November 29, 2009

An inconceivably bad monument.

We are entering Empire State Plaza, that heinous monument to government waste and stupidity:

DSC05733

Just around that corner is the expensive toilet displayed in the previous post. But continue on a few steps, and you will arrive at something beyond comprehension. This is what the state of New York has in its capital as a memorial to the victims of the 9/11 attacks:

DSC05737

I hate to shock you over this, but I must insist that you take a few steps back and gaze with horror at the larger view:

DSC05738

48 comments:

Joan said...

Did they mean for it to look like a grave with a headstone?

XWL said...

Between the bureaucratic footdragging on doing something at the site, to this fiftieth-assed (it's at least ten times more half-assed than half-assed) "memorial", it's as if the political class in New York State want to pretend that 9/11 never happened (except when they can use it as an election issue).

Elliott A said...

Sick

From Inwood said...

It's Bush's fault.

And the WTC is still unbuilt.

But NYS is #1 for Social Justice.

Whatever.

Theo Boehm said...

Frosting on the cake.
I think we got it the first time.

Paul Bubel said...

Out of curiosity I went and looked for the Austin memorial to that day. It's in the Texas State Cemetery: Link

And lowly San Antonio's effort: Link

Michael said...

And yet surely it cost at least a million dollars.

traditionalguy said...

"Heinous" means hateful, abominable and extremely wicked.The Professor must be a lover of beauty as well as a lover of truth. It seems that Art by Committee has sought its own lowest level in Albany, New York. It does look like that Nazi German public architecture planned by a certain Wallpaper Hanging Son of a Bitch.

Ralph L said...

At least it isn't in the shape of a crescent.

chuck b. said...

"An inconceivably bad monument."

Unless it's a monument to bad taste, in which case it's really very good.

Except there's no monument.

edutcher said...

That is from the Peter Jennings School of Internationalism, Multiculturalism, and Respect for Islamist Freedom Fighters (in other words, terrorists).

i.e., "we have to do something so we don't look like we're totally uncaring about all those people who got what they probably deserved".

If you saw or heard Jennings on the first anniversary of 9/11, you know what I'm addressing.

Jay Vogt said...

That is just . . . .horrible.

I take it that the brick are etched with the names of the deceased. Is that right?

So that visitors walk on the named bricks up to the "headstone"

That can't really have been an approved plan.

Balfegor said...

Re: Paul Bubel:

Those are better than this, though I still don't much care for them, to be honest. For me, the Cenotaph is pretty much the last word in memorializing the dead. Simple, elegant, and direct. Although I suppose it would have to be "The Dead," rather than "The Glorious Dead" (except in a memorial to Flight 93). Even a black granite block dedicated to the dead would be better than this.

kentuckyliz said...

There's something ironically and horrifyingly appropriate about placing it next to the big sign with instructions for firefighters.

LoafingOaf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LoafingOaf said...

In the America of my imagination, NYC would have decided to rebuild the Twin Towers bigger than they were before. Even the New Yorkers who found the Twin Towers ugly would've said, "We've gotta rebuild 'em, and fast, and make em bigger!" That they have not even built the Freedom Tower, or whatever, at that site, is pathetic.

In the America of my imagination, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and General Tommy Franks would have ensured Usama bin Laden could not have escaped from Tora Bora into Pakistan as he did. The American people needed his capture, and our leaders dropped the ball when they HAD him. How could that have happened?

The unfortunate reality of America is that this country has been rapidly getting worse and worse, and gone into quick decline, ever since 9/11. Not just decline, but the brink of economic collapse! It makes you wonder if we have lost and just haven't realized it yet. It also makes you wonder who the real enemy is. It could be our own government. I know, that's crazy talk. Still, I wonder.

chuck b. said...

"The American people needed his capture, and our leaders dropped the ball when they HAD him. How could that have happened?"

I don't know but if a Democratic president had done that, we'd never hear the end of it.

"The unfortunate reality of America is that this country has been rapidly getting worse and worse, and gone into quick decline, ever since 9/11."

I feel this way too sometimes.

LoafingOaf said...

Up till 9/11, it seemed for my whole life that America was getting progressively better and better, year by year. Not for everyone, but the overall picture. When I look back at 9/11 to the present day, I can no longer say America is a place where things get better and better. They've mostly gotten worse and worse since then. So, have we lost?

muddimo said...

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Albatross said...

Regarding the San Antonio memorial mentioned by Paul Bubel, here's a better picture.

Apparently it was built by a church, not a governmental agency.

peter hoh said...

Absolutely dreadful.

If one asked a class of third graders to construct a memorial to their dead pets, they might have come up with something like this.

Ralph L said...

The Dusty Miller represents the clouds of debris that coated everything around Ground Zero. Also note the non-uniform brick colors, reminding you that diversity is our strength!

EDH said...

With a charitable heart, maybe it looked better on paper?

former law student said...

Empire State Plaza, that heinous monument to government waste and stupidity:

I always thought butt-ugliness like that was the product of cheese-paring parsimony. Certainly no money was lavished on non-functional features like gargoyles. In fact, the architecture seems 100%-Ayn-Rand's-Fountainhead-compatible.

Freeman Hunt said...

In fact, the architecture seems 100%-Ayn-Rand's-Fountainhead-compatible.

I don't think so. Maybe the movie version, but not the book where he emphasized livability.

Chip Ahoy said...

I can think of a worse monument. Here's one: two large hollow metal rectangular blocks standing erect next to each other in the shape of the twin towers, about three or four times taller than your average bear, say 20 - 24 feet tall. And right next to them flexible metal poles with sculptured metal airplanes on top so that when the wind blows the planes bash into the metal drums and make an irregular clanging sound.

Worse idea #2: You know those huge inflatable men with long arms and legs that have inconsistent air blown into them that are set up at fairs, large gatherings, and business openings, that sort of thing, that appear to flop around waving their arms, bend over then stand back up, eerily looming over a crowd apparently waving? That idea but instead of men, construct them in the shape replica inflatable buildings that crumple when deflated (like the snowman here in a nearby post) then re-inflate back again into proper erect shape, then deflate again, then back up again. Designed with airplanes on cables that run like old fashion clotheslines with a pulley on each end and timed to bump into the building when it's fully inflated then circle back like a chair lift on a ski slope. Accompanied with a smoke machine that billows as the buildings deflate. You know, something that the kids could enjoy.

Worse idea #3: Speaking of kids, a set of Jungle Gym monkey bars constructed in the shape of the twin towers with cables inside the bars and that by a geared mechanism housed underground, akin to the San Francisco cable cars, regularly loosen the cables causing the whole structure to collapse while kids are still playing on them so they get to play out the excitement of being in a collapsing building. Then as the gears continue to rotate, the cables tighten back and the structure pops back into shape, ready for a whole new round of kids.

blake said...

Chip--

Wacky Wavy Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Men!

Mr. Forward said...

Chip Ahoy has the best worse ideas.

bearbee said...

Up till 9/11, it seemed for my whole life that America was getting progressively better and better, year by year

Things move in cyclical and not linear fashion.

Pogo said...

"An inconceivably bad monument."


It's pretty much:
9-11-2001
Meh.
Whatever.



This reminds me of the kind of homework handed in by high school kids who never did the reading assignments and played video games while drunk instead.

So apparently they all grew up and went into government.
The laziest and most corrupt moved to New York.

The Drill SGT said...

edutcher said...
That is from the Peter Jennings School of Internationalism, Multiculturalism, and Respect for Islamist Freedom Fighters (in other words, terrorists)...


My opinion was formed much earlier when Wallace and Jennings said they would let Americans die in order to cover the story. Jennings wasn't fully trained yet, but Wallace taught him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGg_dpGhlf0

MadisonMan said...

Is there a monument in Madison? I can't think of one.

I'd like to think it would be nicer than a bunch of recycled bricks.

Pogo said...

VICTIMS OF TERRORISM

9 - 11 - 2001

GET OVER IT ALREADY

Dust Bunny Queen said...

All in all you're just another brick in the wall.

AprilApple said...

Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton should be proud.

The Drill SGT said...

Balfegor said...
For me, the Cenotaph is pretty much the last word in memorializing the dead.


agree

simple
classic

granite, not marble

Fred4Pres said...

Freeman Hunt said...
In fact, the architecture seems 100%-Ayn-Rand's-Fountainhead-compatible.

I don't think so. Maybe the movie version, but not the book where he emphasized livability.

11/29/09 11:08 PM


Freeman is correct. Ayn Rand's Howard Rourke was based on Frank Lloyd Wright. FLW would never ever have done that crappy building.

john said...

Fred -

Maybe FLW would not have done that crappy building, but he was surely capable of it.

I know for a fact the toilet leaked.

DADvocate said...

I've seen better monuments in backyards and on the side of the road where someone was killed in an auto accident.

Does anyone know where I can get a boxed set of DVDs of popular TV shows?

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

I don't understand the modern obsession with monuments. If we were to really "honor" the fallen, there'd be so many monuments all over, we wouldn't be able to build anything else. Enough already.

Gregory said...

Hell, little ol' Robertsdale, Alabama, population 3782, has a far superior memorial

http://img.groundspeak.com/waymarking/display/cc5d3032-bba0-4cc1-85f6-62aee642c350.jpg

howzerdo said...

Kirby: I'm with ya. I love Albany too. But it's OK if others don't. I'd rather they didn't move here and ruin it.

vbspurs said...

I recall entering a small Roman Catholic church in Cologne which looked fairly old on the outside, but inside was like the table aisle at IKEA. Clearly a victim of the Allies bombing, it had been refurbished with modern teakwood and modernist sculptures. I approached one hanging "sculpture" to observe the writing on a plaque closer. It was supposed to represent perhaps an angel and said, simply:

1939-1945

It was the closest monument I EVER saw in Germany that referred to the Second World War.

Its cold look, despite its winged religiosity, as well as its vagueness just made it seem...ridiculous.

This is how I feel looking at this afterthought of a monument to our greatest national tragedy since Pearl Harbour.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

wv: precon!

Yeah, all you precons get over it already.

Kirby Olson said...

Howzerdoo, I couldn't believe this series of posts, but yes, maybe every town that doesn't want immigrants should put up a big egg and sprinkle water in the corner of a monument and make it look like there are bums present! I'm not going to be eating Wisconsin cheese for two days as a result of this. It looks too much like bricks for me! Anything I take in has to look like the Sydney Opera house!

Am I taking this too personally? I'm taking it personally.

how about if I went to Wisconsin and everywhere I went I said, "Wensleydale is the Mozart of cheeses, said T.S. Eliot, so I am not even going to try any Wisconsin cheeses!"

Cheeses.

howzerdo said...

Kirby: now why would you bother with Wisconsin cheese when you can get Palatine cheese from Central NY?

Seriously, I'm (still) with you. I am not in the habit of dissing the places others proudly call home either. But I'd say you probably are taking it too personally. I was pleased to see the photos - the commentary, who cares.

There are posts that I read here sometimes (primarily education and animal-related themes) where I am sensitive - so I just refrain from commenting and file in "ignore." (I didn't want to let you defend Albany alone, though.) I've developed a thick skin when I hear (or read) that Albany is too provincial, or too bureaucratic, or too dreary, when I know what a pleasant and livable place it is, and how nice people are around here.

"GNARESP" is Rockefeller's controversial, dramatic and utopian signature on our skyline. It's quite an appropriate monument for someone who was all those things personified.

About the 9/11 memorial, considering the dire financial situation in the state, it's amazing anything at all was built. It's just one of many small memorials to various people, wars, etc. in Empire Plaza. There is an extensive exhibit nearby in the NYS Museum on 9/11, as well as a digital collection, so I'm not sure it is appropriate to judge the State Capital's effort by the modest brick walkway alone.

The Drill SGT said...

Victoria,

There are lots of monuments to WWII German dead, if you know what to look for.

They are typically appended to the older WWI cenotaphs. I saw many when I lived in Schweinfurt and points North and West of there, like Hammelburg. Schweinfurt was the home station of the 2nd Panzer Division and most of the monuments were regimental in nature. sort of like you'd find in an English 'Shire.

http://www.thirdreichruins.com/memorials.htm

for pictures.