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Reasons to Love New York

Because We Go On

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Today in the pit, after a month of unseasonably warm, blue-sky days that recalled the September Tuesday this giant scar in the ground was made, it feels like winter. A wind is whipping up clouds of dust seven stories beneath street level, where work is finally being done. On November 18, just a month ago and nearly 2,000 days after the attack, construction crews started pouring the foundation for the central core of the Freedom Tower. On a ramp on the south side of the site—a roadway longer than a football field and wide enough for the largest cranes—trucks bring in a steady supply of cement mixed in Red Hook and Maspeth. A new vehicle filled with the stuff rolls down the ramp every five minutes—60 of them in all over an eight-hour day, each arrival and departure meticulously choreographed. The steel rods that will frame the building’s inner-core walls are starting to go up now. Before those walls rise, the core will be propped up by another 170, larger strands of steel that will anchor the building into the ground—each of them 80 feet long and almost a foot thick, hammered down seventeen stories into solid rock below. The steel for the building’s columns, classified as “high-strength,” comes from Luxembourg and was prepped in Lynchburg, Virginia, where George Pataki, not one to forgo a photo op in a southern primary state, paid a visit earlier this month. When it’s done, in 2011, the 1,776-foot-tall Freedom Tower will, of course, be nothing like the tower of our once-lofty architectural dreams. That hope was dashed a thousand meetings and a million compromises ago. What it will be is another stolid, utilitarian Manhattan office building—a structure, in other words, a lot like the twin structures that used to stand here. But maybe that matters less than we thought. The important thing is, we’re moving on.


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