World Trade Center Vesey Street Staircase
New York, N.Y.
The Vesey Street Staircase, the only surviving above-ground remnant of the original World Trade Center, is a vivid and haunting reminder of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The staircase played a significant role in saving the lives of hundreds of individuals who used it as a means of escape from their offices in the doomed Twin Towers. As a result, it has been dubbed the "Survivors' Staircase." Remarkably, the staircase survived both the collapse of the Twin Towers and subsequent recovery and cleanup efforts, but it is now threatened with destruction because it occupies part of the site of a new tower being developed by Silverstein Properties. Equally threatening to its survival is the cumulative impact of vibrations from numerous other construction projects taking place on the World Trade Center site. Without a commitment from Silverstein Properties, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the "Survivors' Staircase" may not survive much longer.
"The September 11 terrorist attacks are a tragic but significant chapter in American history," said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "In the same way that the USS Arizona reminds us of Pearl Harbor, we need the "Survivors' Staircase" as a reminder of the day America lost her innocence, as well as a symbol of America"s strength, resilience and determination to survive."
Before the September 11 attacks, the Vesey Street Staircase was seen and used by the public on a daily basis. Located near the intersection of Vesey and Church streets, it consisted of two granite-clad outdoor flights of stairs and an escalator that led from the World Trade Center plaza to Vesey Street. When terrorists crashed two planes into the Twin Towers, the staircase provided a path of escape for hundreds of individuals. The staircase now leads nowhere and consists only of concrete slabs and blocks, a few remaining pieces of stone cladding, and steel supports Ė but it is nonetheless an authentic and invaluable reminder of the World Trade Center that once stood here.
The staircase is within the footprint of proposed WTC Tower 2, which was designed by famed architect Norman Foster and is being developed by Silverstein Properties. Design work on the 2.4 million-square-foot office tower has already begun, and groundbreaking is expected in 2007. Without action to protect the staircase, it may be demolished to make way for the street-level retail component of the new office tower. The staircase also is threatened by other projects connected with the redevelopment of the WTC site and the cumulative impact of vibrations from above- and below-ground construction work.
Just as other cities around the world have successfully developed new buildings around historic ruins and remnants, so can New York City. The Lower Manhattan Emergency Preservation Fund is attempting to bring key decision-makers together to commit to preserving the Vesey Street Staircase as part of the design for the new Tower 2.
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05-12-2006, 03:14 PM #1
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05-13-2006, 08:23 PM #2
Yeah I saw this on the news the other night and they were interviewing an older lady who walked down those stairs and minutes later the tower fell...NEVER FORGET!
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