January 19, 2004

Picking the World Trade Center memorial:
Before the day began, "Reflecting Absence" was regarded as a dark horse, though it had been transformed from Mr. Arad's stark original, losing a slablike cultural building that state officials derided as "Motel 6."

… In their arguments, opponents of the cloud — as everyone called the "Memorial Cloud" design — focused on the very quality its advocates admired: its distinctive architecture called attention to itself rather than the tragedy. "Its spectacle was so eye-absorbing," Dr. Young said, "that it took us out of ourselves, at a memorial that should encourage us to contemplate inwardly."

Ballot after ballot was taken: 8 to 5, 6 to 7, 7 to 6, 9 to 4. There was still no consensus when the jurors broke for a dinner of fried chicken and mashed potatoes, served with expensive bottles of Long Island estate merlot from the Gracie Mansion cellar. "The comfort food was important," Dr. Young recalled. "That break really helped."

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