Sunday, September 11, 2011

Debacle: Failing to Rebuild the Twin Towers Out Now

Friends, Americans, civilized humans, lend me your eyes; I come to praise the WTC, not to bury it. The evil that men do lives after them; the good should not be interred with their bones: nor should it be with the bones of the Twin Towers. The vile Caesars have told you the Twin Towers were ambitious: If it was so, it was not a grievous fault, but their noblest virtue. But grievously hath Caesar answered it.

World trade means world peace… The World Trade Center is a living symbol of man's dedication to world peace. Beyond the compelling need to make this a monument to world peace, the World Trade Center should, because of its importance, become a representation of man's belief in humanity, his need for individual dignity, his beliefs in the cooperation of men, and through cooperation, his ability to find greatness.

— Minoru Yamasaki

Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel. When I see the city from my window — no, I don't feel how small I am — but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would like to throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body.

— Ayn Rand

Those awesome symbolic towers that speak of liberty, human rights, and humanity have been destroyed. They have gone up in smoke.

— Osama bin Laden

Ten years ago today, murderous terrorists crashed jetliners into the Word Trade Center Towers, realizing their plan that the Twin Towers that stood for rational man's achievement, capitalism, freedom, free trade, and world peace should no longer grace the New York skyline, aiming to extinguish the twin beacons of liberty and enlightenment, so that the forces of darkness should rule the world once more.

The terrorists have failed, as rule by faith and force must always fail. They have not brought about another Dark Age. But they murdered 3,000 human beings, wrecked four jetliners, prompted people to sacrifice priceless liberties to fear, caused economic damage in the trillions of dollars, and destroyed two landmark building complexes.

Some of these battles are battles for another day and not the primary subject of our book. But on September 12, 2001, there was little doubt as to what had to be done about one of these points. The landmark complex less completely destroyed, the Pentagon, was quickly restored. To this day, people from around the US and the world are shocked to learn that what is built at the WTC is not new Twin Towers, taller, stronger, and safer.

For ten wasted years now, the worst of contemporary politics has made sure that no towers of comparable stature are rising at the WTC, thus kept the killers' legacy intact and respected their wish that New York and America be cut down to size, never to rise again.

Groups that favored drastically different philosophies of urban design, groups that saw professional opportunities for themselves, and groups that saw any pool of funds dedicated to relief of the needy as best devoted to their own priorities swooped in to claim they spoke for all.

Allied to this was the most vocal proportion of those who had lost loved ones in the attacks, casting about in their grief for solace. Whether seeking to blame someone for their loss or seeking maximum public recognition of their loss, they made pleas of a kind rare in previous historical disasters that often amounted to leaving the site as the killers of their loved ones had desired rather than permitting it to be reclaimed for the purposes to which and for which their loved ones had given their lives.

To the vulture-like opportunists seeing an opportunity to remake the city, and to the emotionally devastated seeking to see its unmaking left as a tribute to the victims, the officials listened. To the wider nation anxious to see the restoration of what could be restored, they paid no heed.

— Louis Epstein, World Trade Center Restoration Movement

WTC leaseholder Larry Silverstein has been determined to rebuild the office space, but lacks the vision and vigor to rebuild the towers he had once said he lusted for, towers he could only buy, but not create. He prefers the bulk of the iconic Twin Towers to be broken down into a bunch of buildings each half the size of a Twin Tower, to be built at a pace that minimizes his economic risk.

Moreover, he won't permit any new building at the WTC to have nearly as many occupied floors as the 110-story Twin Towers, as he now believes he has to protect the people who would work there from themselves.

All new WTC buildings now planned or under construction are much smaller and shorter than the Twin Towers, with the exception of the antenna on the new One WTC, which will be slighter taller than the old antenna. Thanks to officials' incompetence, there will not even be a new Windows on the World restaurant.

While politicians made sure that the public was never offered a poll pitting the stunted designs preferred by the interests they catered to — victims' families, urban utopian planners, and Silverstein — against restored Twin Towers, any poll there was soundly rejected the official offerings, which never managed to beat "none of the above" and usually took a shellacking from "none of the above."

Results on Imagine New York (the LMDC's official poll):
Libeskind: 205 votes / 26%
THINK: 260 votes / 33%
None of the above: 323 votes / 41%
Total: 788 votes

Results on NY1:
Results since February 4, 2003
Libeskind: 6,853 votes / 21%
THINK: 4,615 votes / 14%
I don't like either of these plans: 20,892 votes / 64%
Total: 32,360 votes

Results on CNN:
Which of the two finalists' designs do you prefer for the World Trade Center site?
Libeskind: 33,050 votes / 32%
THINK: 34,867 votes / 34%
Neither is good: 35,747 votes / 34%
Total: 103,664 votes

The incompetent and intellectually bankrupt officials have seen their WTC plans fall apart again and again for ten years because they treated the WTC rebuilding as a random office development with a memorial plopped in and failed to heed the most fundamental advice for great architecture:

Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably will themselves not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die.

— Daniel H. Burnham

The human beings we lost were bold. These people deserve majestic new towers as bold as they were. One of the best ways we can honor them is to carry on their work. Safer, taller towers will be a living testament that complements our memorial and helps make it one of the seven modern wonders of the world. We need a skyline that does justice to the wonderful people we lost. We will not sell these people short.

— Jonathan Hakala, tenant, One World Trade Center

In the words of New Yorkers from all walks of life, Debacle: Failing to Rebuild the Twin Towers chronicles their love of their city and their towers, their hopes for rebuilding, their experience with the corrupt official rebuilding process, and the blueprints that can still restore tall Twin Towers to the WTC.

Debacle: Failing to Rebuild the Twin Towers is now available for Amazon Kindle. Dead tree edition coming soon.


Kushal Sharma said...

I have seen "The Zeitgeist" and seeing their representation of how they think the WTC destruction was impossible to do with just two airplanes, I don't even know how to look at the US's response to this issue anymore.

If you see the video, it makes compelling arguments about how it couldn't have been anything else other than the government's own handiwork to sell the Patriot Act to the people -- just like how those in power did at the time of the collapse of the Bank of New York after which their previously-failed proposal for a Federal Reserve was immediately approved.

Kushal Sharma said...

After seeing "The Zeitgeist", I don't even know how to react to the US Government's response to the 9/11 event. The documentary shows some shocking points about how it was impossible for two airplanes to bring down the twin towers. It also talks about how it is probably in line with being an inside job done by the government to ensure their patriot act gets passed -- just like how apparently the powers to be brought about the collapse of the Bank of New York through rumors after which the proposal for having a Federal Reserve was given a green light (previously, this proposal had met with vehement opposition every time it was put forward).

If this "conspiracy theory" is really true, the US politics is a lot more fucked up than I thought it was. I just hope their constitution and the legacy of their forefathers will be enough to save that country from the collapse towards which it seems to be headed.

Alex said...

If you're wondering about the claims made in that movie, you might find this link of interest: