Volume 16 • Issue 20 | October 14 - 20, 2003



What memorial?
Winter Garden visitors confused over plans

By Ashley Winchester

Downtown Express photo by Akiko Miyazaki

Winter Garden viewers look at the proposed memorial area for the World Trade Center site.

Although tourists continue to view the World Trade Center site from the Winter Garden’s expansive second-floor picture windows, many do not know that the memorial has not been selected yet, thinking it was already part of the selected site plan of Daniel Libeskind.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation announced it will exhibit the final proposals for the W.T.C. memorial in the Winter Garden when the finalists are announced in a few weeks. In the meantime, visitors to the Winter Garden lobby can view an ongoing wall exhibit highlighting Libeskind’s master site plan, which identifies where the memorial will be.

Los Angeles tourist Gary Borman and his friend, Claudia Butler, formerly of New York, were not aware of the memorial competition prior to visiting the “From Recovery to Renewal” exhibit.

“I didn’t like the plans for the memorial when I first saw the visual,” Butler said, referring to the site plan. “My first reaction was how modern it was, I didn’t like it, but now that I’m reading about the plans, with all the explanation, I like it. If I was designing the memorial, I would leave the wall, and put up the names and ages of the people who died in the attacks. To me one of the most dramatic things about the loss was that it was all aggressive, corporate people in the prime of their life.”

“I like how they kept the walls of the bathtub as a reminder, and the Wedge of Light idea,” Borman said of the final site design. Originally, Libeskind said the plaza wedge would have no shadows each year during the morning hours of Sept. 11 and now it is unclear what the lighting effect will be. When told this, Borman said he would still like the idea as long as there would be some light on the plaza on Sept. 11.

“I also like the idea of a museum or structure, a place where people can go and spend time and reflect,” Borman said. “She likes all the retail space.”

Despite ongoing efforts to attract constant traffic to the area through these exhibits, however, many Winter Garden businesses continue to suffer from the post-9/11 economy. When Libeskind’s design and its eight competitors were released last December, it did attract crowds to the World Financial Center, but some merchants were skeptical about whether the upcoming memorial exhibit will be much of a help to business.

“During the week we used to see lunch crowds and shoppers, now it’s mostly weekend customers,” Korin said, referring to 2001. “People when they walk by are still spooked. It’s dead in here on weekdays. They don’t want to come into the store, but this isn’t a graveyard. Who knows how long before things will really return to normal and they’ll be finished with the memorial? Ten years? More?”

He favors building over the towers’ footprints.

Watch Station employee Isaiah Nazario said his store has been doing well, but mentioned it is new to the Winter Garden.

“Business has been good, and we’ve been meeting our personal selling goals,” he said. “I don’t think the store was here pre-9/11, though. As for the memorial, they should just rebuild the towers.”


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