Online Poker, Fantasy Football, TMZ or a Reasonable Discussion of What Exactly Happened on 9/11?

I was alluding to the fact that people can spend hours investigating a succotash recipe or watch hours of mindless television or play video poker until the cows come home, eat and then go back

out but immediately scoff and mock a discussion of the worst attack on the U.S. in it’s history.

It’s disturbing.

Liberal architects investigating the World Trade Center Towers?

Please.

Heady Days, Immortalized Where the Ticker Tape Fell

The New York Times


September 30, 2004

BLOCKS By DAVID W. DUNLAP

 

IN the midst of the longest ticker-tape drought in a quarter century, lower Broadway – the Canyon of Heroes – has been paved instead with 164 granite plaques from Bowling Green to the Woolworth Building.

They commemorate ticker-tape parades from October 1886, when the Statue of Liberty was dedicated, to October 2000, when the Yankees last won the World Series. They were commissioned before 9/11 under a plan by the Alliance for Downtown New York to improve the streetscape with new sidewalks, lampposts, signs and wastebaskets.

Only in recent weeks has the parade chronology been finished from beginning to end. Thirty-six intermediate plaques will be installed as permitted by construction projects along the route.

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Against the shadow of Sept. 11, 2001, these plaques recall a carefree, exuberant, giddy spirit that may be difficult to conjure again downtown, even if the Yankees do their part.

Carefree? How about the parade in May 1962 when President Félix Houphouët-Boigny of the Ivory Coast was cheered as “Scott Carpenter” by spectators who mistakenly assumed he was a newly returned astronaut.

Exuberant? How about the 1,900 tons of paper showered on Douglas (Wrong Way) Corrigan in August 1938 after his flight from New York to Ireland “instead of his ‘intended’ destination of California,” as the plaque says, with quotation marks that constitute one of the few instances of editorializing.

Giddy? How about May 1950, when there was a parade every day for three days, beginning with one for Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan of Pakistan. He was assassinated a year later, one of many foreign leaders who were hailed in the Canyon of Heroes and then jailed, deposed or murdered back home.

“It was almost like a death sentence to get a ticker-tape parade,” said Kenneth R. Cobb, the director of the municipal archives, who has compiled a parade history.

After several spontaneous outbursts, one of the first organized uses of paper tape from stock-market tickers occurred Nov. 18, 1919, in a parade for the Prince of Wales, later the Duke of Windsor.

Grover A. Whalen, the city’s official greeter, recalled in his 1955 autobiography, “Mr. New York,” that he arranged a word-of-mouth campaign among downtown businesses to give the prince a spectacular reception with streams of ticker tape. It wound up including torn-up phone books. (Hmmm. A city official, proud of his Irish descent, contriving to welcome the Prince of Wales by inundating him with waste paper thrown out of windows in tall buildings.)

Watching the paper fall on the Yankees in 1996, Carl Weisbrod, the president of the Downtown Alliance, and Suzanne O’Keefe, the vice president for design, agreed that something should be done to commemorate the parades.

As part of the $20 million streetscape project, under the direction of Cooper, Robertson & Partners, the design studio Pentagram came up with the idea of simple granite sidewalk strips – not unlike the ticker-tape ribbons that remain after a parade, said Michael Bierut, a Pentagram partner – with the date and a few words of description.

(An illustrated brochure and map with information about all 200 parades can be picked up at kiosks outside City Hall and the World Trade Center PATH station or through the alliance, at downtownny.com or 212-835-2789.)

The plaques were made by Dale Travis Associates, the firm responsible for the silver-leaf lettering in the Freedom Tower cornerstone. The granite blocks, 8 inches wide and 3 inches deep, were cut with a water jet, Dale L. Travis said. Then the two-inch stainless-steel letters were inserted, held by pins and thermoplastic grout.

Last week, Jorge Condez and Paul Corrales of A.F.C. Enterprises set some of the last plaques, including “October 28, 1986 * New York Mets, World Series Champions,” into place near Vesey Street.

THREE years and 11 months have passed since the last parade, the longest interval since the 1978 Yankees broke a nine-year dry spell in the Canyon of Heroes.

The next parade will not be easy. The image of a paper blizzard suspended in midair among the downtown skyscrapers, once a visual metaphor for civic celebration, was transformed on Sept. 11, 2001, into a metaphor for cataclysm.

Is it still? Mr. Bierut hopes not. “Part of the resiliency of the city is retaining its own meaning for those metaphors and not surrendering them,” he said. “The post-terror condition has acclimated people to view any disruption of routine as a cause for alarm. There will come a time when the disruption of the routine of city life is seen as something wonderful.”

“Ticker-tape parades were the very essence of that,” Mr. Bierut said.

Just in case, Ms. O’Keefe said, there are 33 blank spots available on Broadway and Park Row to mark future parades. At the current pace, she figured, that ought to last a century and a half.

World Trade Center Memorial Delayed By Two More Years

From The Associated Press

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(AP) – Construction of the memorial and underground museum commemorating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will be finished in 2011, two years later than originally planned, officials said Tuesday.

Officials had said for years that Sept. 11, 2009, would be the opening date for the museum and the “Reflecting Absence” memorial, which surrounds two waterfall-filled pools marking the World Trade Center tower footprints.

The builders of the memorial adjusted the timetable last year, saying the above-ground plaza would open in 2009 and the underground museum open a year later.

Steve Plate, who oversees the rebuilding of the trade center site for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said Tuesday that the schedule would be pushed back another year.

Agency spokeswoman Candace McAdams said the schedule was revised to reflect a more realistic schedule that became clear after construction began.

“We see the reality, and want to operate on responsible timelines,” Ms. McAdams said. “We’ll work as aggressively as possible to complete the project as soon as possible.”

Mr. Plate, the agency’s director of priority capital programs, said that by 2009, the reflecting pools in the memorial would be built up to street level. By 2010, the cobblestone-filled plaza surrounding the memorial pools will be “nearly complete,” he said. Ms. McAdams said the plaza would be open to the public by that time.

The entire memorial, museum and pavilion will be finished by 2011, Mr. Plate said.
Construction of the memorial began in spring of 2006, and briefly stopped while architect Michael Arad’s design was altered to cut costs that were approaching $1 billion. The redesign — which cut over $200 million in costs — made the museum a bit smaller and moved stone parapets listing the names of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks to street level.