"Today we take Adirondack granite, the bedrock of our state, and place it as the foundation, the bedrock, of this new symbol of American strength and confidence," the governor said.
The granite, with its inscription honoring the fallen and the "enduring spirit of freedom," was to be rock solid proof that the project was underway. "Today, we build the Freedom Tower," the governor said at the ceremony.
But the "Freedom Tower" wouldn't be built either. Instead it became a symbol of bureaucratic bungling. It turned out that communications had broken down with the police department. After construction had begun, the NYPD said the tower was vulnerable to truck bombs. Construction stopped for a year while a third version was designed and unveiled.
"It had become, sadly, much more ordinary. The NYPD required that it be elevated 200 feet above the street to protect it," Goldberger explained.
"So, it's standing on a pedestal?" Pelley asked,
"Standing, well, that's a nice way to put it, standing on a pedestal," Goldberger replied.
Asked how he would put it, Goldberger said, "I would put it, unfortunately, it's a building on top of concrete bunker. It was called by the governor the 'Freedom Tower.' But I said at one point around then, I wondered if it shouldn't be called the 'Fear Tower' instead."
Actually the Port Authority did change the name. "Freedom" was dropped in favor of "One World Trade Center."
Today, construction is underway on that 20 story blast proof pedestal. But most of the rest of the Ground Zero project is still a question mark, including the plans for a spectacular $2 billion train station.
It was back in 2005, in another one of those impressive ceremonies, when the Port Authority launched the station designed by star architect Santiago Calatrava. The station was due to be finished last year. But the cost has now doubled to $4 billion and not much is done.
"The Calatrava train station as originally announced is supposed to be standing here in front of us, then the Port Authority said 'Okay, 2011,'" Pelley remarked. "Is it gonna be there in 2011?"
"You judge for yourself. The excavation that was supposed to be done a long time ago is still going forward," Larry Silverstein replied,
What has gone wrong? Well failure has many architects.
A hard-nosed businessman like Silverstein resisted building landmarks that didn't make sense to him commercially. The Port Authority didn't have the staff or management to lead the development of the grand master plan. And because the Port is a state agency, the nation's most powerful mayor, Michael Bloomberg, became a by-stander.