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A Portrait of the Artists Documenting WTC’s Progress

Photo by Chris Sorenson

Before this past June, Conrad Stojak’s workspace was a friend’s garage in Queens.

Today, the Jackson Heights-based artist, who is turning old parking meters into sculptures, works from the 67th floor of 4 World Trade Center. He likes water, so he chose the southwest corner—the one that offers unparalleled, unobstructed views of both Upper New York Bay and the Hudson River. It’s the ultimate studio, courtesy of Silverstein Properties.

Courtesy, as in gratis.

Long attached to the belief that art brings vitality, excitement and dimension to any landscape, after 9/11 Silverstein head Larry Silverstein invited artists to work in vacant spaces around the World Trade Center site. And, why not? The empty, unfinished floors look a little like a Soho artists loft in the sky. The space is divided up fairly loosely, with some artists taking a city view—others opting for the Battery. (One artist has an entire floor all to himself.) And these artists have been squatting in these WTC studios for more than a decade.

Documentation of the reconstruction was all Mr. Silverstein asked in return.

“It’s something that’s important to them, but also important to us,” Mr. Silverstein told Commercial Observer. “This is really a little way of producing a running documentation of what transpires daily, weekly, monthly, in a way people can understand and appreciate for generations to come. To keep a document is enormously important to us. They’ve done it so well.”

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