We revisited the site of the Banksy 9/11 street art stencil in TriBeCa, in New York City, this past weekend. There was again a crowd of between a half-dozen and a dozen people viewing the artwork and — yet again — another argument was unfolding between a visitor and a local resident.
Somebody had installed a plexiglass cover over Banksy’s work to protect it from vandalism (ironic, right?), and residents in the apartment building across the narrow street were keeping a watchful, protective eye on the work. One of the residents admonished a viewer who was trying to remove the plexiglass and a heated argument between them ensued. The viewer argued that the plexiglass should be removed so that people can appreciate an unobstructed view of the work and see it as it was intended. The resident argued it should be protected and noted that already several people had tried to smash the cover by throwing bricks at it, hence the cracked plexiglass. Eventually the visitor walked off muttering that Banksy’s artwork “is just graffiti.”
Both people had a point. Their arguments underscore just how much of all of this is subject to debate given the circumstances and that the artwork is at once vandalism, illegal, ephemeral and of artistic, cultural significance.
The spire was finally added to the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site in New York City last week. The photos below show the Tower, with its newly added spire, as seen from SoHo. The addition of the spire was a momentous occasion, a milestone charged with the symbolism — the building is now 1,776 feet tall, which is an important date in America’s history of independence. The event makes the Freedom Tower the tallest building in the western hemisphere.
The view out the window from the seventh floor Sky Room of the New Museum in New York City. This photo was taken on a recent snowy day and shows the Lower Manhattan skyline in the distance and the rooftops and tenements of the Lower East Side and Nolita in the foreground. The tallest building is the nearly completed 1 World Trade Center building, or “Freedom Tower,” built at the site of the Twin Towers that were destroyed on 9/11.