So Mayor Bloomberg finally caved in the face of the collective fit thrown by some 9/11 victim relatives, who demanded the sixth-anniversary ceremonies be held in the pit at ground zero and only there. The Port Authority will now contort to allow the mourners to, as the mayor said in a statement, “descend the ramp in a single-file stream that keeps moving into a limited area … and then to ascend back to street level.” We can understand why Bloomie gave up — nobody wants to be the villain, and how bad would pissing off 9/11 widows look in, say, some sort of national campaign?
But the entire dance preceding the agreement was one of the most mutually degrading give-and-takes in recent memory. And the compromise is near-farcical: Go down the stairs, “pay respects,” don’t touch anything, watch out for the crane, come back up. The families’ masochistic eagerness to subject themselves to this treatment over a matter of (let’s be frank) pure protocol scares us far more. It’s rooted in proud refusal to see ground zero for what it is to the rest of the city — an agonizingly slow construction site — and this means we’re no longer on the same page. At this point in New York’s history, every day spent on ceremony puts us a day further from moving on.