Wednesday, November 30

The Price of Remembering

Photo Credit: MTA, Bing Lee on Canal Street

photo of Calarava plan

The MTA has erected permanent art in over 150 locations throughout the Triborough area. Many of these locations make homage to it’s location in the city. Around Canal Street, Bing Lee made a tiled work entitled Empress Voyage, which looks at the history of trade between Asia and the United States. At Inwood 207th Street Sheila de Bretteville created a work entitled To The Start…At Long Last in an attempt to recognize the multinational community in Brooklyn. In many there are depictions of the struggle New York City has faced with race. In Brooklyn While there are many of these commemorations in the stations, one was destined to take up the task of remembering September 11th. Besides the constuction site downtown, the only other memorial to September 11th is on the 69th Street Pier in Greenpoint, it was erected in 2005 and is entitled Beacon, “Brooklyn remembers September 11th” is inscribed in the bronze

MTA’s Art for Transit makes up less than 1% of the total $130 million operation, with minute budget of $1 million, according to the 2011 MTA Final Proposed Budget.

In terms of remembering September 11th, Port Authority is taking a much larger role, as the PATH station stops at the World Trade Center Stop. With MTA’s income at zero for this fiscal year, after continually dropping since 2008, and a PATH station next to the new September 11th memorial, Port Authority is working to make a ‘Transit Hub’ at the corner of Vesey Street and West Street to replace the existing one that boarders the 8 acres of the 9/11 memorial.

Construction began in September 2005. The opening will be in 2014 at an estimated budget of $3.2 million rising from a previous budget of 2.2 million. According to the Port Authority annual report of 2010, the station will be “the Grand Central Station of Lower Manhattan.” In 2004 Spanish Architect, Santiago Calatrava unveiled his design of a white, wing-like structure that would rise from the spine of the hub, creating the shape of a bird, however, since then, the cost of the wings has been too high and they have been clipped from the plan according to the Architectural Record. The structure is now the ribcage of a large beast, letting light in four stories down. The new station promises to be the perfect subway station flush with stores and “climate controlled platforms” according to the Port Authority World Trade Center site. It will serve 250,000 voyagers a day.

Calatrava’s now-ghost wings represent the weight of the project for New York City. Whether they are outwardly political or not, transportation authority of New York City is in many ways responsible for raising awareness of events in public spaces. Perhaps in 30 years from now, a New Yorker will be able to walk by an MTA, arts for transit piece on September 11th with a short glance and a whisp of a thought. But until then, Lower Manhattan is still a crowded construction area whose importance seems to be bigger than any dollar sign amount. Manhattan photographer, Carlton Davis suggests, it is “a fresh wound in the minds of New Yorkers.”

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