Wednesday, July 02, 2014

"A Place of Remembrance": NatGeo offers a book based on the 9/11 Memorial Museum in NYC

The National September 11 Memorial in New York City (link) at the new Liberty Tower sells, in the gift shop, National Geographic’s “A Place of Remembrance: Official Book of the National September 11 Memorial”, a glossy and heavy paperback, authored by Allison Blais and Lynn Rasic, with a Foreword by Michael R. Bloomberg, and an Afterword by Joe Daniels.  The book runs 228 pages and has 8 chapters.

The biggest value of the book is the myriad professional photos, including almost all of the contents of the Memorial.  Flash photography is not allowed in the Museum, and a major sanctum at the Museum does not allow photography at all.  But many small items are shown in the book, as on p. 77.

The most interesting part of the text is the early part, giving the history of the World Trade Center.  The early engineering work in the 1960s as advanced for its time, as were the problems of displacing people from “Radio Row”.  I had taken the ride to the top in the summer of 1970 myself, when I had started my first employement gig in New Jersey.  I wasn’t aware that the Port Authority was getting out of the real estate business and selling the building in the summer of 2001.
Of course, the book recreates the details of September 11, 2001 in both New York City and at the Pentagon in detail (as well as Flight 93).  One detail that is often overlooked is the displacement of many lower Manhattan residents.  Some were not able to return to their apartments or condos for weeks to months, some as long as a year.  Since property insurance typically doesn’t cover acts of war or terror, I’m not sure how these residents would have fared or whether the Bush administration or Congress arranged to compensate them.  Possessions would have been irretrievable and lost (including work, as with artists) in some cases. 
About the last half of the book describes rebuilding the site (including Liberty Tower) and the Memorial and Museum themselves (there is an outdoor fountain Memorial area which can be visited without going into the Museum).  I recall that designs were submitted in 2002, and that originally the site was to be rebuilt by 2008, but in fact the Liberty Tower wasn’t finished until 2013 and it is still not quite open yet.  A subplot of one of my screenplay scripts (“American Epic”), deals with the effort to plan the rebuilding, but that thread has become obsolete.

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