Thursday, October 13, 2005

Mr. Mayor, Do the Right Thing

The Times has a piece about Mayor Bloomberg promising to be more involved with the World Trade Center site if he’s re-elected. I had a post on Polis not too long ago that Mayor Bloomberg – whose re-election is all but assured – should not just “be more involved” in the WTC site, but should:

  • Instruct Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff to revive his land swap idea in order to take full control of the WTC site (read more about that here)
  • If that fails, go the state when Pataki is out of there and demand that the land be condemned for public use.

To quote Paul Goldberger from his book, Up From Zero:

After all that happened in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks and the destruction of the most powerful symbol of the American skyline, it is hard to believe that the public would have objected to the decision to take over these sixteen acres of land for public purpose …

As I said before, Mayor Bloomberg has a golden opportunity to create a lasting legacy far more meaningful than a football stadium. With Pataki out of there, Bloomberg could and should assert himself as the dominant force at Ground Zero, even if the Governor has more power on paper. Without directly insulting Pataki, he could quietly but forcefully redirect the planning process, which I'm quite sure would garner a lot of public support. From previous statements, Blooomberg has demonstrated that he has the right instincts about what needs to happen there, which is to create a lively neighborhood that also respects the lives that were lost. And with sixteen acres to work with, this is entirely doable, so long as absurdly unnecessary office and retail space isn’t forced into what has the potential to become the most inspiring rebuilding effort the world has ever seen.

Related Times link: Mood Darkens on Rebuilding, Poll of Lower Manhattan Says