Ideas for the World Trade Center Site

News giant CNN.com (Monday’s top story: Jason Priestly isn’t dead) is soliciting ideas for what to do with the site of the World Trade Center. People are sending in ideas with comments, which you can look at here. It’s a real interesting glimpse into how people feel about the event, nearly a year later.

There are several themes that run through most of the suggestions:

  1. Whatever we put on the site needs to be the biggest that in the world. If we only put a park bench there, it better be the biggest park bench ever.
  2. No matter what we put there, the previous buildings need to be present as well, through lights or skeletal structures.
  3. The actual footprints of the original buildings are sacred space and nothing should be built on them except for things like reflecting pools.

There are a few very interesting and well-thought designs, but a lot of them are just bizarrely over-the-top. Many submitters felt that the tragedy and solemnity of the site would best be conveyed through laser light shows, giant globes, animatronic firemen, and such. Everything short of a giant robotic Uncle Sam giving the finger towards Mecca is suggested here.

There are also some bizarre misfires, like the one suggestion that pretty much incorporates a “bulls-eye” into the design. Many other people want to use the site as a religious icon, either a giant cross (because clearly everyone who perished in the disaster was a Christian), or the sort of halfway thought out idea of having a cross, minaret, and Star of David all joining hands in an attempt at unity (despite that the cross and minaret all tower over the flattened star). My favorite tragic design involves a “stairway to heaven” that abruptly ends several hundred feet above the streets of New York City, supposedly to symbolize the ascent of the victims into heaven, but more likely becoming Disneyland for the suicidal.

Anyway, it’s a fascinating look at popular impressions of the tragedy.

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