September 20, 2014- by Steven E. Greer
“16 Acres” is an excellent documentary that describes the politics behind the rebuilding of Ground Zero, and why it has taken so long. Produced by Mike Marcucci, Directed and Edited by Richard Hankin, “16 Acres” is a must-see for anyone involved in the Downtown community. No other source consolidates the chaos in such a handy fashion.
The film includes interviews with all of the major players, including Governor Pataki, Mayor Bloomberg, the directors of the Port Authority, and developer Larry Silverstein.
Have you ever wondered why the actual “Freedom Tower” does not resemble the design by architect Daniel Libeskind that won the competition? Well, first of all, an Italian architect actually won the design competition organized by the LMDC, but Governor Pataki told his LMDC to reverse their decision and give it to Libeskind.
Then, Governor Pataki totally hijacked the process to make his “Freedom Tower”, (a term that he made up during a speech to help him run for president). The original tallest tower design by Libeskind does not resemble at all this actual One World Trade Center.
Also interfering with the Libeskind plans was Larry Silverstein who brought in architect David Childs to actually build the tower. Childs was an architect with experience building skyscrapers, whereas Libeskind was not, so Silverstein ditched the artsy design of Libeskind in favor a more practical office tower design by Childs.
Then, to make the Freedom Tower even more of an architectural failure, the Port Authority battled with Silverstein over costs. As a compromise, Silverstein gave the Freedom Tower to the Port Authority to finish. The Port Authority handed over the partially built tower to the Durst organization to complete. Durst promised speed and cost savings in order to win the contract, so he skimped on the tall spire and put up a radio antenna instead.
So, that is how it became that we now have this bland 1,400-foot-tall (not 1,776) tower, that is the biggest lightning rod in the world, literally and metaphorically. Photographers are having a blast capturing lightning strikes to the tower.
“16 Acres” also discusses Towers 2, 3, and 4, and how the $4 Billion transportation hub caused delays to those towers.
The common theme throughout the Ground Zero rebuilding is how corrupt and incompetent the Port Authority has been. The Port Authority is controlled by the governors of New York and New Jersey. At some point, the Federal Department of Justice needs to step in and dissolve some of these Tri-State “authorities”, including the Battery Park City Authority.