NYC / WTC / World Trade Center Memorial / Developments. / Est. Compl; 2013.
The restored survivors' stairway has been returned to Ground Zero and has been put in its permanent location where it will be used for the 09-11 memorial.
The structure was removed from its original location back in March so that the excavation work and construction of Tower 2 can begin. The stairway had sat in the spot where the 2nd tower will go.
Actually, the top part contaning the stairs were saved and fastened to a steel frame. This part will be set in place at its final location and serve as one of the artifacts from the formers WTC.
The stairs, as you know, had served as an escape route after the towers were atacked by terrorists who grabbed and flew a fully-fueled 767 jetliner into each of the towers. Survivors of the attacks, those who were able get out, were able to leave the burning towers and get out of harm's way via the stairs and to the safety of the streets and get away to a safe distance before the towers fell.
Activists and advocates had spawned and initiated a plan and mission to get the officials to have the stairway saved as a sacred part of the old WTC to be used in some way for the planned memorial which is presently u/c.
The survivors’ stairway rising over Vesey Street. (Photo: David W. Dunlap)
Since March, one of the largest and most telling of the 9/11 artifacts — the Vesey Street staircase down which hundreds of attack survivors fled to safety that morning — has been on public view opposite the 7 World Trade Center plaza.
There is not much time left to take in that view.
Over the weekend, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey plans to lower the 58-ton, 21-foot-high staircase to a temporary holding area deep down in the trade center foundations.
It will stay there until the time comes to be installed as part of a larger flight of steps in the underground memorial museum, which is currently expected to open in 2012. This means that the public is not likely to be able to get so close to the “survivor’s stairway” again for at least four years.
The steps once led down to Vesey Street from the Austin J. Tobin Plaza of the original World Trade Center. They made a good escape route on Sept. 11, 2001, because they could be reached by walking alongside 6 World Trade Center, the U.S. Customs House, which had deep overhanging eaves that protected people fleeing the north tower from falling debris and bodies. “They were the path to freedom,” recalled Kayla Bergeron, one of the survivors.
Because the staircase stood in the way of Tower 2, one of the office skyscrapers planned at the site by Silverstein Properties, it was listed in 2006 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the most endangered historical places in America.
After the change of administrations in Albany, a successful salvage plan was devised.
Four months ago, with preparations under way to move the staircase for the first time, it could clearly be seen outside the ground zero perimeter fence. After it was transferred to a temporary staging area on Vesey Street, it was even easier for the public to see.
“It’s become a little gathering spot,” said Joseph C. Daniels, the president and chief executive of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. “On one level it’s sad it has to move, but — in another sign of progress — this first artifact is being transported into the museum base. So it’s an important step.”
The staircase will join a 62-foot-long section of exposed slurry wall that will be another featured exhibit in the museum. “The juxtaposition of the monumental and the personal,”
Mr. Daniel said, “undergirds this whole museum and memorial.”
Facing the prospect of rapidly rising costs to rebuild Ground Zero, officials at the Port Authority yesterday said the bi-state agency won't contribute a penny more than the $195 million they've already pledged toward construction of the 9/11 Memorial.
After a massive redesign two years ago, the memorial's foundation, led by Mayor Bloomberg, was left to cover the remaining $530 million for construction of the eight-acre, tree-lined plaza, giant reflecting pools and a museum beneath the plaza.
The cost of the Sept. 11 memorial and museum at Ground Zero is expected to soar past $1 billion, the Daily News has learned.
That's a hefty 65% increase over the $610 million price tag that planners have repeatedly cited for the last two years.
Budget-busting delays on other interrelated projects at the 16-acre site have jacked up the cost of the National Sept. 11th Memorial & Museum and yanked back the timetable for completion, insiders say.
The bottom line: The museum may not open until 2013 or 2014, and it will take a miracle to fully open the memorial plaza that will honor nearly 3,000 innocents slaughtered at the World Trade Center in time for the 10th anniversary in 2011.
Several survivors of the terror attack and relatives of the dead are starting to wonder if they'll even be around for the ribbon cuttings.
"I'm 73, and I'm not sure I'll live long enough to see the memorial open," said Jack Lynch, who helped carry the body of his firefighter son, Michael, 30, out of the rubble of the south tower. "Lots of older people who lost loved ones are simply not going to make it."
Sekou Siby, who worked as a cook at Windows on the World, where 73 workers died, said, "We don't understand the cost overruns or the delays. All we understand is there's a big expensive hole in the ground where a memorial should be."
Asked about the $1 billion sticker price, Stephen Sigmund, the Port Authority's chief spokesman, declined to address the cost specifics.
At stake is Reflecting Absence, the heart and soul of Ground Zero, where cascading waterfalls will thunder into two massive pools in the footprints of the twin towers and a subterranean museum will display 9/11 artifacts and relate the horrors of the day.
The issue of who will pay - and how much - flared up at a Port Authority board meeting yesterday when Chairman Anthony Coscia was asked about a jump in the price of building the 8-acre remembrance.
Noting that the agency is already ponying up $150 million for the memorial's infrastructure, plus a $45 million contingency fund, he slammed the door on providing more cash.
The $195 million, Coscia said, is the "total sum and finality of our financial commitment to the project."
Asked about Coscia's comments, Lynn Rasic, a vice president of the memorial, said, "If there are additional costs, we would expect to work with the Port Authority, which is managing the construction, to minimize them and identify funding to cover them."
Where does the money come from? The memorial has raised $350 million, including $70 million for planning and development; the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. has kicked in $317.4 million, including a $45 million reserve fund; the Empire State Development Corp. has coughed up another $80 million.
Add in the Port Authority's $195 million and the tally is $942.4 million so far.
The $1 billion threshold is crossed because the original budget was based on completing the project by 2009, and skyrocketing prices for steel, concrete and crude oil will force up costs by $25 million to $65 million for each year of delay.