June 26, 2003
No posts yesterday -- my
No posts yesterday -- my first blank day. I was in New York, and then when I tried to post this last night, blogger.com was being rebuilt. Funny, because I wanted to post the following rebuilding tip. (A blight idea?)
Things to do with a gaping pit
For the first time since September 11, 2001, today I visited Ground Zero. A gigantic, gaping hole in the ground, it almost glares at you -- a wound still open, unhealed, unclosed, unbandaged.
This was at the end of a long day spent running around New York, soaking up beautiful examples of neoclassical architecture. The best I saw all day was the New York Public Library. Anyone who visits New York should go there, as it is free, and incredibly opulent -- a marble palace of halls, arches, Escher-like stairways, and busts of famous Romans and Greeks. Just incredibly cool; I really think the place would be the envy of any ancient Roman emperor. Check it out!
"the apogee of Beaux-Arts design, [the Library]was the largest marble structure ever attempted in the United States." (Link)
With such an incredible thing of beauty in my mind, imagine how depressing it was to go look at the hole in the ground left by bigoted worshipers of a god said to have commanded it. (The longer it remains, the more likely they are to make false victory pronouncements, too.)
When I got home I looked at some of the proposed designs, and frankly, I think they all suck. Here's a fairly comprehensive collection of proposals from some of the better recognized architects.
Not one renews the Classical tradition that makes New York such a beautiful place. Nor do any of them invoke America's spirit of righteous anger and revenge as they should. I mean, it's all good and fine to propose building another building as big or bigger, but people are still really angry, and they deserve something grander.
It is interesting to note that "elitist" New York is still very angry about what happened. If you don't believe it, ask anyone -- from a business executive all the way down to your regular old New York cabbie or typical working guy. They are all pissed. Much of the elitist East Coast would like to forget (and as to California, well, they were never really connected anyway, and much as I love them they just aren't into worrying their pretty heads), but New Yorkers have not forgotten and they won't forget.
I notice some of the damnedest things, and today what really got my attention was the kind of people who are coming to New York to line up and stare at the gaping wound. How long has it been now? One year and nine months. The people are coming from places like Iowa, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Tennessee. The same places called "flyover country" by the elite. I saw a couple of them crying. They were all very respectful.
Like New Yorkers, they have not forgotten. (Some country music guy even wrote a song about that….)
I have been around, and I never thought I would witness such an emotional display of solidarity between New Yorkers and people once considered the epitome of hick tourists. Not now they're not. It is a very solemn, serious thing.
Anyway, today, along with New Yorkers and with an assortment of ordinary Americans from around the country, I, simply, remembered.
And then I started getting angry, and I thought about the beautiful Classical buildings like the New York Public Library.
Beautiful Classical buildings, need for revenge, gaping wound in the ground.
Suddenly, right there, I saw the Roman Colosseum, in all its splendor, loyally rebuilt. (Note: be sure to move your mouse over the picture to get before and after images.)
Opening day, memorial for the victims, victory celebration, and a festival of revenge. There are a lot of really angry friends and families of the victims, and a lot of very angry Americans out there.
This would give us something to do with all these otherwise useless al Qaeda/Taliban prisoners. They already whine and complain; let's give them an outlet.
No need for gory details; I just got back and it's too late for that. Besides, the ideas would flow in -- just as they did after September 11. (Even famous liberals were advocating such things as torture and public executions…..)
Furthermore, the Colosseum sits on only six acres of land. The World Trade Center complex is sixteen acres, so there'd be plenty of space for buildings larger and more grandiose than the Twin Towers. There's no reason why they couldn't also be done in the classical style.
Its headquarters today is this roman-like temple of finance by George B. Post which dates to 1903. The pediment has an interesting title: "Integrity Protecting the Works of Man."
Note: the correct name of the goddess for Integrity is Fides.
Or take a look at Grand Central Station. Again, a Classical theme, with Mercury, God of Travel, standing guard.
All the best things in New York are literally right out of the Classical mold. Even if the idea of Victory Games is too politically incorrect for the Powers that Be, a Classical design is not.
As it stands, though, that large gaping hole remains a blight. It's just crying out for revenge.
Fun and games are the best revenge.
posted by Eric on 06.26.03 at 09:00 AM
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