Volume 16 • Issue 46 | April 9 - 15, 2004

Panel named, agreement proposed for W.T.C. artifacts

By Josh Rogers

Downtown Express photo by Ramin Talaie

Photograph of a rendering of the Reflecting Absence memorial design by Michael Arad and Peter Walker and the nearby Freedom Tower design by David Childs. The pink section marks the area where the underground World Trade Center interpretive center will be.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. announced a new World Trade Center Memorial Center Advisory Committee to make recommendations about including artifacts from the Sept. 11 attacks in the memorial’s underground interpretive center.

The 24-member panel includes relatives of those who were killed in 2001 or in the 1993 W.T.C. bombing, preservationists, historians and residents.

One panelist, Nikki Stern, whose husband was killed on 9/11, said it will be very hard deciding which are the most important artifacts to include at the site. “Things where you can see they were part of a larger whole” are important to her. She also wants to include some of the damaged rescue vehicles she saw when she viewed the remnants at d Hangar 20 at J.F.K. Airport.

“I was out there for hours,” Stern said April 8, the day the panel was named. “ I couldn’t stop asking questions.” She and another family member on the committee, Virginia Bauer, whose husband died in the W.T.C., both said it was essential to have information about each person who died.

The panel also includes other family members, Robert Tierney, chairperson of the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, Kenneth Jackson, the prominent New York historian from Columbia University, and several Lower Manhattan residents including Meredith Kane, a real estate attorney who has served on L.P.C. and lives in Tribeca, Kathy Gupta, a Battery Park City resident and an executive at Henry Street Settlement, and David Stanke, who owns a condo across from the W.T.C. and has been an outspoken commentator on W.T.C. redevelopment.

Stanke, who was on vacation and not at the announcement at St. Paul’s Chapel, has been critical in recent days of the L.M.D.C.’s decision to adjust it’s historical preservation review to study more W.T.C. artifacts and to proposes an agreement with the State Historic Preservation Office to consider preserving the artifacts. In an e-mail to Community Board 1, Stanke criticized studying things like preserving the temporary safety tie-backs installed to the W.T.C. slurry wall after 9/11.

Photo courtesy of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
A steel piece from the World Trade Center North Tower facade now being stored at J.F.K. Airport

“Consideration of tie-back caps is ludicrous,” said Stanke, who also wrote an op-ed piece on the subject in this issue of Downtown Express (page 17).

Kevin Rampe, L.M.D.C. president, said Thursday that the agreement is meant to insure the process moves forward without delays. “That’s what we are hoping for,” said Rampe.

C.B. 1’s W.T.C. Redevelopment committee agreed with Rampe, endorsing the agreement with SHiPO at its April 7 meeting.

“This is not an instrument to thwart the plan,” said Jeff Galloway, a C.B. 1 member. “It replaces a reason for a lawsuit and this is far better than a lawsuit.”

Since the last day for public comments on the proposed L.M.D.C.-SHiPO agreement was April 8, the C.B. 1 committee decided to send its resolution endorsing the agreement without the backing of the entire community board..

Anthony Gardener, whose brother was killed in the attack and who has been one of the leaders in the fight to preserve as many remnants as possible, said the L.M.D.C. agreement is a movement in the right direction because it recognizes the importance of historic preservation. He said ignoring preservation is a sure-fire route to delay because it will lead to “time-consuming litigation.”



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