Contentious City

Contentious City: The Politics of Recovery in New York City

John Mollenkopf Editor
Copyright Date: 2005
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Contentious City
    Book Description:

    Few public projects have ever dealt with economic and emotional issues as large as those surrounding the rebuilding of lower Manhattan following the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. Picking up the pieces involved substantial challenges: deciding how to memorialize one of America's greatest tragedies, how to balance the legal claim of landowners against the moral claim of survivors who want a say in the future of Ground Zero, and how to rebuild the Trade Center site while preserving the sacredness and solemnity that Americans now attribute to the area. All the while, the governor, the mayor, the Port Authority, and the leaseholder competed with one another to advance their own interests and visions of the redevelopment, while at least leaving the impression that the decisions were the public's to make. InContentious City, editor John Mollenkopf and a team of leading scholars analyze the wide-ranging political dimensions of the recovery process.

    Contentious Citytakes an in-depth look at the competing interests and demands of the numerous stakeholders who have sought to influence the direction of the recovery process. Lynne Sagalyn addresses the complicated institutional politics behind the rebuilding, which involve a newly formed development commission seeking legitimacy, a two-state transportation agency whose brief venture into land ownership puts it in control of the world's most famous 16 acres of land, and a private business group whose affiliation with the World Trade Center places it squarely in a fight for billions of dollars in insurance funds. Arielle Goldberg profiles five civic associations that sprouted up to voice public opinion about the redevelopment process. While the groups did not gain much leverage over policy outcomes, Goldberg argues that they were influential in steering the agenda of decision-makers and establishing what values would be prioritized in the development plans. James Young, a member of the jury that selected the design for the World Trade Center site memorial, discusses the challenge of trying to simultaneously memorialize a tragic event, while helping those who suffered find renewal and move on with their lives. Editor John Mollenkopf contributes a chapter on how the September 11 terrorist attacks altered the course of politics in New York, and how politicians at the city and state level adapted to the new political climate after 9/11 to win elected office.

    Moving forward after the destruction of the Twin Towers was a daunting task, made more difficult by the numerous competing claims on the site, and the varied opinions on how it should be used in the future.Contentious Citybrings together the voices surrounding this intense debate, and helps make sense of the rival interests vying for control over one of the most controversial urban development programs in history.

    A Russell Sage Foundation September 11 Initiative Volume

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-401-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Eric Wanner

    IN THE GRIM WEEKS after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, many New Yorkers asked themselves how they could contribute their talents and abilities to help their fellow citizens and assist in the effort to restore and revitalize the city. As a research organization with a long history of studying social and economic conditions in the city, the Russell Sage Foundation naturally turned toward the idea of using the analytic capacities of social science to assess the shocking blow New York had suffered and analyze the underlying dimensions of what we fervently hoped would...

    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    • CHAPTER 1 Introduction: Repairing the Hole in the Heart of the City
      (pp. 3-20)
      John Mollenkopf

      TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, dawned as one of the most beautiful days of the year in New York City. The air was crystal clear, the early sun was bright, and the temperature was warming up to a perfect level. It was an exciting day for those interested in city politics because the people going to polls that had opened at 6:00 A.M. for the Democratic and Republican primary elections would determine the choices for the next mayor of New York City and begin to define the post-Giuliani era in New York City politics. In the Democratic primary, Bronx borough president...

    • CHAPTER 2 The Politics of Planning the World’s Most Visible Urban Redevelopment Project
      (pp. 23-72)
      Lynne B. Sagalyn

      THREE YEARS after the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, plans for four key elements in rebuilding the World Trade Center (WTC) site had been adopted: restoring the historic streetscape, creating a new public transportation gateway, building an iconic skyscraper, and fashioning the 9/11 memorial. Despite this progress, however, what ultimately emerges from this heavily argued decision-making process will depend on numerous design decisions, financial calls, and technical executions of conceptual plans—or indeed, the rebuilding plan may be redefined without regard to plans adopted through 2004. These implementation decisions will determine whether new cultural attractions revitalize lower Manhattan and...

    • CHAPTER 3 Ground Zero’s Landlord: The Role of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the Reconstruction of the World Trade Center Site
      (pp. 73-94)
      Susan S. Fainstein

      AS THE result of decades of earlier political maneuvering, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ, or PA) found itself as the lead government agency in the rebuilding of downtown Manhattan after the attack of September 11, 2001. This situation was anomalous in that the Authority had been founded as a builder of transportation and port facilities, not office structures, and after its ventures into property development during the 1970s and 1980s it had vowed to return to its core functions. Because it owned the World Trade Center (WTC) site and the PATH facilities lying beneath it,...

    • CHAPTER 4 The Redevelopment of Lower Manhattan: The Role of the City
      (pp. 95-111)
      Mitchell L. Moss

      THE ATTACK on the World Trade Center reinforced a process of change in lower Manhattan that had been under way for at least the past fifty years. The public and private responses to the destruction wrought on September 11 have provided the funds, organizational capacity, and public commitment to do what a previous generation of municipal planners tried to accomplish, with only partial success: creating a mixed residential and office community in what was once New York City’s dominant financial and business district. Federal aid to rebuild lower Manhattan has been the catalyst for modernizing and expanding its mass transit...

    • CHAPTER 5 Civic Engagement in the Rebuilding of the World Trade Center
      (pp. 112-139)
      Arielle Goldberg

      ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, people around the world, most especially New Yorkers, shared a tragic human, financial, and emotional loss. Many New Yorkers emerged from this experience with a renewed sense of shared fate and a strong desire to contribute to revitalizing and rebuilding lower Manhattan and New York City. This new sense of community was manifested in both a wide range of individual voluntary efforts and the formation of new collaborations among social service organizations, such as the 9/11 United Services Group. Another dimension was widespread interest, especially within the planning, design, architecture, and urban studies professions, in the...

    • CHAPTER 6 The Memorial Process: A Juror’s Report from Ground Zero
      (pp. 140-162)
      James E. Young

      THE FIRST memorials for the victims of the 9/11 attacks appeared within hours of the collapse of the World Trade Center towers: these were the posted flyers of the missing and the candlelight vigils at Union Square, on the Esplanade in Brooklyn Heights, and elsewhere around the city. These photos and descriptions of loved ones were the spontaneous commemorations of loss and grief. With their photographs and descriptions of loving fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters, the flyers read almost as epitaphs on paper instead of stone, as perishable and transitory as the hope that inspired them. These families’ missing loved...

    • CHAPTER 7 Outside the Circle: The Impact of Post-9/11 Responses on Immigrant Communities in New York City
      (pp. 165-204)
      Lorraine C. Minnite

      THE NATIONAL search for greater security against the terrorist threat evidenced by the September 11 attacks has had a strong and negative effect on New York City’s immigrant communities, particularly those whose faith is Islam. In contrast to the local reaction to the attacks, the nation experienced a rise in patriotism, nativism, and even xenophobia as the United States plunged into war. These sentiments provided support for the federal government’s hunt for terrorists in Muslim immigrant neighborhoods across the country, particularly among the growing Muslim immigrant populations from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and elsewhere in metropolitan New York. Like the attacks...

    • CHAPTER 8 How 9/11 Reshaped the Political Environment in New York
      (pp. 205-222)
      John Mollenkopf

      THE ATTACKS on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon created a disequilibrium in the politics of the city, state, and nation. These altered environments favored some candidates and worked against others. Despite expectations in many quarters, for example, New York City did not elect a Democratic mayor to succeed Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani in November 2001, but took the unprecedented step of electing its third Republican in a row, Michael Bloomberg. Rudolph Giuliani did not leave office as a self-wounded, term-limited cancer patient whose wife had accused him of conducting an affair with one of his aides, but as...

  9. INDEX
    (pp. 223-233)