Welcome Elizabeth Greenspan (ElizabethGreenspan.com) (Twitter) and Host Lindsay Beyerstein (InTheseTimes) (Twitter)

Battle for Ground Zero: Inside the Political Struggle to Rebuild the World Trade Center

When the Twin Towers fell, Elizabeth Greenspan was a 24-year-old graduate student in urban studies in New York City. She was interested in how cities rebuild after catastrophes, like Hiroshima and she began to chronicle Ground Zero while the ruins were still smouldering. Her new book, The Battle For Ground Zero, chronicles the years of struggle and conflict during which New Yorkers fought over what should replace the World Trade Center.

As in so many rebuilding battles, the fight was never just about architecture or transit hubs or public/private partnerships. The real conflict was over symbolism and ideology. Was the building supposed to be a triumphant rallying point in the “Global War on Terror” or a somber memorial to the deceased? The attacks on the WTC killed nearly 3000 people, and some of their remains still rest at Ground Zero. So, one of the major challenges in reconstruction was reconciling the need for a historical memorial to a terrorist attack in the middle of a commercial office complex that lives or dies by its ability to attract tenants.

The story is told in three acts. Act I: Visions and Visionaries (2001-2003) introduces us to the power players who sought to reshape downtown, Governor Pataki, Mayor Giuliani, Port Authority officials, uber-developer Larry Silverstein, and the high-powered architects vying for the commission. In Act II: Divisions and Delays (2003-2008), we are introduced to some 9/11 families, whose desire for what they considered to be a fitting memorial for their loved ones was often at odds with the goals of rebuilding a commercial office building. In Act III: Dealmakers (2008-2011), we learn about the construction of the Freedom Tower and the controversy over a plan to build an Islamic community center nearby.

The Battle for Ground Zero provides compassionate account of the various factions in this fight, and financial, professional, and emotional stakes driving the players. The book explores how a commercial real estate project can become a stand-in for questions about democracy, identity, history, and memory.

Let’s give Liz a warm Firedoglake welcome!

 

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

83 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Elizabeth Greenspan, Battle for Ground Zero: Inside the Political Struggle to Rebuild the World Trade Center”

BevW September 7th, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Elizabeth, Welcome to the Lake.

Lindsay, Welcome back to the Lake, and thank you for Hosting the Book Salon today.

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Lindsay Beyerstein September 7th, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Hi, Liz. Welcome to FDL’s Book salon. Here’s your first question: You have a longstanding and personal connection to Ground Zero, tell us how your engagement with the subject began.

dakine01 September 7th, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Good afternoon Elizabeth and welcome to Firedoglake this afternoon. Welcome back Lindsay!

Elizabeth, I have not had an opportunity to read your book so forgive me if you address this in there but among the various groups involved, was there any group representing the people who live(d) in the Battery Park City area? Where did they side in the ‘battles?’

I ask mainly because I lived in a furnished studio a couple of blocks south of the South Tower (200 Rector Place) for most of Y2K during the week while officially living in Manchester, CT and that area was “my” neighborhood.

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Hi Lindsay.

I was a graduate student in anthropology and urban studies at the time, and just becoming interested in how cities rebuild after war and destruction — and how these efforts engage questions of history, capitalism, politics. After 9/11, all of the questions I had been reading about were suddenly playing out in New York, and I decided to go.

Lindsay Beyerstein September 7th, 2013 at 2:03 pm

It’s great to see readers jumping in with questions right off the bat.

Lindsay Beyerstein September 7th, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Liz, you mention in the book that you’ve made a study of how different cities handle major reconstruction projects, including Hiroshima. What are some parallels, or contrasts, you see between the Ground Zero struggle and other historic reconstruction efforts?

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 2:05 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 3

I met with a few groups who represented residents downtown, and interviewed individuals too. My sense is that residents felt strongly about rebuilding in a way that brought a sense of life and energy back to the neighborhood. Many shopped at the underground concourse, below the WTC, and they wanted these services. But they also wanted to make sure there was a memorial. I think many residents felt isolated during the rebuilding (which was a common sentiment among many I spoke to …)

dakine01 September 7th, 2013 at 2:08 pm

I think many residents felt isolated during the rebuilding

Yeah, I can well imagine as the BPC would seem to be cut off from the rest of lower Manhattan even in the best of times, but especially after 9/11 it would have been compounded

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 2:09 pm

There are lots of parallels. Emotions run very high in all cases. And, it takes much more time to rebuild than people expect and often desire. The position of victims, or victims families is also important. In many cases, those who lived through the tragedy have a distinct and special voice, which then in turn incites a fair amount of anger from others, who want to be heard too.

Lindsay Beyerstein September 7th, 2013 at 2:09 pm

I’m going to throw the next question out, and you can get to it whenever you’re ready: How did your training as an anthropologist influence your approach to reporting “The Battle”?

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 2:11 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 8

Yes, and they also felt like they were not heard as a constituency. They wanted to rebuild the neighborhood, but not necessary in the way that the developer Larry Silverstein was imagining, or likewise, the Mayor and the Governor. At times, there was also some tension between downtown residents and victims’ families, because many families opposed redeveloping the site, especially early on, to make sure there was a significant memorial.

Lindsay Beyerstein September 7th, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Speaking of family members, did you get the sense that the 9/11 families agreed on what should be done about Ground Zero, or were there disagreements among the survivors, too?

BevW September 7th, 2013 at 2:15 pm

It seems like there were a lot of different groups that felt their “vision” was the representative one. Who did the developer Silverstein listen to for his design – or was it just his design?

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 2:16 pm

My training taught me, most of all, how to observe. My earliest research included a great deal of time at the WTC site itself, when people were coming from all over the country (and often from outside the U.S.) to bring memorials and see the wreckage, and I spent a lot of time just watching people interact with this incredibly emotional place. I think that time observing, very literally, helped me take a step back from a lot of the rebuilding politics and to try to understand the competing positions and concerns downtown. I tried not to ‘pick a side,’ which was difficult when the battles really heated up, but that was my goal.

bigbrother September 7th, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Hi Elizabeth and Lindsey.Can you explain where and how the capital to rebuild came to fruition?

spocko September 7th, 2013 at 2:18 pm

I’m interested in the commercial nature of the new “Freedom Tower”. My understanding is that it took a long time to fill up the World Trade Towers. The office space in New York absorbed the people who worked there. Will those companies return? Have there been concerns that they are returning to a new target?

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Yes, lots of disagreement. No group or constituency was homogenous. Victims’ families had all sorts of politics, and therefore a range of beliefs about what sorts of messages (about America, about 9/11) the site should represent. One common thread, though, at least for many families, was the sense that the WTC site was in some way a burial ground. They disagreed on what this meant should happen downtown, but many believed that because so many victims’ were never located, that the land was and still is sacred.

Lindsay Beyerstein September 7th, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Did anyone advocate not rebuilding at all? Or not rebuilding in any kind of commercial way?

RevBev September 7th, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Can you talk about your reaction or thoughts about the process itself? Not the outcome so much, but some of your main impressions about how the folks worked together…or not. (If this is not too broad a questions;)

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 2:23 pm
In response to BevW @ 13

Silverstein hired an architect, David Childs, a few weeks after 9/11 to begin drafting designs for new buildings. So, in some sense, yes, it was “just” Silverstein’s design. He wanted an iconic but also somewhat conventional skyscraper to stand at the site. Childs is a very experienced commercial architect. In addition, they wanted to make sure the buildings included green technology, and the highest safety standards, and the new buildings do this.

spocko September 7th, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Another question. There are often questions when new buildings go up that deal with the problems of old buildings. Did this building take advantage of new ideas in 1) Sustainability materials? 2) Energy Efficiency 3) “Smart” control of system.
Better systems in regards to emergencies? Evacuation events? Fire control? Security?
(Because I’m thinking that the new building might be a target)

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 2:26 pm
In response to bigbrother @ 15

It’s come from a few places. After 9/11, the federal government awarded roughly $8 billion in bonds to rebuild downtown, and Governor Pataki created the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation basically to distribute this money. There was also roughly $4.5 billion in insurance proceeds that went to developer Silverstein. But this didn’t cover all of the expenses, so there has been lots of private fundraising to build the memorial and the Memorial Museum (chaired by Mayor Bloomberg). The Port Authority has also designated funds from its budget for rebuilding. The money is a BIG story.

Lindsay Beyerstein September 7th, 2013 at 2:28 pm

In the book, you describe a sort of half-assed effort by officials to include public input. How could the rebuilding have been structured to provide more meaningful public participation?

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 2:31 pm
In response to spocko @ 16

Yes, it took almost 20 years to fill the original Twin Towers, and for a while it has looked like the Freedom Tower would have the same problems. But a couple of years ago, the publisher Conde Nast signed a deal to move all of its employees from Times Square to the Freedom Tower, which was a HUGE boon for the commercial building. (The Freedom Tower’s owner, the Port Authority, gave Conde a good deal on rent, which is the strategy that Conde used to first move into Times Square too). I think the question of a target is interesting. In interviews, people told me that Conde’s owners were concerned about safety, and this is one of the reasons the building is so expensive. It costs nearly $4 billion to build Freedom Tower, to outfit it with top of the line safety features.

bigbrother September 7th, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Thanks…I totally agree that the MONEY trail leads us into some interesting places. Where is it discussed in your book. Can you give a short summary. Then there was the smaller CIA occupied building on site and rumors about deconstruction crews on some of the tower floors before the attack.

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Yes, absolutely, especially early on. People proposed using all of the space for a park, or for museums and arts centers. Or for affordable housing (which NYC desperately needs). But because Silverstein owned the lease to the Twin Towers, it was his right to rebuild the space. Meanwhile the Governor and Mayor wanted to make sure Lower Manhattan remained a global financial hub, and they believed they had to rebuild all of the destroyed office to remain competitive. So despite the other ideas and desires, they were never seriously considered.

Lindsay Beyerstein September 7th, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Did any real estate interests advocate building less additional office space to keep neighborhood rents up?

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 2:36 pm
In response to RevBev @ 19

I’ll say I am looking more kindly on the process as time passes then when I was in the midst of observing it. It was ugly and nasty, and often dysfunctional. But, it has managed to get something built, including a large and significant public space and memorial. And that’s important.

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 2:38 pm
In response to spocko @ 21

Yes to all of the above. They have top of line green technology and security features. Which is part of the reason why the rebuilding is so expensive. The Freedom Tower alone costs nearly $4 billion, which makes it the most expensive building yet constructed.

spocko September 7th, 2013 at 2:40 pm

So in the new Freedom Tower building are they including explosives in the superstructure like they did in the Twin Towers? (Kidding!)
But seriously are the building techniques different in this building than in the WTTs? I remember that their methods were unusual at the time.

Also, what are some of the the “state of the art” security features (I’m going to bet they are classified, but tell us what you know please.)

Lindsay Beyerstein September 7th, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Almost immediately after the attacks, people started constructing makeshift shrines and scribbling graffiti at Ground Zero. You wrote that these behaviors were similar to tactics used in other land claims disputes where people try to claim a disputed space, such as in Palestine. Can you say a little more about that?

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 2:42 pm

I think officials needed to be more transparent about what aspects of the rebuilding they were going to allow the public to weigh in on, and what Silverstein, the Governor, the LMDC, etc. were going to decide themselves, or going to allocate to other experts and juries. In the first months and years after the attacks, people felt very strongly that it should be a truly democratic process. Officials decided that some decisions would not be up for public discussion, but they tried to obscure this. No one ever lied, but it was vague and unclear, and I think at some level the public knew it was being manipulated. It’s a bit of a contradiction, but I think the process would have been more inclusive if officials had said very clearly that they were going to make some decisions themselves, and then allowed people to react to that.

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 2:44 pm

It wasn’t phrased quite that way, but some officials and many critics worried that all of this new office space would flood the market, and go unused, depressing the broader real estate market in the process. So, yes, I think that was a real concern that many shared.

bigbrother September 7th, 2013 at 2:48 pm

You have a lot of courage to take on such a controversial project. There must have been some very depressing patches for you. Hope you came through without a lot of baggage.

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 2:49 pm
In response to spocko @ 30

Ha! My knowledge of the safety features is somewhat limited, but I know that the walls (including of stairways, elevators, etc) are extra-think concrete, rather than drywall, as in the Twin Towers, and that they have included a special stairwell only for firefights in the case of emergencies. The facade of the building that faces the street has special blast-resistant plastic, rather than glass. And the whole area is outfitted with top of the line surveillance systems. So that gives you a sense.

spocko September 7th, 2013 at 2:49 pm

With new buildings in SF there are often deals cut to get other things that the city wants, (public housing, parks, etc.) did the city of New York seek anything like that? Maybe an emergency command center for future emergencies to replace the one that they lost?

RevBev September 7th, 2013 at 2:50 pm

During the very long process that you described, so much was going…decisions, money, people, etc. Were most New Yorkers keeping up or had they stopped paying attention after awhile?

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 2:53 pm

People left thousands of shrines and graffiti at the site for months after the attacks. And these acts turned the streets around the site (which was walled off as recovery crews looked for victims)into a public space. My sense of it was that the public didn’t necessarily think of it as a strategy to claim space — many people simply wanted to participate in the outpouring of support downtown. But it served that purpose, which meant that city and state officials overseeing the area had to think about what to do about these activities and how to bring them to an end, because it wasn’t technically public land — it was privately owned space in the middle of the city.

Lindsay Beyerstein September 7th, 2013 at 2:55 pm
In response to RevBev @ 37

I’m sure Liz knows better than I, but I felt like a lot of New Yorkers tuned out. There was a lot of free-floating frustration about “when are they going to put something in that damn hole, this is pathetic,” but not a lot of popular investment in one plan over another.

BevW September 7th, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Did you compare previous “catastrophes”, such as Pearl Harbor, Oklahoma City, as to the design and building of the Memorial and spaces?

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 2:57 pm
In response to bigbrother @ 34

Thanks. It’s definitely been overwhelming and emotional at times, but I’ve met a lot of good people. And I took breaks from the research too, which was really important to maintain a more balanced perspective. But I always found things so fascinating, so I kept doing more research.

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 3:00 pm
In response to spocko @ 36

I don’t know about the emergency command center. But they have dedicated half of the land (8 acres) to a memorial park and museum, while the other half is devoted to commercial office buildings. My understanding is that Silverstein agreed to have land devoted to a memorial in exchange for some financial support for rebuilding his office space.

Lindsay Beyerstein September 7th, 2013 at 3:00 pm

You observe that people all over the world felt a stake in the fate of Ground Zero. Did international sentiment influence the outcome?

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 3:02 pm
In response to RevBev @ 37

I think a lot of people stopped paying attention after awhile, especially as the politics grew nastier. It was just so disheartening, as well as complicated. But there was always a baseline level of knowledge that many shared, about the latest controversy, for example. I think it was tricky for people, because many wanted to disengage but they also cared about what was happening.

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Yes, I think that’s true. Particularly as time passed, it was “let’s get this done.” Getting it done became the primary desire, rather than honoring certain visions or plans.

RevBev September 7th, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Have most of the families been satisfied with the result in view of the early desire to protect the whole space? It seemed that there was an effort most all along to keep them involved.

spocko September 7th, 2013 at 3:07 pm

We all know about the craziness lead by Pam Geller on the Islamic community center several blocks away.
So, as they start filling up the tower are their any rules or regulations that have been set up so that only the “right kind” of people with the “correct” religion are residents?

I ask because I can see someone like Geller getting bent out of shape if, for example, there is a sizable community of Muslims who decide to rent space there.

Will there be discrimination against Muslims or people from countries that known to be connected with 9/11 attacks? By that I mean the nationalities of the bombers ie. Saudi Arabia 15, United Arab Emirates 2, Egypt 1, Lebanon
1 or the nationalities of the people in the countries we attacked, Afghanistan and Iraq. Or the nationalities of the people who harbored Bin Laden, Pakistan.

I’m quite serious. Will there be additional background checks on the people leasing the space working in the space? Then will there be ID requirements for people visiting the space?

Lindsay Beyerstein September 7th, 2013 at 3:07 pm

What’s the latest on the Cordoba Center (aka, the “Ground Zero Mosque,” to misinformed Fox News viewers)?

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 3:11 pm
In response to BevW @ 40

Yes. This too, is a big story, since each rebuilding effort has its own unique battles and controversies. Building a memorial in Oklahoma City went more smoothly than in NYC for a few reasons. There were far fewer victims (165), which meant that it was possible (still difficult, but possible) to generate consensus among victims’ families over a memorial design, and they did. In NYC, this was impossible. In addition, because it was a federal building, there was no private commercial interest, and so there was no obligation to rebuild a building on the site. Instead, the city rebuilt the building across the street, so the land itself holds only the memorial and a museum. It’s also important to note that they could do this because land was available across the street — in NYC, there just isn’t this kind of space. There is a great book on the Oklahoma City memorialization process, “The Unfinished Bombing: Oklahoma City in American Memory,” by Ed Linenthal.

Lindsay Beyerstein September 7th, 2013 at 3:12 pm
In response to spocko @ 47

I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to refuse to rent to someone in New York based on their nationality or ethnicity. But discrimination sometimes persists despite the letter of the law. Liz, any thoughts?

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 3:14 pm

No, not very much. Or, it did when it comes to the museum, but not the rebuilding as a whole. The museum, which will open this spring, has included reactions from different locales around the world in its exhibitions, among other things. There was a strong awareness among curators that museum visitors will not only be Americans, so they worked to make sure the museum exhibition could speak to an international audience and their experiences on 9/11 as well as to Americans’ experiences.

spocko September 7th, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Oh, I’m VERY aware of this illegality, but I can imagine that someone will find a reason, “They are on a terrorist watch list” or “Patriotic Act!” or
simply kowtowing to people like Geller.
In fact, knowing Geller, I’m going to bet that she starts agitating against the “wrong kind of people” aka. Muslims renting space.

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 3:18 pm
In response to RevBev @ 46

I have talked to many families who are happy with the memorial, but I also know and hear from families who are not happy. I think it’s just so emotional still for so many people, and it’s such a large group of people. For example, some families wanted the memorial plaza to include artifacts from Ground Zero, like twisted steel. These artifacts will be in the underground museum, but are not above ground, and some are not happy about this. So, some discontent continues, but it’s not overwhelming.

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 3:20 pm

The Islamic Center exists, two blocks from the WTC site. It is still partly under construction (the initial proposal that it would be constructed in 1 year was much too ambitious) but it is currently in use as a prayer space and community center.

Lindsay Beyerstein September 7th, 2013 at 3:22 pm

It’s ironic that there was such an outpouring of resentment about a non-mosque sort of near Ground Zero when the original WTC had a bone fide mosque in it.

Lindsay Beyerstein September 7th, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Did you ever visit the Twin Towers while they were still standing?

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 3:24 pm
In response to spocko @ 52

I haven’t heard of any blacklists or any controversies like that in terms of office rentals. And I haven’t heard from Geller on this. But I don’t think ‘the battles’ are over in regards to the WTC site, so it will be interesting to see if anything like this becomes an issue as the office buildings are completed, and more tenants sign on. Hopefully not.

BevW September 7th, 2013 at 3:27 pm

There is a 9/11 Memorial webcam up now for people to watch the site.

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 3:29 pm

I walked around the plaza that was between the Twin Towers, so I did appreciate their magnitude, but I never went to the top of them, or to the Windows of the World restaurant. I really loved visiting New York, still do, so I think part of my interest in this project stemmed from a love of great cities.

Lindsay Beyerstein September 7th, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Can you say a little more about the conflict between the demands of commerce and symbolism in the reconstruction?

BevW September 7th, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Has the Memorial / Towers become a part of the ongoing Mayoral campaigns?

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 3:31 pm
In response to BevW @ 58

Yes, thanks for posting the link Bev. It gives a good sense of the space, and the ongoing construction.

Lindsay Beyerstein September 7th, 2013 at 3:32 pm

I saw the towers still standing on my first trip to New York, but I never went inside. It just wasn’t a priority at the time. It seemed like they’d always be there. In retrospect, I regret not going in.

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 3:35 pm
In response to BevW @ 61

That’s a good question. Mayor Bloomberg ended up becoming really involved downtown as the chairman of the 9/11 Memorial Foundation; he raised hundreds of millions of dollars for it. I know that some families and others are worried about what will happen to the Foundation and his involvement when he leaves office. But so far the Mayor’s Race hasn’t focused on the rebuilding specifically, since so many of the decisions have been made at this point. Only in broad terms, like some of the candidates have criticized Bloomberg’s pro-Wall Street positions, which can be seen in the way that office space was prioritized at the WTC site early on.

Lindsay Beyerstein September 7th, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Zuccotti Park, the erstwhile home of Occupy Wall Street, is very near Ground Zero. Do you think the proximity had any influence on Occupy?

BevW September 7th, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Liz, Lindsay, as a non-New Yorker, my question is how has the catastrophe / events of 911 been included in the culture of NYC, how is it discussed by the residents now, taught in schools? How will the Memorial add into that?

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 3:44 pm

This is one of the big themes in the book. For the most part, I think those invested in redevelopment at the site have been opposed to efforts to make symbolic statements through the rebuilding, or at least have been agnostic on the question. They want to rebuild office buildings, or find tenants, they don’t see this as an ideological project, and don’t want to muddle things by making it ideological. But, early on especially, making a patriotic statement by building a big skyscraper complimented the desire to rebuild office space, so I think many officials and developers went along with it for this reason. They could tend to two goals at the same time; building a symbol helped them generate public support for their project and achieve their commercial goals.

RevBev September 7th, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Is there enough unfinished/yet to be told that you could be interested in writing a sequel? I ask b/c I thought it was the kind of fascinating read that drives the reader to know how it “turns out”. Maybe a coda.

dakine01 September 7th, 2013 at 3:47 pm

(I know I was stunned during my year in Manhattan at how compact everything in lower Manhattan is – though I did have to ask during Occupy if Zuccotti Park was the park I had known as Liberty Plaza Park)

BevW September 7th, 2013 at 3:52 pm

As we come to the last few minutes of this great Book Salon discussion,

Elizabeth, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book, and the story of the rebuilding of Ground Zero.

Lindsay, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Elizabeth’s website and book (ElizabethGreenspan.com) and (Twitter)

Lindsay’s website(s) (Hillman Foundation) (In These Times) (Twitter)

Thanks all, Have a great weekend.

No Book Salon tomorrow. See you next Saturday.

If you would like to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 3:52 pm

It’s really interesting to think about. I don’t think being near Ground Zero had direct influence on Occupy. But it doesn’t seem like a coincidence to me that Occupy’s home was so close, either. Occupy was targeting Wall Street, non-violently, while Al Qaeda targeted another symbol of American financial power, the Twin Towers, right around the corner. Over the past decade, it seems to me that there has been a growing sense that power in the U.S. lies in Wall Street more than in Washington DC, or at the very least that the two are very closely linked. This is why protests unfold in Lower Manhattan seemingly as often as in Washington.

Lindsay Beyerstein September 7th, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Do you think the Freedom Tower will live up to the initial ambition of rebuilding bigger and better?

Lindsay Beyerstein September 7th, 2013 at 3:53 pm
In response to BevW @ 70

Thanks for having us, Bev.

Liz, thanks for all your incisive answers.

karenjj2 September 7th, 2013 at 3:55 pm

thank you for joining us this afternoon, Elizabeth; very interesting discussion.

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 3:55 pm
In response to RevBev @ 68

Thanks. I am glad to hear you wanted to know more! Yes, I think there will be a coda. Construction will be unfolding for another five years or so, and new pieces, like the museum and the Freedom Tower, will be opening with every year. Until then, it is too soon to know how the whole space will function; we will have to wait and see.

RevBev September 7th, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Good luck…Thanks for spending time with us. You really paint a great picture.

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 3:58 pm

I don’t know. Many I talk to dislike the architecture, but more and more are pleased to see something there, in the skyline. The Freedom Tower could turn out to be like the Twin Towers — disliked in architectural terms, but beloved by New Yorkers nonetheless, because they grow fond and attached over time … it will be interesting to see.

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Thanks so much, Lindsay! Thanks for your great questions and hosting. I really appreciate it.

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 3:59 pm
In response to karenjj2 @ 74

Thanks!

Elizabeth Greenspan September 7th, 2013 at 3:59 pm
In response to RevBev @ 76

Thanks, Bev. I appreciate it. Thank you for having me on! I have really enjoyed it.

Elliott September 7th, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Thank you for coming

Very interesting discussion, good luck with the book!

And your next project

alan1tx September 7th, 2013 at 4:17 pm

I haven’t seen the word truth mentioned.

Do you have any thoughts?

punaise September 7th, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Sorry I missed the salon. It was one of those rare “drop everything you’re doing and get out to Point Reyes” days…

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