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After the World Trade Center: Rethinking New York City    edited by Michael Sorkin & Sharon Zukin order for
After the World Trade Center
by Michael Sorkin
Order:  USA  Can
Routledge, 2005 (2002)
Hardcover, Softcover

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* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

This outstanding book, After the World Trade Center: Rethinking New York City, edited by Michael Sorkin and Sharon Zukin, offers a 'multitude of perspectives' in essays from nineteen prominent urbanites, questioning the proceedings and politics surrounding the creation and rebuilding of the World Trade Center. In their Introduction, Sorkin and Zukin write, 'THEIR ABSENCE IS INDELIBLE: The Twin Towers were landmarks, buildings you could not lose sight of when you wanted to walk downtown.' They quote estimates of 95,000 jobs lost, and raise the question, 'do we want another downtown financial center?'

In 'When Bad Buildings Happen to Good People', Marshall Berman writes from his heart - 'All of a sudden, 'many thousands gone' was no cliché.' He addresses the equitability of federal compensation programs, and a controversy over the memorial of three firefighters raising the flag at Ground Zero. And he discusses persons 'gone missing'. Berman states that in July of 2000, the Authority leased the complex to developer Larry Silverstein 'for the next 99 years'). 'Why? ... The men and women who signed the lease went down on the 11th, so we'll never know.' Professor Edwin G. Burrows, in 'Manhattan at War', provides an exceptional overview of historical Manhattan from the 16th century. We learn of the Dutch West India Company purchase of New Netherland from the Lenape Indians to build a 'massive fortress'. That location now houses The Museum of the American Indian.

John Kuo Wei Tchen, Associate Professor of History at New York University, reports on the 'Washington Market, a vast gathering place', constructed in 1812, shut down in 1956, and moved to the Bronx. In his article 'Whose Downtown?', Tchen quotes an 1814 verse, in which butcher Thomas De Voe expressed 'his feelings about gathering places' in 1862 - 'The place where no distinctions are, / All sects and colors mingle there, / Long folks and short, black folks and gray / With common bawds, and folks that pray, / Rich folks and poor, both old and young, / And good and bad, and weak, and strong ...' That Washington Market gathering place became the home of the World Trade Center complex.

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