Eager to reassure everyone that things were moving along at Ground Zero, Governor Pataki's World Trade Center
flunky chief of staff, said that the PATH Transit Hub designed by Santiago Calatrava would offer 200,000 square feet of space for retailers and bidding will start in a few months. All hell, does this mean there will be an Olive Garden down there, to compete with the Applebee's at the Battery Park Regal Cinemas? The NY Times says the retail corridor plans, which would include another 300,000 square feet along Church Street, might face "same criticism that felled the Freedom Center"; plus Cahill's remarks were to a group of business executives, including those from Wal-Mart (of course, the Port Authority chairman Anthony Coscia had to tell the Times, "It's premature, to be frank, but if you think we're planning a big Wal-Mart, the answer is no."). At any rate, if there's one thing Gothamist remembers after September 11, it's that if you don't shop, then the terrorists win! Perhaps the LMDC can build a mall to rival the one uptown...and call it "Freedom to Shop Center."
The "eviction" of the Freedom Center, plus the loss of the Drawing Center, leads to another Times article wondering if culture is gone at Ground Zero. We hate to be cynical, but culture left as soon as the design was picked; as Frank Gehry, who has designed a performing arts center for World Trade Center's "master plans," says, "From the beginning, I thought it was going to be messy, given all the politics, all the people you have to please."