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Walk This Way
Cortlandt Street in Lower Manhattan to extend into the World Trade Center as a pedestrian passage.
Rendering of Cortlandt Way at the World Trade Center.
Courtesy Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Construction for Cortlandt Way, a proposed 300-foot-long open-air concourse and pedestrian gateway to the 9/11 Memorial in New York, has the go-ahead to begin in February, with design work by Berkeley, California-based PWP Landscape Architecture. The strip of land the gateway will inhabit runs perpendicular to Church and Greenwich streets and is one of two missing blocks of Cortlandt Street initially torn down to make room for the original World Trade Center Towers. The block, which will cater to high-end luxury retail shopping, will feature a pathway of shops and restaurants that will gradually taper and slightly descend in gradient near the Memorial, forming a ramp of sorts to make a clear focal point of the empty footprints. “The sloping path of the narrow corridor aims to provide a connective link from the city to the memorial while also providing stepped terraces for people to linger [on], hang out, and have a social relationship with the district,” said PWP partner Doug Findley. The streets will be paved in black granite and granite cobblestone. Because of the high traffic of the area, materials were chosen “not just for their durability but for their ability to be cleaned and assembled in a way to not show every speck of dust,” said Findley. Honey locust trees, known for their adaptability to the urban environment, were selected to line the terraces “for the lacy quality of their canopies, which allows light to pass though them” and to frame and harmonize the forests of oaks in the distance.

Cortlandt Way site plan showing the pedestrian street between World Trade Center towers three and four.
Courtesy PWP Landscape Architecture

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns and runs the property, announced the board’s approval of an $11.2 million contract with T.B Penick & Sons to build Cortlandt Way. An earlier, 2005, design for the space, featuring an entirely glass enclosed galleria-style mall with additional footbridges overhead for retail outlets, was rejected by city officials, who said they feared that the multi-leveled layout would hide views to and from the Memorial.

Clara Freedman


Cortlandt Way will sit next to Fumihiko Maki's World Trade Center Tower Four (under construction with glass curtain wall).
Tom Stoelker / AN