The first tenant moved in yesterday, but the grand opening of the building at 7 World Trade Center was delayed until noon today. The usual dignitaries spoke, a blue ribbon was cut, cameras flashed, reporters took notes and then the real welcome began with a free concert featuring what was billed as “seven downtown artists.”
The show started with famed Irish tenor Ronan Tynan, who performed in front of the new fountain with a choir of neighborhood school-children, then climbed onstage and sang solo, ending with the words “God bless America.”
He was followed by Americana-gospel hybrid Ollabelle, the legendary Lou Reed (who sang his classic Sweet Jane), folk troupe Pharaoh’s Daughter, singer-songwriter Citizen Cope (who gave me one of his CDs), singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega (who sang her hits Luka and Tom’s Diner), electronica quartet the Brazilian Girls and the jazz of Bill Ware & Vibes.
An extra treat was provided the Soda Shop, an old-fashioned soda fountain situated on Chambers Street, a few blocks north of 7 WTC, which dished up free snacks of pure comfort New York food – egg creams, lime rickeys, pretzels, macaroni & cheese, miniature hot dogs and tiny pastel-buttercream frosted cupcakes.