Progress in the PitJun 27, 2008
For all the recriminations over the failure to rebuild at ground zero, a visit there yesterday found activity that is encouraging for all who hope that the World Trade Center site will once again be a center of commerce. Wearing a hardhat emblazoned with an American flag, we set out down the 10 flights of stairs that lead 80 feet below street level for an introduction to the geology of the site. At the bottom of the pit, Manhattan schist meets glacial deposits and rocks tumbled smooth from when the site was the Hudson riverbed. We encountered Brian Lyons, a Tishman construction manager who has been working at the site for 81 months, back to when what was happening there was not rebuilding but removal. “There’s a lot of progress. Everyone’s working hard,” he said. “There’s a lot of complicated things going on.” That was clear from the explosives clearing the way for skyscraper foundations, which were being detonated on a site where the New York City subway and PATH trains regularly pass by.
Those transport links are one of the assets of the location. So is the proximity to the new Goldman Sachs headquarters under construction nearby, to the restaurants of TriBeCa, and to the residential neighborhoods of brownstone Brooklyn, Battery Park City, and the financial district. It is easy to become discouraged or cynical about the rebuilding effort, which has now been controlled by three governors of New York. As we reported yesterday, the demolition of the Deutsche Bank building is expected to cost $280 million, or more than four times what it cost to build. But it would be a mistake to miss the hopeful signs, among them the quiet presence on our tour yesterday of Robbie Silverstein, the 16-year-old grandson of the lease owner at the site, Larry Silverstein. If office buildings soar again soon at the trade center site it will be not least because of Larry Silverstein’s determination to rebuild.