On the 15 th anniversary of the terror attacks, the new Westfield and neighboring Fulton Center provide the most American of experiences
Im going to Shake Shack, specifically the one in the new Westfield World Trade Center mall, desperate to sample a burger designed by and bearing the name of Today Show presenter Al Roker. Im told that this burger has been stifled with pulled pork, which intrigues me greatly, but on my style there my attention is diverted by a peculiar sight: a store ominously titled the Freedom Wine Cellar.
We were told many things in the working day after 9/11 that they detested us for our liberty, that the evildoers would be brought to justice, and most importantly, that we needed to go shopping. The highest form of patriotism was buying a boat, or a few hundred dollars worth of clothes we didnt need. Our defenders George W Bush, Rudolph Giuliani were the equivalent of Ivana Trump imploring the women of the movie the First Wives Club to not get mad, but to get everything.
And now, 15 years on, everything can be bought on the very parcel of ground where Americas greatest modern collective trauma unfolded. The Westfield World Trade Center, which opened last month, offers us a most baroque kind of retail therapy.
A Time magazine article from 2013 cited a study( paid for by the online shopping portal Ebates.com) which claims that 52 % of Americans engage in retail therapy the act of purchasing goods to ease feelings of sadness. The World Trade Center site has been finely calibrated to offer that experience, and so much more.
Theres the chilling memorial fountains where the towers once stood that have launched hundreds of thousands of cheerful selfies. Theres even a gift store where one can purchase a piece of 9/11 memorabilia. The clerks there might be the saddest employees I have ever witnessed forced to relive the infamous date over and over again through videos of first responders and city officials discussing the two attacks playing on a loop-the-loop on giant monitors.
I bought a coffee mug. It was the least I could do.
Read more: www.theguardian.com