The NYPD Is Ruining the World Trade Center, and Maybe Downtown, Too

image640x480 The NYPD Is Ruining the World Trade Center, and Maybe Downtown, Too

One of the most exciting features of Daniel Libeskind’s master plan for the World Trade Center was not the soaring towers he had designed, with their cascading arrangement and “Wedge of Light.” What really thrilled New Yorkers was the simple fact that he was going to restore Greenwich and Fulton streets to the Manhattn grid, obliterated decades prior by David Rockefeller and the original Trade Center.

But rather than a grand boulevard, if the NYPD has its way, the street will be a wasteland, realizing the police state many had feared the World Trade Center would become.

The NYPD unveiled its WTC security plan Monday night, and according to DNAinfo, there will be security checkpoints sprinkled throughout the site.

The four entry points include: Washington Street, between Barclay and Vesey streets, for 7 World Trade Center’s loading docks; West Broadway, between Barclay and Vesey streets, for livery and private vehicles; Trinity Place, at Liberty Street, for tour buses; and West Street, at Liberty Street, for vehicles going underground to make deliveries or park, [Counterterrorism Lt. David] Kelly said.

At each entry point, vehicles will first pass through a credentialing zone, where drivers will have to show that they have legitimate business on the site, and then they will go through security screening, Kelly said.

While residents may be able to register their cars as trusted vehicles and circumvent some of the security, the NYPD has not yet determined the details, and it may be especially difficult for those who rely on cabs. Kelly said the security would be more advanced than the measures now in place in areas like the New York Stock Exchange, where vehicles are checked with dogs and mirrors.

This is not the first time the police have mucked about the World Trade Center, either. The NYPD called for the concrete bunker that many fear will dehumanize the base of 1 World Trade Center—it is hoped a new facade will solve that—and there are concerns from locals, tourists and office workers (Hey, Graydon!) that the whole feel of the neighborhood will be that of a locked-down compound, with M-16-wielding cops on every corner.

Locals, even developers, are counting on the reconnection of Greenwich Street to help revive the area south of the World Trade Center, which has languished first after being cut off from the rest of the city by the original, and then by a decade of construction and security cordons. Neighbors who have had to suffer, and thought they might finally be in the clear once construction was completed, are understandably enraged, according to DNAinfo.

This is not to ignore the fact that the World Trade Center has been attacked twice, now, and will no doubt remain a prime target for terrorists seeking to send a message. But at a certain point, it must be asked: at what cost freedom of movement in the city?

mchaban [at] observer.com | @MC_NYC