Banksy, the elusive British street artist nearing the end of a monthlong New York City residency, published an op-ed column on his website on Sunday slamming the design of 1 World Trade Center, the 104-story skyscraper scheduled to be opened on the World Trade Center site next year.
"As a visitor staying in New York for the past few weeks one thing has become very clear to me," Banksy wrote in the op-ed. "You've got to do something about the new World Trade Center. That building is a disaster. Well no, disasters are interesting. One World Trade centre [sic] is a non-event. It's vanilla. It looks like something they would build in Canada."
Banksy submitted the op-ed to The New York Times, which declined to publish it. "We couldn't agree on either the piece or the art, so we did reject it," Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the Times, told Yahoo News.
The op-ed that appeared on Banksy's site, she added, was "not exactly the same" as the one he submitted to the newspaper.
"The attacks of September 11th were an attack on all of us and we will live out our lives in their shadow," Banksy continued. "But it's also how we react to adversity that defines us. And the response? 104 floors of compromise?"
The 1,776-foot-tall building, co-developed by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and the Durst Organization, is being billed as "the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere." The spire was completed in May.
More from Banksy's op-ed:
Remarkably for such a tall structure One World Trade lacks any self-confidence. How does it stand up without a spine? It looks like it never wanted to be built in the first place.
It reminds you of a really tall kid at a party, awkwardly shifting his shoulders trying not to stand out from the crowd. It's the first time I've ever seen a shy skyscraper.
It would be easy to view One World Trade Centre [sic] as a betrayal of everyone who lost their lives on September 11th, because it so clearly proclaims the terrorists won. Those 10 men have condemned us to live in a world more mediocre than the one they attacked, rather than be the catalyst for a dazzling new one.
Nobody comes to New York to bathe in your well-mannered common sense. We're here for the spirit and audacity. One World Trade has none. Instead you have to look to the rooftops - to the chorus of precariously roller painted names and slogans crawling over the skyline like poison ivy. This is the city's true heritage — a city that made its name giving space to the mercurial and the brave.
One World Trade declares the glory days of New York are gone. You really need to put up a better building in front of it right away. Or better still, let the kids with the roller poles finish it off. Because you currently have under construction a one thousand foot tall sign that reads — New York — we lost our nerve.
The op-ed isn't the first time Banksy has referenced the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Earlier this month, he unveiled graffiti in Manhattan's Tribeca neighborhood depicting a silhouette of the World Trade Center's twin towers with a flower — an orange chrysanthemum singed at the edges — emerging from one of the buildings.
And it probably won't win him any fans in the mayor's office, which is already irked by Banksy's installations.
"Running up to somebody's property or public property and defacing it is not my definition of art," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said when asked of the graffiti. "It may be art, but it should not be permitted. And I think that's exactly what the law says."
Banksy fired back on Sunday.
"The biggest eyesore in New York is not the graffiti," Banksy wrote as the title of his fake Times op-ed. "It's under construction at ground zero."