Two years ago, coming off one of the worst
winters in memory, I spent an afternoon with 6 of the ironworkers who built One World Trade Center. When asked about how they handled snow, they said they shoveled the snow off every beam – 10” wide and 1,000 feet up in frigid cold—and then they chopped off the ice. If the beams were still icy, they melted the remaining ice with blowtorches. Then they continued work. No brag. Just fact. Big tough guys. Guys who will be lucky to walk when they retire. You’ll never meet a more tenderhearted group.
Their strenuous, nonstop, 15-years-long effort, and that of the thousands who built the World Trade Center, deserve to be celebrated, a point I make in a recent New York Daily News op-ed.
You’ve heard the good, the bag, and the ugly about the Oculus and the rest of the project. So have I. And I remain an unabashed fan. Two things I know: Nothing is perfect—that’s the nature of making thought physical. (Michael Cunningham’s genius on this phenomenon here.) And that it’s easier to make the obligatory snide comment than it is to see the good and to help others how to see it too. Thank you, Ada Louise Huxtable, for teaching me that. I loved Ada’s sharp, inimitable wit—but, above all, she was a teacher.
Read my piece, if you’re also a fan of the WTC and especially if you’re not. I take another angle – describing the Oculus as a viewfinder to the rest of the site—a perspective I gained when the fencing on the west side of the Trade Center was removed. Once the fences came down, the amazing wunderkammer of a view along the east-west axis came into site. Stand on the Church Street edge of the Trade Center and look west. Prepare to be amazed.