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Once upon a time, things were simpler. Idealistic. An artistic man in artistic glases designed a master plan for Ground Zero, and everyone loved it.

Then things went downhill. WTC leaseholder Larry Silverstein essentially kicked Libeskind out. Then the NYPD said no to his Freedom Tower. The cultural center he'd envisioned died when Pataki demanded an "absolute guarantee" that none of the arts institutions to be housed there ever produce anything that might be construed as anti-American. And then, yesterday, the International Freedom Center was booted, too.

And so, four years later, still nothing's getting built. What to do?

They've finally figured it out: Retail!

Because, really, if New Yorkers were so distracted by arts and aesthetics and historical examinations that they forgot about the craven pursuit of sales and money, well, that would be letting the terrorists win.

As Ground Zero Plans Shift, Focus Turns to Retail Space [NYT]