They will not build it.

David Dunlap, who has been covering the controversy over the now-dead International Freedom Center at Ground Zero can’t resist one last glib snipe at the opponents of the IFC:

Now the question is what else in the master plan is open for revision. If ground zero is too hallowed for a freedom museum, how much longer will a performing arts center be considered appropriate? Or a million square feet of retail space? Or four office towers? Especially if one of them is named Freedom.

Just couldn’t help themselves, could they?

The case against the IFC was clear. This tries to dismiss that case — even as it won the day — as if it were nothing more than the PC orthodoxy of the families or those who disagreed with The Times. At least his viewpoint is clear.

That was in his sidebar (not labeled analysis or commentary, so I’m not sure what it was meant to be) but in his main news story, Dunlap also misses the point of the controversy. He says of the IFC:

The Freedom Center, picked for the memorial site by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, was envisioned as a living memorial in which the story of Sept. 11, 2001, would be told in the context of the worldwide struggle for freedom through the ages.

But that was just the problem. The story of 9/11 was thrown under pressure, essentially as an afterthought. The context — read: agenda — was the story; 9/11 became just the context.

  • Gray

    Imho this whole mess about the reconstruction efforts at ground zero shows how torn and without direction the US are today. This used to be the most powerful country in the world, proud on its ability to raise huge buildings in less than 6 months. Now look at the WTC site 4 years after 911. Where has the ‘can do’ spirit gone? Where is the leadership? It’s a shame.

  • Right of Center

    Raise buildings in 6 months? Not quite. Many building cannot even be razed in that time.

    I am glad the IFC has been sent packing. A victory to be sure.

    I agree that Dunlap’s comment is glib, but, Jeff, you, of all people, are the arbiter of glibness? Kettle black… One man’s “glib” is surely another’s “gadfly”.

  • John

    Reads like the freustration of someone who knows they’ve lost the chance to have a place to present their own particular world view in a location that could not be ignored by the masses, because of the historical impact of Sept. 11 and the site the IFC would have been located on.

    If the people Dunlap supports simply wanted to tell the story of Sept. 11 and how it connects with the world without seeking to add their own world view and a high-profile platform for their message, they wouldn’t mind an IFC located a block or two away from Ground Zero. But now that they’ve been denied the world’s biggest soapbox where they can present their beliefs, they’ve abandoned the project because they know an off-site IFC that tried to spin Sept. 11 into something else could just be ignored, like the crazy lady standing on the other side of the street with the shopping cart, yelling at all the cars passing by.

  • Gray

    I couldn’t care less about the IFC. I don’t think it’s a good idea, just like that parade combining mourning for 911 victims and supporting the Iraq war wasn’t a good idea. OK, this isn’t exactly on topic, but I just want to point out that 4 years after 911, the reconstruction works are idling and there isn’t even a consensus about what to build. What kind of an image is this presenting to the rest of the world?

    The WTC area is a site of national importance. Imho the feds should have bought out the sleazy investors and accelerated the rebuilding efforts as much as possible. What is going on now around ground zero is a shame.

  • Why don’t they just eliminate the center and leave the design as is? That way, people will walk off the PATH station and into a green area, then the footpad area, right? Sounds good to me.

  • Gray

    Hmm, why not? There isn’t exactly a high demand for office space in NYC right now. But I guess the owners of the location don’t want such a memorial place because there’s no money in it.

  • The big office building would remain; I’m just saying, eliminate the IFC alone.

  • I don’t think they should rebuild it.

    Put a park there, lots of trees, sculpture, something fitting to remember the fallen.