Thirteen Years Later

Here’s what used to be on Lower Manhattan.

WTC

Those two white towers are rather stark in their simplicity, but appeared all the more powerful for it. They stood far above anything else, and the repetition of the shape added to their grandeur and their domination of the view. There was nothing like them anywhere nearby, and their power is almost palpable.

This is what’s replaced it:

WTCNew

The new design isn’t exactly bad, but the new effect certainly isn’t good. The single building doesn’t really stand out, and the overall appearance is rather spindly. At the time of the destruction of the old towers, Keyser said they should have been replaced pretty much exactly as they had been. Apart from the power of the old conception in its own terms, the message would have been simple and direct: Fuck you. You tried to destroy it once and you did nothing. Second time around, you did succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Yeah, you got us. And you know what? It did you no fucking good. Good, there it is again!

Instead, we get a sort of urban hipster skyscraper. It’s interesting, sure, but whatever vibe it gives off, it ain’t power and it ain’t authority. As the King of the Swamp Castle put it: “”When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that’s what you’re going to get, Lad, the strongest castle in all of England.”

So, we don’t get the “strongest castle in Manhattan,” but the hippiest new neighbor who lives venti grandes and hopes one day to get a used Prius.

But it is better than nothing.