We all remember 9/11—but who will remember the brands? For nearly three years the 600-foot long hallway designed by Santiago Calatrava that links his World Trade Center PATH Station to Battery Park City has lain bare, its pristine white marble wall a somber reminder of the dangers of contemplative space. No longer. Today the New York Times reports that the wall will soon sport a 280-foot wide, 9.5 foot-tall LED billboard, so that we may never forget the companies who pay the owners of the transit center’s shopping mall to advertise their products on it.
The shopping mall, Westfield World Trade Center, had originally planned to hire several dozen men dressed like Uncle Sam to grab the shoulders of the commuters passing through the hall and scream the names of the advertisers into their faces until their throats filled with blood, but this was deemed too subtle.
Instead, Westfield says their “objective is to create ‘moments of interest’ for those passing through the east-west gallery,” and the only thing that makes interesting things is a TV, preferably on the wall, the biggest one you can afford. This is the first of several screens.
While most people recognize Lower Manhattan for this mall that is currently under construction inside its $4 billion train station, Westfield World Trade Center acknowledges that some people might also want to visit the September 11 Memorial and Museum, which sits right next to this digital billboard.
“Westfield is a partner of the September 11 Memorial and Museum foundation and has deep respect for the site and its history,” the shopping mall said in a statement. “There will be no digital media (no screens or other signage) facing the memorial and Westfield has been and will remain sensitive to the memorial.”
And if you truly feel like thinking thoughts related to September 11, 2001 while you walk through the space where thousands of people died, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum told the Times that they "may collaborate with Westfield on the 'content' shown on the digital screens elsewhere in the hub during the annual commemorative period in September."
Why look at a blank wall or go up and look at the reflecting pools when you can remember 9/11 as we all lived it: on a television screen.