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June 30, 2005

I seen one a them before
Posted by Teresa at 10:31 AM *

Anybody else notice (this is Patrick’s observation) that the proposed redesign of the “Freedom Tower” on the WTC site looks like one of those big spitted hunks of meat that get sliced up to make gyros and donner kebabs?

Comments on I seen one a them before:
#1 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 10:57 AM:

A couple of years ago, I saw a design I rather liked: it looked like the New York Salute.

#2 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 11:03 AM:

It looks like the bastard child of a kebab and the John Hancock building.

I guess if it isn't totally unlivable at ground level, I'll be satisfied. (But what are the chances of that?)

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 11:06 AM:

Zero. It's blank-faced to the street for its first 200 feet.

#4 ::: Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 11:26 AM:

D'oh! Now I'm hungry again. A 1776-foot-tall donair... every dog in the city would head towards that scent, and Weight Watchers would go bust.

Now, to arrange for the tanker-ships of tzatziki and a pita the size of Brooklyn... do you think a single B-52 load of paprika would be enough, or should I book a squadron?

#5 ::: moni ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 12:00 PM:

It looks so 1982. I can almost hear the music of the opening credits for Dallas, the tv show. Shiny pointy towers!

Could have been 50% less fugly without the spike.

#6 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 12:03 PM:

If it wasn't going to be 96 in the shade today, I'd be heading to House of Greek (House of Greek what, I always wonder) for lunch. The more I think about the feta cheese the more I'm tempted...

#7 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 12:10 PM:

Too bad the late Gerry Anderson isn't around anymore. He came up with some great designs in "Thunderbirds". Of course, if someone had a car accident in the underground parking, next thing you know, the whole place would be on fire like it's a tinderbox.

#8 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 12:12 PM:

moni: Could have been 50% less fugly without the spike.

But then it wouldn't have been as tall, and tallness is virtue and goodness and apple pie. And what good is a wonking great phallic symbol without a spike shooting from the tip?

#9 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 12:14 PM:

David! Stop playing with your food!

#10 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 12:23 PM:

those big spitted hunks of meat that get sliced up to make gyros and donner kebabs?

We call that a "meat tornado."

#11 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 12:33 PM:

If it was a little more square in cross section, the whole group of structures would look like a bunch of gigantic freedom fries sticking up out of the ground.

They couldn't be thinking of that, could they?

#12 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 12:38 PM:

I have to say, I'm all for Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill bringing their unique brand of faceless behemoth to other cities. Maybe that will keep them out of Chicago for a while!
These are the buildings that are going to be hidden by the new Trump tower...sigh. The Sun-Times building (former occupant of the Trump site) was an eyesore, certainly, but it was a short eyesore.

#13 ::: Tiel Jackson ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 12:38 PM:

Hmmm... anyone remember Bakshi's "Cool World" and the "spike of power"?

I try not to read semiotic meaningfulness into every random bit of architecture that goes past... but sometimes they just rub your nose in it.

#14 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 12:53 PM:

Another phallic obsenity.

There it's been said.

Actually if it weren't for the spike o' doom I kind of like the twisty way it looks.

Tacky airline jokes omited.

#15 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 01:02 PM:

More seriously, this is really sad. The old WTC was not a well-loved structure, but it had its graces. Liebskind's competition submission was interesting and beautiful. The way things are going, NYC is going to get something less than either.

...you will be getting a Calatrava transit center, though!

#16 ::: Manon ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 01:07 PM:

Agreed. There's uninspired architecture, and then there's crimes against concrete.

#17 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 01:19 PM:

If I ran New York, They'd be building the old Gaudi tower, a giaqnt green organic thing that looks like a martian sky scraper.

#18 ::: Daniel S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 01:31 PM:

It feels appropriate. Freedom, like a well-made gyro, is delicious, if fattening, and it's good to have a symbol reminding us of that.
And if it looks Freudian, well, I suppose the ability to display an enormous phallus in public is just the kind of freedom this administration wishes to protect. All this military buildup has to have some meaning.

#19 ::: moni ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 01:33 PM:

Aconite: yeah I guess it's the height thing. I've never seen a spike-shaped phallus but maybe I just don't get around much. The gherkin in London, now that's a nicer shape. Looks more like a giant suppository than a phallus, but it's got all those spirally cool glass surfaces.

Spikes are pure evil, the evillest of all has to be the one they planted in the middle of Dublin. Only a spike, without a building beneath it. Does it get any crazier? It's so ugly it's making people dream up conspiracy theories to explain its existence.

#20 ::: moni ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 01:39 PM:

(Maybe the conspiracy nuts are right and the spike in Dublin will broadcast secret microwave signals to the spike in New York)

#21 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 01:49 PM:

I'll admit that, as a Californian, I'd never heard of "donner kebabs" which to me conjures up images of the Donner party--not the most auspicious thing for ground zero.

But I looked them up. Out here, we just call them gyros.

The new design to me looks like the business end of a Flash Gordon laser gun, especially if the spire gets a ring around it and the whole thing's set up to glow.

As for the design of the base with the long narrow windows, might as well just make them proper arrow slits and add a few murder holes while you're at it.

I'm also a fan of making a building the height you want, and not counting the pointy bit on top. A 5'6" woman with a 1'6" beehive cannot claim to be seven feet tall. If so, Marge Simpson should be in the NBA.

Something with two towers joined by bridges joining up into one tower high above might be nice, from both the symbolic and aesthetic end, but oh well.

#22 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 01:52 PM:

Gaudi tower, strong maybe.

I'm thinking something Art Deco, with autogyro landing pads outside of the Chock Full O' Nuts on the 131st floor.

#23 ::: Daniel Boone ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 02:01 PM:

I'm still in the school of thought that says we should have rebuilt 'em exactly the way they were (exterior-wise) albeit perhaps with some structural and fireproofing improvements. Alternatively, make 'em twenty stories taller.

"And that one, that one stayed up!"

That's what the America I remember would have done. And I'm not yet forty.

The message is "You knocked down our building? Fine! We can build another. And while you're figuring out how to knock that one down, we'll build six more. You're wasting your time."

#24 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 02:14 PM:

I already gave up when they didn't select my design for the memorial section. I tried to create something that was a memorial with some humanity. The design they picked seems like an absract and almost indifferent design.

#25 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 02:33 PM:

If the top and bottom were the same size, as they appear in this New York Times photo, it'd be a square antiprism: just slightly less boring a shape than the original square prisms of the World Trade Center.

This design gets worse and worse with every revision.

#26 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 02:37 PM:

Mary Dell...oh no! That's what they're going to put up? Dang. There goes the skyline.
This thing in New York is...very....very...It looks like something to give King Kong a bigger perch. Or something.

#27 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 03:46 PM:

theophylact:

Thanks for mentioning, and thus giving me a chance for referencing:
Eric W. Weisstein. "Antiprism." From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource.

The link takes you to 3-D images that you can rotate with your mouse, and paper cut-outs that fold up to those shape, and more formulae than anyone wants. But the 3-D pictures, really...

#28 ::: Beth Meacham ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 05:26 PM:

Crap. Now I want a gyro.

That building is a nice symbol of Fortress America. Megalomania with paranoia at its base.

#29 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 05:37 PM:

It's the 200 foot concrete "plinth" that gets me. How do you get in the building? Or do they just leave ropes dangling down the sides, so that the suited tenants can rappel up and down the sides, briefcase clenched in their teeth, lattes swinging in carry-cups hung from their belts?

Yugh.

#30 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 05:46 PM:

Y'know, I could almost admire the sheer brutality of a 200-foot-high slab of concrete (Have you ever been to see Grand Coulee Dam?) but they're sticking mirrored panels all over it? It's going to be a goddamn disco-ball?

This is just cheap and ugly.

#31 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 05:50 PM:

alex: Think of it as a life-size tribute to Studio 54.

#32 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 06:09 PM:

I think those slabs would make a great place for monumental bas reliefs of important events in New York hist . . . oh, let's get real, they'll use them for advertising.

#33 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 06:16 PM:

Maybe New Yorkers need to demonstrate for better architecture.

#34 ::: Dan Lewis ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 06:24 PM:

This post reminds me, inevitably, of that old Simpsons episode (#4F22) where Homer gets booted in NYC at the base of the twin towers:

Vendor-"Khlav kalash! Khlav kalash!"
Homer-"Can you get me some pizza?"
Vendor-"No pizza only khlav kalash."
Homer-"Ok i'll take a small bowl."
Vendor-"No bowl! Stick! Stick!"
Homer-"Now what do you have to rinse that awful taste out of my mouth?"
Vendor-"Mountain Dew or Crab Juice."
Homer-"Yuck! I'll take a Crab Juice please! More,more,more. Uh oh! You got a mens room in there?"
Vendor-"Mens room in tower! Observation deck!"

#35 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 07:35 PM:

Not microwaves, moni.

The Monstrowucans of Dublin will exert their brain-elements and call out and within the Great Redoubt of New York, lit and protected like the Spire of Dublin by the Earth Current tapped deep beneath the darkened surface, the last Sensitive Ones atop their towering fortress may feel the solemn throb of the Master Word from far across that waste where once there was an Ocean, even as they gaze out past the vast bulk of the Watching Thing to the West:

"Howayez?"

#36 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 07:56 PM:

Wow. Should make the Gozerologists happy.

Me, I'm a liberal reform Gozerian. Happy Sloar roasting day, BTW.

#37 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 08:46 PM:

One of the things I like about Berlin is the pervasiveness of Döner Kebab stands that are open very, very late. My only gripe is that to Germans, one red pepper flake = screaming hot dish, so the hot sauce wasn't. (And don't even ask about the Indian food...)

So, if we set up a bunch of Döner/Donner/Donair Kebab stands in Manhattan, they might soak up the Döner karma and we'll get the Liebeskind design back. Seemed to work with Berlin and the Jewish Museum.

(Agreed with Kevin Andrew Murphy that "Donner" Kebab is scary, never heard that variant before!)

#38 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 09:28 PM:

Big ol' nosy government's gotten into the preparation of donner kebabs. WarringtonView:

Advisory Note 16 - The Safe Preparation of Donner Kebabs

1. Ensure, when cooking, that meat is thoroughly cooked through on the inner side of the slice.
2. Ensure that employees have received adequate training to be able to cut thin slices. Consider the use of a mechanical donner kebab slicer as a means of ensuring thin slices of meat.

There are fourteen more rules.

#39 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 09:35 PM:

I know I'm a little late with this, but Gerry Anderson's still alive, and is apparently about to produce a new version of "Captain Scarlet." (Though Derek Meddings, the special effects supervisor (for Anderson and some obscure films like the Superman series, half a dozen James Bonds, and Burton's Batman, died a number of years back.)

Back on the topic, the requirement that the building be, to be honest about it, a bunker pretty much screwed its looking like anything from the ground. One of my several architectural crotchets is large buildings that are intended to look good from some undefined position in space (which may not even be an achievable view), with no concern at all for the street view. They usually have snazzy renderings (or Photoschleps) and swell models, but that's about it. (We have a notably ugly Peijira downtown. I finally saw the model, and from defined angles, without the surrounding buildings, it's not all that bad. In context, it's junk.)

The height requirement is merely a numerological cantrip, and what does it say about the men behind the curtain that it's essentially a fib? (The Chrysler Building cheated in this fashion, but only in terms of relative height . . . and of course, it's a good building regardless of its numbers.)

Buildings can't help making statements, whether it's "wouldn't you like to live here?" or "Our firm is not cooking its books, really," or "Clowns eat here." No physical structure could possibly carry the psychic load demanded of the site. The answer that makes sense from an urban-design point of view -- provide a memorial, but assume that people are not bleeping stupid and do not need a Two-Minute Hate Pavilion, and build something that would grace the location and serve practical, rather than ideological, uses. (In the not-absurd case that another giant office block would be inappropriate, an open public space, with all the kinds of things that would attract walkers, and no damn revetments or barbed wire, could certainly have been put there, though we know why that didn't happen.) Cities change as they age, and every time someone builds a building to last until the end of time, either it falls down or Lord Elgin pries something off of it.

A long time ago, an architect was showing off some urban models to this other guy, and the other guy reminded the designer that he hadn't put flak towers on the tall buildings. He said --and, according to the architect, he didn't say it cheerfully -- that flak towers were the new essential for urban architecture. The architect was Albert Speer; you probably know who the other guy was.

#40 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 09:53 PM:

John M. Ford:

The other guy being a vegetarian utopian occultist victim of a posion gas attack (weapon of mass destruction), and frustrated semiprofessional painter, denied entrance into art school, with deep interest in urban renewal, his way. Really wanted to add Paris and Moscow to his city collection, too.

#41 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 10:06 PM:

This may work out for the best, if we also get buildings that look like hot dogs, pushcart pretzels, bagels, knishes. Maybe a nice slice pizza? Ess, bubbeleh, you're wasting away.

#42 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 10:11 PM:

There was a time when SOM made modern buildings that worked. Either that, or they just hate New York City.

The right answer is to rebuild them, in thier hideous, former glory, exactly the same. "Oh, you knocked down what? Those buildings? The ones standing there? They don't look knocked down to me."

The only acceptable answer that's likely to happen is to build nothing at all.

This? This is just awful. "Freedom tower. Go away."

We thought Government Center was bad.

#43 ::: Nancy Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 10:16 PM:

It looks like the gyro slabs that come from your way. For some reason the ones up here in the Greek sub shops are short, fat, and completely cylindrical (which led me to wonder if NYC was building a giant septic pipe set on end).

I found that Alton Brown had a lovely episode and recipe for creating gyro meat slabs either in a loaf pan or using a rotisserie grill. I keep meaning to try it, perhaps using my mother's 1950s-era electric rotisserie (infidel that I am).

#44 ::: Sundre ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 10:25 PM:

John M. Ford: This person thinks that an open public space sounds good. I haven't been to New York - is there anything about the site that would make a park unfeasable or inappropriate? Or is the lure of we have the technology, we will rebuild you just too sweet for some to resist?

#45 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 10:53 PM:

When I was working at the Harvard School of Design I sat in on one of the lectures. I do not recall the name or city of the Big Ugly Mirrored-Glass Tower that was under discussion, but it was plunked down among a a whole lot of brick and granite structures varying from six to twenty storeys high (this thing was about eighty storeys). The instructor's comment: "This is not vernacular architecture. In a dialogue between this building and its surroundings, this building shouts "I don't care!"

A 200 ft. plinth shouts "Bank vault!"

#46 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 11:14 PM:

There's certainly nothing technically impossible about building a park (using that term generically -- "open pedestrian space with small structures, some memorial, some commercial within very strict limits (foodservice would probably be good, maybe a kiosk for NY travel and architecture books)." To put it another way, one can always not build a building. On the other hand, if the GWB were destroyed, it would be physically necessary to replace it. There's also a major transit complex below (the routes have changed since The Day, but any project will contain new tracks); a daylighted, landscaped plaza entry ought to be attractive and could be designed to allow rapid exit in case of an underground emergency (assuming one was actually interested in, you know, security). A little thought about design could make it very hard to drive a smoldering clown car into it.

But this is also the financial center of the known universe, to the degree that something so networked still has a center. The many business tenants would probably like to have offices pretty much where they did. Heck, Windows on the World was pretty cool, though American Harvest probably had better food. I really don't want to cast it as a "do we do an appropriate building, or do we make rent?" split, because I don't think those are mutually exclusive. If it's not apparent, I'm not committed to one particular answer, but I want the answer to be in response to the real questions of use, not a gigantic statue of Stalin giving the bird to foreigners while pissing on the workers below. As Erik said, rebuilding is a positive response, and a public statement, in its own right.

I'll admit that I like open urban spaces, and Manhattan does not have many of them -- actually, it wasn't meant to have any, until someone paused to think and Olmstead and Vaux started moving dirt around. And "pocket parks" like Paley, that take up a fraction of a block, do a lot to open up the city. If I really wanted to get kicked out of Bloomberg's office, I might suggest extending the West Side Line as an elevated pedestrian way in an arc through the WTC plaza to South Ferry. And then to the Electric Telegraphy Interdome at One NY Plaza, right up to the Port Authority Zeppelin Terminal.

#47 ::: Abby Vigneron ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 12:44 AM:

I loved the line about the GSD and the non-vernacular architecture. Funny thing is that it pretty much sums up a lot of the designs that come out of that school.

#48 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 12:47 AM:

Janet, I always preferred The Greek House on Jenkins. Has it gone downhill, or is it no longer there?

Alas, it's been closed for the holidays every time I've been home in the past decade.

#49 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 01:08 AM:

Looking back, I see that I have inadvertently left an ambiguous wording. The line:

. . . if the GWB were destroyed, it would be physically necessary to replace it.

refers, of course, to the George Washington Bridge, and not . . . anything else. At all. Nohow.

#50 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 02:11 AM:

Mr. Ford: Ws may come and may Ws go, but the GWB is forever.

#51 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 02:29 AM:

Suddenly I want to design the logo for the Othmar H. Ammann Appreciation Society, for the front of a T-shirt, with the bridge list on the back -- GWB, Bayonne, Bronx-Whitestone, Triborough, Throgs Neck, and Verrazano-Narrows. (He also did some work on the Goethals and the Golden Gate.)

Not sure what the exact design would be -- using one of the bridges, probably the GWB, would be obvious, and would certainly work, though I'm not sure if its image requires a permission. (I would doubt it, but, well, IP, you know.) Type arranged in a bridge shape, with some supporting lines, would work, and wouldn't pick on one particular bridge.

Not that I have time for this. Though I'll bet Henry Petroski would buy one.

#52 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 02:38 AM:

My Dad, always the editor, used to complain that "GWB" has the same number of syllables as "George Washington Bridge" and thus, read aloud on radio traffic reports, saves no syllables, and thus is not a true acronym or abbreviation. Then, despite a lifetime as a Wall Street Conservative Republican, he refused to vote for George W. Bush, and complained that "GWB" was even less acceptable now as an abbreviation.

#53 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 02:51 AM:

A post combining Berlin, urban architecture, and ethnic food:

On the top floor of the Berlin Pergamon Museum there is now a set of models for a proposed expansion of the city’s Museum Island. They invited three schools to participate, offering young architects an opportunity to dream up a building on an unusually-shaped plot, and in dialogue with some substantial historic existing buildings.

The three schools were Harvard, UT Austin, and the Dresden Polytechnic Institute, and the results very thought-provoking. To wit: all the Germans could do was boxes, either horizontal or vertical. Austin was consistently more interesting than Cambridge. But across all schools, the best designs were 1) Asian students, and 2) US women, and especially the former. I have no idea if their buildings were structurally sound, but the level of creativity, ingenuity, respect for surroundings, and sheer beauty was sharply in contrast with other entries.

So I went for Indian food to celebrate, and Larry is right: it’s oddly cool and flavorless – and counterintuitive in that the sauces that look innocuous (green and yellow) are scathingly hot while the deep-red-danger-Will-Robinson one is mild and sweet.

#54 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 02:55 AM:

Mike Ford: in the context given, the other obvious interpretation of 'GWB' is patently absurd, and thus not a serious communication risk.

#55 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 08:21 AM:

The original buildings were, frankly, ugly, and wouldn't be any less so if rebuilt with added structural support. Nor would they satisfy the paranoid desire to prevent close approach at ground level. Nothing tolerable will, because there just isn't the space: in theory, you could do it with a nice large plaza, full of trees and benches and fountains, fruit stands and book stalls and hot dog vendors. But not the plazas they had last time, those just didn't work, they weren't particularly appealing or inhabited. And you'd need the trees and benches and so on to block the hypothetical truck bombs the Port Authority and NYPD are worrying about.

#56 ::: Michael Turyn ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 09:37 AM:

Fie to those occult theories: this is Science.

It is well known that the shawarmoid-and-spike configuration is the best for a nearly omnidirectional deflector/effector; this building will protect itself and the entire Wall Street area from planes, bombs, ambitious attorneys-general, and (of course) body thetans.

#57 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 09:44 AM:

About open spaces... I remember my first visit to New York City in 1982. Of course I walked all the way from 42nd Street down to the WTC and I was quite disappointed by the plaza. Maybe my memory is playing tricks on me, but what I remember is a wide expanse of concrete with few trees. And few people around. I hope they do better this time around.

#58 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 09:52 AM:

Gerry Anderson is still alive, John? Oh my. That means he may have been forced to watch the dreadful movie version of "Thunderbirds" last summer. Ack.

#59 ::: Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 10:04 AM:

Isn't there some kind of requirement for a minimum amount of office space for buildings on the WTC lot as part of the 99-year land lease? I need an internal search engine to cull through my brain... ah, here we go though I don't recognise the source. The option of not building isn't there as the land reverts back to the city if they don't... and the city would look for tax dollar return (whereas parks are tax dollar outlays) on a prime location like that.

Y'know, I thought the current draft of the building was an improvment upon the one they were going to foist off before... until you guys told me that those weren't windows in the "casement".

The upper works should look much better than that silly bird-cage contraption they had up there before, but basing the light and airy upper on a bunker sends the wrong economic and political message entirely. (And would probably be oppressive to work in on the lower levels... light, more light...)

#60 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 10:31 AM:

It's a little debatable how many displaced firms would actually move "back" into the old WTC area; the single almost-completed replacement building is having a hard time finding tenants. It's also debatable how many workers will want to work in a building that almost all lay people are assuming will be a target.

Mike: You could sell me at least 2 of those t-shirts, one in an adult size and one in a youth size, particularly if the bridge was small on the front and bigger on the back.

#61 ::: Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 10:32 AM:

(Once again, I get a better idea all too soon after posting. Gotta stop doing that.)

I do wish I'd thought to mention this before the redesign, but I have a much more elegant and cost-effective solution to the bomb-proofing problem of the Freedom Tower than building a giant concrete encasement at the base. It preserves the natural light in the interior, saves on building material, and frees up valuable office space with no reduction of safety.

Put a mosque on the roof.

#62 ::: Michael Turyn ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 10:42 AM:

The mosque idea won't work, since to any Islamic extremist who might want to blow up the building, any Muslims who might try to prevent them are not really submitting to God's Will (whose only valid interpretation is the extremists'), and so are not really Muslims---and "false Muslims" are particularly despised, not surprising in a religion that grew very quickly at the beginning and might have feared insincere converts.

#63 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 11:12 AM:

Todd, Greek House is still the best gyros place in Norman -- I plan to go there for lunch today if my daughter is agreeable, since it will only be 90 degrees in the shade -- but House of Greek is a funnier name. And if I send people to House of Greek instead, maybe I can get a parking space at Greek House...

#64 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 11:23 AM:

JVP: Your dad missed that "jee-dubbaya-bee" is just plain easier to say than "jawrj washingtun bridj".

#65 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 11:35 AM:

Mike--I could get you at least two adult sales, probably three, and a junior as well, for that t-shirt. O, lookie, another business opportunity!


#66 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 01:13 PM:

(Once again, I get a better idea all too soon after posting. Gotta stop doing that.)

A perfectly normal and quite common phenomenon, known as L'esprit de l'Escape-Key.

#67 ::: Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 01:30 PM:

JMF: Thank you. I did laugh out loud on that one.

Micheal Turyn: I said that my bomb-proofing technique is as effective as the casement. Which does not mean that I think it is effective, just cheaper and less of an esthetic atrocity.

#68 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 01:57 PM:

One of my several architectural crotchets is large buildings that are intended to look good from some undefined position in space (which may not even be an achievable view), with no concern at all for the street view.

I get it now - Chicago Trump tower will probably look great from Warren Dunes. Too bad I work 2 blocks away from the future site of the thing.

#69 ::: Thomas Nephew ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 02:11 PM:

I'm persuaded that it looks like a giant syringe.

#70 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 04:08 PM:

Oh, whew, Janet. I was afraid all night that I'd lost my chance to return forever. Sorry for blowing your cover -- hope you're able to get a parking place anyway!

#71 ::: Charles Suggs ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 07:21 PM:

Janet, new Greek place one block West of Jenkins. Good Spanikopitas!

#72 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 09:18 PM:

Mark D - Since you were on Museum Island (a truly wonderful place) I wonder if you went to the Indian place right near the Hackeschen Hoefe (on Oranienburgerstrasse I think) which is truly medocre, or if you found your way to something better - I found an OK one on the Prenzlauer Allee, but I forget the name.

There is some good Vietnamese food to be had in Berlin (but skip Mr. Vuong), which can be had at the authentic heat level if you ask.

#73 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 09:45 PM:

I get it now - Chicago Trump tower will probably look great from Warren Dunes.

Oh, yeah. Talk about "Be careful what you wish for."

"They're tearing down the Sun-Times? Cool! Who's replacing it?"

"oh, fuck."

There are Chicagoans with fond memories of that building. I'm not one of them. The only thing the Sun-Times building had going for it was that it was Small and Ugly -- worse, it was on Chicago's Great Corner, the Mag Mile and the River.

(The differences between the Sun-Times and Tribune buildings did make for easy allegory. But it was still ugly.)

I don't want to know how bad Chi-Trump will be. I'm still trying to cope with the Toilet Bowl.

At least The Bean does not, in fact, suck. Matter of fact, it (and the whole park) are amazing. But when you read "They want to put a 40,000 silver jelly bean on the lakefront", you don't exactly have much hope.

Maybe we'll get lucky, Trump will screw up, and we'll get a decent building there. Hell, the Cubs almost won. The Bean doesn't suck. It could happen. Sure. Yeah. That's the ticket.

#74 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 10:40 PM:

I was always amused, when the plans were afoot to expand the Guggenheim, that, at least in what I read, not one single commentator observed the essentially unavoidable problem with putting a rectangular building behind the circular gallery. It was nakedly obvious in every rendering.

I wonder sometimes if Wright didn't do that deliberately, to prevent anyone from putting another building, or at least a conventional box, there.

#75 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 05:19 AM:

Larry: For posting purposes I conflated my time in Germany, and the Indian food was in Munich. It wasn't BAD, mind you, just...different. I can heartily recommend going for Chinese in Liverpool - it's apparently one of the largest Chinese communities in Europe, due to 19th C. trading.

#76 ::: S. E. ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 06:49 AM:

Freedom Tower? Officially?

*shudders*

And here I'd hoped that was only the working title.

*wonders if they'll sell Freedom Fries on the observation deck*wants a falafel now*

#77 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 07:02 AM:

Erik V. Olsen: The new trump tower designs aren't so much ugly as they're absurdly out of scale with everything around them -- typical SOM stuff. See my "behemoth" post above for a link to the pic. I work a couple of blocks from the site, and on nights when I leave the office late, I get to see the wrigley building all lit up against the night sky, which almost makes it worth wasting an evening working. The Trump thingy will take away that view, so I don't like it. Also, they've begun construction, so they've closed the section of kinzie that leads from Clark to Lower Wacker, thus depriving me of my secret squirrel route to the LSD. Jerks.

I'm getting used to the new Soldier Field, though, AKA the toliet bowl, AKA the eyesore on the lakeshore. It's still ugly, I just don't notice it anymore when I drive by it. My husband went to a game there and said from the inside it looks good, so that's something, I guess.

#78 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 10:34 AM:

In two recent movies, War of the Worlds and The Interpreter there's a very traditional movie pan across the NY skyline, that in both cases stops just short of where the towers aren't.

Different directors, very different films, same decision.

#79 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 11:47 AM:

Wow, are they really calling it the Freedom Tower? Because that means that people are going to make the now-automatic substitution, and think of it as the French Tower. (I believe this because I'm a Freedom Teacher.)

#80 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 03:03 PM:

Of course it's "Freedom Tower". Y'all do know the old rule about how housing developments -- "Shady Oaks", "Silver Brook", etc -- are named after whatever was destroyed so they could be built, right?

#81 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 06:01 PM:

Glengarry Bowling Green?

#82 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 07:02 PM:

Thank, Avram, for saying what I've been trying to find the words for.

There's something very . . . Airstrip One about the name "Freedom Tower." Something sort of . . . Victory Gin about it.

Of course, it could be worse. It could be much worse. An administration official could get killed and we'd end up with the Rove Memorial Pinnacle.

#83 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 09:15 PM:

In two recent movies, War of the Worlds and The Interpreter there's a very traditional movie pan across the NY skyline, that in both cases stops just short of where the towers aren't.

I suppose they didn't want to date the films with the inclusion of the Towers, or with the lack of Whatever Comes Next.

But in The Gangs of New York there's a very effective fade from the New York of 1865 to the New York of 2001--and there are the Towers. This despite the fact that the film came out in 2002. It was a little jarring...

#84 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 12:08 AM:

It's dull. Not ugly, just dull. What a shame; this was a perfect opportunity to restore some beauty to a downtown skyline that went, in my lifetime, from awe-inspiring to "ho-hum, boxes."

For me, I regret that the memorial being planned missed its opportunity. (I would have had a reflecting pool, with the last remaining bit of the old tower -- that twisted wreckage that was so often on the news -- at its center, and the names of the lost inscribed either at the edges, or under the water. Simple, and IMO, sufficient. *sigh*)

Mmm. Pita. Just about time to order dinner (right after midnight, before the delivery guys get surly). Thanks for the reminder :-)

#85 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 12:53 PM:

Jo (wrt NYC skyline): I wonder whether that was a library shot that was cut short? (Madeleine's explanation sounds plausible if the shot was made specifically for the film.) At least those directors had the option; I've read that a webswinging sequence in Spiderman had to be reworked (after it was shot, possibly after shooting was over) to leave out the towers.

#86 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 09:53 AM:

You can't put a mosque on the roof, mosques have to be built on land they own, not lease. This was a big issue in Lancaster a few years ago, where the university was prepared to do anything to help Muslim students have a mosque on campus except sell part of their freehold land. So a mosque on the roof or as part of a thing like that just isn't possible.

#87 ::: Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 06:46 PM:

Jo: thanks for the fact-check there. Alas, my joke now lies in its own pile of smoking rubble after its collision with the facts.

Maybe I should've based it on a big, ugly block of concrete instead?...

#88 ::: Kate Y. ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2005, 07:03 PM:

T, your link from the words "big spitted" is only leading as far as the Mesa Tourist Office main page, and not to anything resembling gyros.

#89 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2005, 07:22 PM:

Now we can make sliceable meat towers without the waste of growing those pesky limbs, head, skin, bones, or organs!

http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/003067.html#more

#90 ::: Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2005, 10:01 AM:

Yay! A toast to the revenent spirit of H. Beam Piper! (Or his reincarnation, if he was right.) Carniculture is on the horizon.

Though I must admit that I'm more eager to see the medical applications come with allografts of more complex structures than skin. (And I'm dreading the sound of a "add toner" warning on the meat-jet printer they talk about... it's hard enough to get Central Stores to cough up in a timely manner when it's just carbon dust.)

#91 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2005, 02:17 PM:

Which reminds me again of futurefeedforward's article from a few years ago on Human Jerky™. Mmm, beefy.

#92 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2005, 02:20 PM:

It looks like Jesus isn't the only Great Leader keeping an eye out for the working man:

http://www.dprkstudies.org/documents/nkpics/1pg072.html

Doesn't look as good as those pies Jesus was admiring, but one must allow for cultural differences:

http://www.dprkstudies.org/documents/nkpics/1pg076.html

More farmers, fewer cows:

http://www.dprkstudies.org/documents/nkpics/1pg092.html

#93 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2005, 02:26 PM:

Charles, thanks -- I have seen that place but haven't stopped in yet, being a Greek House loyalist, but when the hordes come back in the fall and you can't get in for love or money, I may have to give it a try. Greek House does have a very very limited menu...

Hey, instead of a mosque on top of the Freedon Tower, how about Saddam's prison cell? Although I'm sure the same convulted arguments could be made to apply and it would become a target too...

#94 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2005, 02:57 PM:

Sorry, meant to put those Kim Sung Il links in the open thread.

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