Ground Zero: Out Of the Ruins

Ground zero today is part spectacle, part shrine--and quintessentially New York

In Manhattan, vacuums are opportunities. And even one as sad and sacred as the place where the World Trade Center stood can't remain inviolate for long. For weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, ground zero played host to all varieties of uncredentialed and unsupervised volunteers from all over the U.S.--the lobstermen from Maine, the barbecue guys from Dallas, the Gumbo Krewe from New Orleans. But in America, even tragedy becomes professionalized, and ground zero is now as distinct--and as commercial--a New York region as the theater district or the garment district. It's a throbbing 16-acre region populated by construction workers, itinerant...

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