Sunday, October 16, 2016

New York City's World Trade Center Redevelopment

The World Trade Center site has certainly seen its share of dramatic transformations, decades ago it went from a landfill to an epicenter of finance with the twin towers as the centerpiece. Before the devastation, this was a complex with the soaring glass Winter Garden that was quite egalitarian: with shops and restaurants where most demographics could find something enticing. Then 9/11 occurred. And the long, drawn-out, much debated and argued about rebuilding process. And, yet, there were dining, shopping and drinking experiences that could appeal to almost every person. The waterfront property beckoned with its views of the Hudson and establishments where you could enjoy a mango sorbet at Ciao Bella, sip a glass of wine at an outdoor patio facing the Hudson at Southwest New York, shop at the Gap, pick up lunch at Blockheads Burrito, or meet a colleague for Japanese food at Yushi. All these shops and more were shuttered when the developer decided the place needed not only a new look, given the opening of the spectacularly overpriced Santiago Calatrava-designed train station, but needed to draw on customers that would otherwise gravitate to Madison Avenue. So now we have a site that feels cold and impersonal and highly elitist. Despite my negative reactions to most everything on the site with the exception of the stellar water views and expansive green spaces, I found some lovely design and architectural details to share.