"We're going to preserve as much of that wall as possible. We may be doing a memorial with some or part of that wall."— Rudy Giuliani (NYC mayor)

"Before a commercial tower is erected, a memorial should be chosen. I believe that the memorial should include some of the surviving exterior panels of the collapsed towers."— Ed Koch (former mayor)

"The memorial is the single most important thing we have to do in lower Manhattan."— George Pataki (NY governor)

"Rudy Giuliani suggested that the committee should declare a failed search and begin again."— Sculpture Magazine

"I was surprised when I saw the twin beams of blue light bursting from Ground Zero. Watch them closely tonight, because the "Tribute in Light" allows us to do what a true memorial should: Remember."— Andrew Bast (NY Inquirer)

"The Coalition of 9/11 Families has been saying since day one: put the columns at the heart of the design."— Anthony Gardner

"We want a memorial that's above ground. We want the names above ground. We want a safe and secure memorial that's built under the legal jurisdiction of the New York City building and fire codes."— (Sally Regenhard, speaking for the overwhelming majority of family members)

"We ask that the memorial see the light of day and not be hidden in the shadows."— Patrick Lynch (PBA)

"It is beyond my comprehension why the original Twin Towers' facade is not going to play a prominent role in America's national 9/11 memorial."— Rosaleen Tallon (9/11 family member)

"It's hard to imagine a group of people who have been listened to more intently than this group of family members. Their views have helped to shape or reshape nearly every aspect of the redevelopment of ground zero - and especially the memorial."— dishonest NY Times editorial, 1/29/07

"We have the wrong people there implementing the wrong plan."— Sally Regenhard

"To look down at permanent holes where we used to look up... that is the worst thing that could be done at the site. It's a world-class screw up."— Anonymous

"Reflecting Absence promises a result between mere disappointment and outright disaster."— Steve Cuozzo (NY Post)

"The LMDC memorials do not focus on history or the victims. They are meaningless, impractical, wasteful, expensive, and unpopular. If this is how Pataki handled the memorials, what about the rest of the site? "— MakeNYNYagain.com

"Call Berlin. Drop everything we're doing. I have a complete vision of what should be."— Daniel Libeskind (Ground Zero master planner)

"The layout of the buildings are total chaos and, to me, convey the message that the terrorists have indeed won. Anarchy was their goal and anarchy is what this plan represents."— Albert Dewey (Engineer)

"All the solutions presented are pathetic. The memorial aspects should be integrated into the economic aspects of the solution, not separate."— J. Holsman (architect)

"The Libeskind plan is a dead end, sterile and incapable of redemption."— James Czajka (architect)

"If ever there was a place where a long view was required, this is it"— Witold Rybczynski (architectural critic)

"In modern Europe and the United States the Obelisk is often a funerary monument. The World Trade Center will already be getting a below-ground memorial. The last thing it needs is a quarter mile high tombstone."— Justing Davidson (NY Post)

"Standing a tediously significant 1,776 feet tall, the spiralling, fretworked "Freedom Tower" was off-message. Instead of sounding a defiant note against terrorism, it celebrated the American revolution of 1776 - the country's own anti-British "insurgency". The error was as offensive as it was crass. Britain leapt to America's defense after 9/11, and Britons formed the second-largest contingent killed in the Twin Towers."— Nicholas Wapshott (New Statesman)

"This proposed skyscraper, instead of standing for freedom, is fast becoming a symbol of incompetence, deceit, and political cronyism."— David Shuster (MSNBC)

"Freedom Tower will be a symbol of the entire project, as well as marking the memorial, and it occupies a very important piece of New York City property: the sky."— David Childs (architect)

"Freedom Tower pohaha. I'd have thought Tyranny Tower would be far more fitting."— digg.com

"You can take a horse to water, you can't make him drink. You can beat him, you can't make him drink. The only thing you can do is to, you know, make him so thirsty that he finally drinks. And I think we pushed it just to that point."— Nina Libeskind

"The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has steadfastly refused to open up discussion on the site's overall organization. Not only has it sought to prevent the architects from speaking publicly about their ideas, according to several architects interviewed, but it has also warned them against sharing their ideas with one another, saying that this would be a breach of their confidentiality agreements. As a result, the major architectural players at ground zero - Mr. Libeskind, Mr. Gehry, Santiago Calatrava, David Childs, Mr. Arad and the Snohetta architects, to name the most obvious - have never sat down in a room together to discuss their growing concerns about the overall plan, let alone exchange ideas about how best to improve it. This constitutes an enormous squandering of talent, as well as a total disregard for how the creative process unfolds. And it has essentially shut the public out of the process."— Nicolai Ouroussoff (NY Times)

"Anyone who suggests that the process that gave us the Libeskind Master Plan was responsive to the public is, at best, ignorant of the facts. Nothing can be built upon a foundation of lies and have any structural integrity - not a country, a life, or a World Trade Center."— Margaret Donovan (Twin Towers Alliance)

"I'm not really sure how I can help. My contract precludes me from talking to the media. I have to refer all questions or inquiries to the LMDC."— Greg Blinn (president, John Galt Corporation)

"The process is bankrupt, and Pataki seems incapable of both realizing or repairing the damage."— missrepresentation.com

"Larry Silverstein has betrayed the public's trust and that of all New Yorkers."— George Pataki (NY governor)

"We have the right to take over properties if they refuse to abide by our standards."— John Whitehead (LMDC chairman)

"The LMDC did not produce a good plan for the site. And 'staying the course' of a bad plan is never a very good idea to begin with."— John Lumea (Phoenix Project)

"Rebuild them exactly as they were."— Ed Koch

"The rebuilding efforts at the World Trade Center site are rife with politics, grandstanding emotional paralysis, and junk science relating to building codes and design."— Engineering News Record

"Freedom Tower should not be allowed to be built. It should be superseded by a taller, stronger, more beautiful version of the World Trade Center... This is what people want... It's a better memorial... This is what the World Trade Center was."— Donald Trump (developer)

"The governor's insistence on this tower as a political symbol three years ago has tied the site up in knots. Renegotiating the lease with Silverstein is the right thing to do."— David Kallick (Fiscal Policy Institute)

"The whole Ground Zero rebuilding was plagued by incompetence and a lack of leadership."— NY Post editorial

"Action is more important than reflection. Governor Pataki's imagined political future... is the driving force behind the continuation of this folly."— Ron Rosenbaum (NY Observer)

"The Freedom Tower is neither a good commercial office building, nor does it work as a symbol."— polisnyc.com

"What's wrong at Ground Zero can't be fixed in piecemeal fashion. It's time to scrap the master plan and start over. Go back to the drawing board and, this time, get it right. "— Michael Goodwin (Daily News)

"There hasn't been a vision or leadership for Ground Zero for 4-1/2 years."— Sheldon Silver (NYS Assembly)

"The LMDC has been an abject failure."— Eliot Spitzer (NYS Attorney General)

"The momentum is powerful in terms of construction, in terms of the marketplace, in terms of perception. Those are all momentums we would slow at our peril."— Anthony Shorris (Port Authority Director)

"It is clear that after long delay this project - while it may not have been the one we would have designed - must be built and we must get moving."— Eliot Spitzer (NY governor)

"As far as the rebuilding politics of ground zero and delays that have ensued being influenced or caused by family members, that excuse expired many years ago."— THB

"We've been paying rent as if the Twin Towers were still standing and full of tenants. At some point... that stops being fair."— Janno Lieber (Silverstein Properties)

"This is a dispute between a real estate developer who has commercial interests at heart, and a government which lacks any ability to understand how to build, but wants to do the right thing."— Barry LePatner (construction attorney)

"George Pataki chose a site plan that's an unbuildable mess."— Steve Cuozzo (NY Post)

"It's time to stop this craziness and we just have to move forward here."— Michael Bloomberg

Some chronological history

(1966) Groundbreaking for the World Trade Center.

(2000) Windows on the World is the highest-grossing restaurant in the United States.

(2001) The WTC site is destroyed.

(Early 2002) The Port Authority and the LMDC begin the process of seeking bids from architects. They require the original streets prior to the WTC be restored, and they support Mr. Silverstein's lease, which requires replacing 10 million square feet of office space.

"This was a disastrous decision, and no one could believe it," said Mr. Yaro of the Regional Plan Association. (The RPA and several associated groups had vigorously lobbied for restoring the original streets, in the belief that this would prevent large scale development.) — NY Times (edited)

(August, 2002) All initial plans are rejected. The LMDC solicits new plans but repeats the requirements that new master plan proposals restore the older streets and have 10 million square feet of office space. —www.pbs.org (edited)

On a fall day in 2002 the seven finalist teams for the master plan stood at the picture windows and gazed down at the stillness of the site. Somebody from the Port said, "Does anybody want to go down," Daniel Libeskind, known then as the architect who had designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin, recalled. "There was complete silence." I said, "I want to." It was miserable rain. We borrowed galoshes and bought cheap umbrellas. And as we descended down that huge ramp, really, my view of the world changed. Deep down at the bedrock level, Mr. Libeskind said, he felt both the "enormity of the loss" and the unadorned power of the pit itself. After placing his hands on the rough face of the concrete slurry wall, he turned to his wife and said, "Call Berlin. Drop everything we're doing. I have a complete vision of what should be." — NY Times

(March, 2003) A few days after Mr. Libeskind was "anointed," as Mr. Silverstein put it, the men got together. In Mr. Silverstein's conference room, Nina Libeskind made it clear that her husband would be designing the 1776 building, as it was then known. "I looked at her in absolute shock and said, 'But he's never designed a high-rise in his life,' " Mr. Silverstein recalled. "I said, 'Tell me something. If you were needing neurosurgery, would you go to a general practitioner who has never done any kind of operating in his life?' She said, 'Daniel is a quick learner.' " Mr. Silverstein started picking apart Mr. Libeskind's master plan. He objected first to the location of the Freedom Tower at the northwest corner of the site, where it would be farthest from the transportation hub and, complicating construction, above the train tracks. But Mr. Silverstein lost that battle, and the next: "I said to Larry," Mr. Childs recalled, " 'If the governor won't move the tower, ask him if he would build it last. Then you'll have more of a market, the train station will be done and the slurry wall fixed.' But the governor said: 'No. I want to build it first. I want to build it there. And I want to build it quickly.' " — NY Times

(May 2003) There are over 5000 World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition submissions, including a facade submission by Ken Gardner.

(August 2003) The WTC Memorial jury will select up to eight finalists, who will receive over $100,000 each to refine their designs more fully ("to develop models and three-dimensional computerized designs"). A winner (from among the finalists) will be announced at the end of the year.

'Why The WTC Memorial Will Be A Failure'

"In the next few weeks a decision will be made on which memorial at the World Trade Center site will be built. The decision will be hailed by the powers that be as a victory for the people, for the open process by which it was conducted, for democracy. It will also almost certainly be a failure. The eight designs under consideration are widely considered uninspiring, banal, needlessly complicated, unimaginative and insufficient to evoke the horror of Sept. 11. But if you believe the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which is overseeing the redevelopment of ground zero, they are the best that democracy can provide, and that ought to be good enough for anyone." — The Globe & Mail (Canada) 12/15/2003

"There is a remarkable sameness to these designs. None provide a well-designed urban public gathering space, none make use of the artifacts from the World Trade Center buildings, and none convey the urban and international texture of the place." — New York chapter, American Planning Association

"The New York Times magazine published a number of memorial proposals, including Maya Lin's sketch for a site defined by two voids. The winning design by Michael Arad is remarkably similar... Rudy Giuliani suggested that the committee should declare a failed search and begin again...We need a memorial defined by presence, not absence, conveying the specifics of the event, inspiring thoughtfulness and mourning, clear in its form and message. The memorial we need and history deserves isn't there. And now, apparently, there is no time to find or even imagine it." — Sculpture Magazine

"After literally hundreds of hours of study of the WTC site, architect Herbert Belton and I concluded that the appropriate solution for rebuilding is to design facade-based memorials and new Twin Towers.

Our plan employs all of the latest technologies in skyscraper design and restores the skyline to its former glory with the familiar iconic silhouettes. Building new advanced versions of the Twin Towers would not only provide one of the most powerful remedies in healing this country so deeply hurt by the 9/11 tragedy, but the towers themselves would become one of the most successful developments and tourist attractions in the world.

Restoring our skyline with modern Twin Towers would represent not only the resilience of a great nation, but also the "bigness" of New York, which is what has always attracted visitors to the this city. Each floor plate covered one full acre. The current plan put forth by the LMDC is much less significant. Mr. Libeskind and Mr. Childs are trying to invent a new icon. I believe that icons evolve. The original towers were not very popular when they were first built, but they became one of the great symbols of this country over time. Elements of these buildings symbolize this country and always will. If for any reason the Capitol building were to be damaged or destroyed, I cannot imagine replacing the magnificent dome over the Rotunda with some kind of twisted trapezoidal or fortress-like structure. Yet this is what has been planned for the Freedom Tower.

In Europe after World War II many landmark structures were rebuilt. This is how a country and a civilization preserves its rich history. In my travels to Europe I felt a sense of longevity engendered by the presence of architecture that marked significant eras in each country's history. America will not have this deep sense of time if we do not protect and preserve our symbols of who we are and what we stand for. I am a great fan of change and technology, but I am also a student of history and a preservationist. To allow the image of these icons to vanish into memory, never to be seen by future generations, is to erase a part of what makes us American." — Ken Gardner, 2004 (updated 2005)

Herbert Belton was a junior architect at Emery Roth & Sons on the original World Trade Center site. He was licensed in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, and was a project manager at New Jersey Bell, manager of design and construction at AT&T, and worked for Johnson Jones Architects in Princeton, N.J. He died on November 29, 2005.

Ken Gardner is a model fabricator for some of New York's largest real estate projects. He built the models shown on this website.

(June, 2004) The LMDC selects four arts groups for the site.

(May 5, 2005) The governor orders a complete redesign of the Freedom Tower, to be done in seven weeks, which results in the original design being scrapped for a completely different design by a different architect. The public basically believes the modifications are minor, for "security reasons." A Pataki ally says, "The governor doesn't have any choice. His whole career is gonna come down to this project."

(May 7, 2005) "To redo the entire plan for rebuilding ground zero . . . would be a mistake, a waste of precious time and formidable talent." — NY Times editorial

(May 18, 2005) Donald Trump advocates new Twin Towers and conventional memorials for the WTC site.

(July11, 2005) "Too bad that time and a deeper consideration of the public good aren't on the agenda in rethinking Ground Zero. That would help bring about ideas that look genuinely inspired." — Newsweek (Cathleen McGuigan)

(July 27, 2005) "It is dreadfully apparent now that the entire project is in the hands of a group of egotists, political opportunists, and incompetents." — New York Observer (Ron Rosenbaum)

(February, 2006) "If you don't go ahead now with the Freedom Tower, you'll have no construction on the site for a year and half. That's not acceptable." — Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff

(June 20, 2006) Mr. Sciame presented five memorial options last Thursday to the governor and the mayor. The option they chose, Mr. Pataki said today, preserves the voids, the waterfalls, the pools, the names around the pools and the underground passage to the museum. "To me, these were all very important elements of the Michael Arad design," the governor said. — NY Times

(September, 2006) Some officials involved in rebuilding say that the final decision may go to the next governor. "We're six months away from the point that we're full steam ahead," said a senior executive, who requested anonymity because he did not want a public spat with Governor Pataki. — NY Times

(February, 2007) Governor Spitzer unenthusiastically decides to proceed with the Libeskind "plan".

(May, 2008) Governor Paterson appoints Chris Ward Port Authority Director, who commits to the Libeskind plan.

(August, 2008) Authorities realize that streets crossing the site must be highly restricted to vehicular traffic for security reasons. — Security Director News

(August, 2009) "Gov. Paterson warned Mr. Silverstein that if negotiations did not proceed more quickly, he would ask the Port Authority to move on its own to finish the victims' memorial, the transit hub and other public portions of the site. Ground zero might have been rebuilt today if former Gov. George Pataki had issued a similar warning eight years ago." — NY Times editorial

(November, 2009) The Port Authority confirms there is no final design, no set budget, no opening date, and no location yet for the WTC central security command post. — NY Daily News

(March, 2011) "We do not build vanity projects at the top of tall buildings. We are committed to finding the highest, best and most practical use for this space - one that does not require subsidizing a restaurant with public money for years to come." — PA Director Chris Ward, announcing that plans for a new Windows on the World have been scrapped.

"Windows on the World was an elegant restaurant known as a place for big celebrations, such as weddings. In its last full year of operation, 2000, Windows on the World reported revenues of $37.5 million, making it the highest-grossing restaurant in the United States." — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Trade_Center