Monday, June 26, 2006

9/11 Cornerstone Quietly Removed

A sad story, but I guess it's actually a sign of progress. Since Freedom Tower is under construction at the former World Trade Center site, the cornerstone laid on July 4, 2004 has had to be removed for a while. It's depressing that work on the site is not projected for completion until 2012:

With Tower Yet to Rise, Cornerstone Leaves Town

The 20-ton cornerstone of the Freedom Tower was carted off from the World Trade Center site early yesterday, nearly two years after it was ceremoniously set in place on July 4, with its silvered, chiseled letters proclaiming it a "tribute to the enduring spirit of freedom."

No one made a speech yesterday morning. No one sang "God Bless America." No one read from the Declaration of Independence.

Instead, the cornerstone was placed on a truck and returned to Innovative Stone in Hauppauge, N.Y., where it will remain for as long as two years until it returns to ground zero.

About 6:30 a.m., the five-and-a-half-foot-high block of Adirondack granite was hoisted by crane from its place near the temporary PATH terminal, said Mel Ruffini, a senior vice president of the Tishman Construction Corporation, which is building the Freedom Tower for Silverstein Properties on behalf of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Then it was lowered onto a flatbed truck and covered in a tarp. By 7:15, it was rolling up the long ramp out of the ground zero pit, headed for Innovative Stone on Long Island, where it had been cut, honed, polished and inscribed in 2004. It arrived safely three hours later, said Karen Pearse, the chief executive at Innovative.

The cornerstone will be kept there in a plexiglass case, viewable by appointment.

"It needs to be repositioned to make sense in the new building," said David Worsley, a senior vice president and the director of construction at Silverstein Properties.

When the Freedom Tower was redesigned last year because of security concerns, the cornerstone's location was rendered obsolete. The architects shifted the building's edge about 40 feet to the west, leaving the cornerstone standing outside the bounds of the reconfigured tower...

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