FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 7, 2010
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG OUTLINES PROGRESS ON THE REBUILDING OF THE WORLD TRADE CENTER SITE AND CREATION OF THE NATIONAL SEPTEMBER 11 MEMORIAL & MUSEUM
Mayor Bloomberg's Remarks as Delivered at 7 World Trade Center - where he was Joined by Governor David A. Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chairman Anthony R. Coscia, Executive Director Chris Ward and Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni, Silverstein Properties President and CEO Larry Silverstein, and National September 11 Memorial & Museum President Joseph C. Daniels - Follow:
"Joe, thank you, and I would be remiss if I didn't once again thank you and Chris and Tony, and everybody else who really day in and day out worked with Larry and got this going. Bob Lieber, who couldn't be with us today - is my former Deputy Mayor for Economic Development - really in the background tried to do everything he could to pull people together, and then let the principals work it all out. And that's exactly what happened here, and I think it goes to show that while nothing happens in Democracy as quickly as you would like, the truth of the matter is Democracy does get you to the right place, even if it's sometimes painful and sometimes takes some time. And I wanted to thank the Governors. We've had seven Governors of New York and New Jersey during this period. I should thank Mayor Giuliani before me, and all of the people who worked, whether it was Shelly or the different leaders we've had - Bruno and John Sampson in Albany. This is nothing that was done by itself. This is something that was done with everybody working together.
"The City doesn't control the site, but I think we've tried to contribute what we can, keep things moving forward, and earlier this year when the project seemed to be at a stalemate bringing all the parties together, help them resolve their differences, all we did was create a framework. But the truth of the matter is whether it was in the private represented by Larry, or the Port Authority represented by Tony and Chris Ward, and the Albany Legislature and the State houses, this was something that we've got over the problems. Today it's full steam ahead.
"You can see outside of these windows, One World Trade Center right here, currently 36-stories, going up to 106-stories. Tower Number 4 over on that side rising. The demolition of 130 Liberty nearing completion, and construction of the Calatrava-designed transit hub is underway. And I've said there are two priorities that we have. Number one is to build something that will give the families a place to remember their loved ones, but for all the rest of us freedom loving people - it's not just New Yorkers, it's not just Americans, but people around the world - tell the message to our children and grandchildren, freedom is fragile, and we have to constantly fight for it. And the progress that we've made here is helping us honor that obligation to our nation and to the Free World, and it will also ensure that Lower Manhattan has the modern, first-class office space we need to capitalize on the next wave of economic growth.
"Perhaps most encouraging is the progress of the new 9/11 Memorial & Museum - as Joe talked about - the spiritual and emotional heart of the site. And I'm happy to confirm that we are on track to open the Memorial in time for next year's 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. And as chairman of the Memorial & Museum, I can tell you that we've worked very hard to keep this project on schedule. It is going to be a memorial that we will all be proud of, and a memorial that will inspire people around the world. For those of you in this room who are joining me tonight at our annual fundraising dinner, we are going to make sure that the Museum has the funds to continue to tell the world what happened here and what the lesson is, and to make sure that it does not happen to us again. Us meaning those of us here and those around the world who want to be able to practice our religion, want to be able to say what we want to say, want to be in charge of our own destiny.
"If you just look at where we are today, the construction of the Memorial Plaza has reached street level - seven-stories up from bedrock - and this is significant because the majority of this museum will be unlike any other one in the world, I think, be below grade. One hundred percent of the Memorial's steel - more than 8,150 tons - is now in place, and we're currently installing the steel for the Museum pavilion, which sits above ground. It's 56-stories tall, and that's where the tridents that Joe talked about will go. The two Memorial pools are structurally complete. Sixty-five percent of the granite panels that form the interior linings of the pools are in place. And 80 percent of the Memorial's concrete - nearly 40,000 cubic yards - has been poured.
"A little over a week ago, the first 16 trees were transported to, and planted on, the Memorial Plaza. Joe and I were just over to see them. It is a truly symbolic moment - life is literally returning to the site. And over the next 12 months, those trees will be joined by nearly 400 more. There are also now three very large artifacts on site. That's because they have to be installed before the top of the Museum is put in place. The first is what's called the Vesey Street Stairs - or the "Survivor Staircase." The second is the 'Last Column' - which was the last steel beam removed from the site. And if you remember, it had the names of a lot of those people who died, and a lot of the people who came here from around the world to help in what started out as a rescue, and wound out as a recovery effort. And third, the massive steel trident columns that helped form the base of the two original towers that Joe talked about.
"They are being funded, you should know, by the State, and I wanted to thank the Governor for his strong support. David, thank you very much. The rebuilding that's unfolding at the World Trade Center site is in concert, you should know, with this entire area's revival. Shelly has worked and been a task master at reminding us that we have an obligation to downtown, not just to the site, but to all Downtown. Coordinating the construction that's happened on and off the site is tremendously complex - and I just wanted to thank the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center for their help in this effort. Our Administration has spent the past eight-and-a-half years working to create an exciting and livable 24-7 community in Lower Manhattan.
"Today, it's fair to say, the streets of Downtown have never been more full of life. Some 15,000 housing units have been built here since 2001 - which has led to Lower Manhattan's population more than doubling in size. I'm happy to say that is not exactly what the pundits had predicted, but Shelly and the Port Authority and the Governors and all of us in this city knew that nobody's going to beat us. Lower Manhattan was where this country started really as a commercial and educational and freedom for religious hub in this country, and we're going to make sure that it continues that way.
"Since 2005, more than 250 firms in a wide range of industries have relocated to Lower Manhattan, leasing nearly 5.4 million square feet of office space, and many other big businesses are also looking to move Downtown - including possibly Condé Nast, which is considering space in the One World Trade Center tower. And that really does represent a major vote of confidence in the future of Lower Manhattan, the future of New York City, and I think the future of the United States.
"America was attacked on 9/11, all of us, and everybody in this country rallied behind New York. Every state sent people here and donated money and have been supportive of us. And make no mistake about it, we are number one, we remain committed as ever to making sure that the confidence that the country or the world has had in us is not misplaced, and that the momentum we've achieved is sustained. New Yorkers deserve to see this hole in the heart of our city healed at last, and America expects us to do what's right, and to reinforce the fact that this is the place where you can come from around the world and be proud of who you are and do what you want to do, say what you want to say, pray to whomever you want to pray.
"Before I conclude, let me just say that I was very glad to hear this morning that Vice-President Biden will be attending the ceremony on Saturday, and we look forward to showing him the progress at the site.
"This is a wonderful day for New York, but I happen to think that every day is a wonderful day for New York. Sometimes it's hard to think back on the tragedy that took place on 9/11, but how we came out of that is something that all America should be proud of. Thank you very much."
Stu Loeser / Andrew Brent (212) 788-2958
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