day, the Deutsche Bank building on Liberty St. is an eyesore to many, but since February, a zigzag pattern of lights have been turned on most nights.

Lights, or lipstick on a pig?

By Josh Rogers

Is it art or are they just lights?

Some Downtowners lately have been wondering about the zigzag pattern of lights on the damaged Deutsche Bank building across from the World Trade Center. The black-netted building was struck by 2 W.T.C. on 9/11 and has often been described as a “shrouded” reminder of the lack of rebuilding progress at the site. Three years ago, Gov. Pataki, proposed covering the building with a mural of Daniel Libeskind’s original drawing of the Freedom Tower, but by the end of 2003, the governor decided $1 million was too much to spend on a building slated to be demolished as soon as an insurance dispute was resolved.

Since then, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation bought the building and has been preparing to dismantle it later this year while the Freedom Tower design has been changed twice by David Childs. (Officials hope construction begins on the tower this month.)

So are the Deutsche lights an affordable attempt to give Downtowners a last pleasant memory of the building before it is taken down?

“I wish it were,” John Gallagher, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation spokesperson, wrote in an e-mail to Downtown Express. He said the lights are for the exterior stair tower and they have been turned on at nights since February for safety reasons connected to the scaffolding needed to dismantle the building. Any aesthetic benefits are purely accidental, he said.

“The construction of the stairs happens to be located (by design) in a position that the lighting appears to be intentional, as if representative,” Gallagher said.  “It is not meant to be anything and simply adheres to building code.”



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