When someone dies it is impossible to bring them back to life, but we are given a unique opportunity to do just that in this case; bring the Twin Towers back to life instead of being haunted by their absence. — Matt Franzblau | All Other NY & NJ Residents
For the only comprehensive summary and analysis of the latest WTC redevelopment news visit:
The Twin Towers Journal exists to address the critically important questions about the World Trade Center project that never get asked, let alone answered. Week after week, we bring facts to light that the public and the media can match against what they are being told — because the rosy picture officials want to paint at Ground Zero is contradicted by the facts.
If the questions we pose and the context we provide seem to be nit-picking, keep in mind that nits are louse eggs and must be “picked” to prevent infestation. But the new World Trade Center has been infested with parasites for over a decade — and to change that will take champions in government and the media who refuse to duck the hard facts or look away.
We generally send out a tweet with new bulletins. We will be expanding our use of this account.
The Twin Towers Alliance on Facebook We only used this as a notification page, which is redundant with Twitter, so we decided to suspend our use of it. But we will leave it up for possible future use.
PLEASE NOTE: THE TWIN TOWERS ALLIANCE ONLY OPERATES THROUGH THIS WEBSITE. NO OFFICIAL CONNECTION WITH ANY OTHER SITE OR PETITION USING OUR NAME AND IDENTITY SHOULD BE ASSUMED, IF WE DO NOT LINK TO IT FROM THIS SITE.
We regret not being able to respond to the many emails of encouragement we receive, but every one is read when it arrives. The situation at the World Trade Center is challenging and demands all our attention. For more info see the 11/9/2013 bulletin below. We thank you for understanding.
3/16/2014— “Out of the Frying Pan…”
The battle over the Central Park carriage horses is the swindle at Ground Zero in miniature — until the past week, when star actor and New Yorker Liam Neeson entered the fight. Mayor de Blasio, who has tried hard to distance himself from the last mayor, is proving to be just a taller version of Michael Bloomberg…
As the New York Times piece reports below, a Quinnipiac poll found in January that 61 percent of voters said the mayor should leave the carriage-horse trade alone. But, according to the New York Post, “Bill de Blasio reiterated he’s not open to any arguments against shutting down the city’s horse-carriage trade.” That piece went on to catch the mayor in a big, fat, lie.
There are passionate voices on both sides of the issue who think they know best, but, as with the redevelopment of the WTC, there is no effort to get to the bottom of all the hyperbole. It should not be beyond us to get to the facts. Is this about animal welfare or political payback? We need to know. We need to know if public opinion matters or if we are all subject to who has the best PR machine.
Mr. Neeson has pointed out that the carriage horses have been a fixture in New York since before Abraham Lincoln was elected. They are “a connection with our past. It’s a connection with our history.” But we can show him sixteen acres of proof that in New York’s corrupt political swamp that couldn’t matter less.
We post far fewer bulletins than we used to before we started tracking WTC developments on the Twin Towers Journal. But this is one of those things that could only be a bulletin — and we think that as long as it’s posted in January it will count as a New Year’s message. It would be a shame not to share it. A good friend of the TTA from the Netherlands sent us Christmas/New Year’s greetings last month that included a link to a remarkable blog entry entitled “Cathedrals of Commerce.” It begins by introducing a section of Proust’s “in Search of Lost Time”, which he then ties it into his own haunting memories of the Twin Towers.
“When I read these passages, my heart stirred. I understand the meaning people give churches, homes, and other buildings. They shelter our loved ones and the best of them dignify our lives through their strength and beauty. They are stoic witnesses to our triumphs and tragedies and, when they are gone, the ‘reality’ of memories made in their presence is shattered.”
The message of Proust, the Twin Towers, and every New Year’s Eve is that life at its core is about the ache of lost love. Power and money may be fun — but that’s not what we are thinking of as the old year slips away. The quality of the vintage video below isn’t very good, but it’s worth watching. Our New Year’s wish for the TTA’s supporters is for every good thing — especially that “old acquaintance” and “days of old long since” will never “be forgot” and that being faithful to the memory of the lights that have gone out for each of us and for all of us will help us always to do the right thing.
11/9/2013— “Pay As You Go…”
We regularly hear from supporters by phone and email looking for “inside” information on the State of the WTC. Sometimes they have been “supporters” for years, but often they are new voices, discovering how little sense the redevelopment of Ground Zero makes, asking the same questions all over again that so many have asked before.
We are encouraged that “old-timers” and new-timers alike can see through all the hype surrounding the WTC and still understand why this fight matters. We cannot answer often long and thoughtful questions. We wish we could. We wish we had a reference desk — or just a little more spare time. But we don’t.
Much of what we are involved in is not noted on the TTA site for lack of time or because it would not be helpful to spell it all out. Our focus is on challenging what has and is going wrong at the site, while at the same time doing the work that will establish that there are still ways to make a significant improvement at the WTC — which we truly believe. It doesn’t leave time for much else.
We have been at this for almost nine years — in one way or another, almost every 365 days of each one. It would be inaccurate to say we are volunteering, because volunteers contribute their free time. But we contribute our expensive time –the time that we take from our families and our careers — and have never doubted it is worth it.
That is why we have to be so careful how we use it. For instance, there are much fewer reasons for bulletins than before we started the Twin Towers Journal – and a lot less time to post them. We have been saying for so long that it is not too late to do the right thing — but little by little it is too late for one thing after another, so we try to choose wisely.
For instance, in 2007, when we visited Congressional aides in Washington, it definitely was not too late to get a Congressman or Senator to call for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit we urged them to sponsor. The GAO is one of the most productive, professional, and dedicated agencies in our fouled-up government. Just this past September, they issued a report on the Port Authority, at the request of the late Sen. Lautenberg, related to its out-of-control tolling practices. It confirmed that the agency is unaccountable to the people who support it.
A GAO audit in 2007, would have flagged the propriety of the General Services Administration pledge to lease space in the Freedom Tower. It put the feeble plan on life-support, as a favor to outgoing Governor Pataki, instead of letting it die a natural death. The money to start construction could not have been raised without it. And if the bad politics had been exposed, the site could well have had a fresh start.
It wasn’t too late when we met with the new Port Authority Executive Director Christopher Ward and introduced him to “Twin Towers II” designer Kenneth Gardner in late 2008. The claim that new Twin Towers could have at that time “saved billions of dollars and years of time” was accurate. But five years later, drivers who cross the Hudson River are paying exorbitant tolls to support a site that has a few high-profile, heavily subsidized tenants, because political and media malpractice is in control at the WTC.
There have been so many other opportunities when it wasn’t too late for common sense and respect to prevail, when the work at the site could have easily been converted into an historic triumph. We are not going to enumerate them here. But every day that passes takes us closer and closer to the point where it will be too late to do anything to salvage the site — at least in the foreseeable future.
But at this time, the case against the status quo gets stronger all the time, not weaker. And requires more, not less, of our time. So we would like to suggest that anyone who asks us for information and takes our time away from other activities, to respond to an email or answer the phone, should be willing to pay for the time, as we do, with their own contribution.
So from now on, the first thing we will ask any of our callers or emailers is “what you have done to gain support for this cause?” As we have said before, we find Facebook almost worthless, because for all the serious supporters there are always freaks and nutcases mixed in. But if those of you who really care about this struggle don’t convey to others why you do and can’t convince five or ten other people to care, too, and show it by signing the TTA petition, then what makes you a supporter?
Support means to give, not to take. One definition is “to bear the weight of, especially from below.” The Twin Towers Alliance supports new Twin Towers and a World Trade Center that is worthy of the price our country paid on 9/11. That is all we have time for.
8/26/2013— “Winners and Losers…”
We heard from a young man in Brazil over the weekend who was watching the Liberty Mutual golf tournament and was so disturbed by the sight of the Freedom Tower in the background. He remembered a Christmas trip to New York in 1997, when he was 10 years old and couldn’t believe we thought this was a fitting successor to the Twin Towers: “I never forget the ‘sea of lights’ that I saw from the window of the airplane, arriving in New York City (for the first time) at night!! New York City!! Back then NY was like a legend to me!! Manhattan was the heart of America!! The Twins were mesmerizing…especially at night. When I see films like Armageddon and Home Alone 2, I don’t know how to explain exactly how I feel…NY was just better back then.”
It is a mystery how anyone can look at the diminished skyline, with only a building shaped like a tombstone standing in place of the stupendous Twins, and really think the WTC is better now or ever could be. As we posted on the Twin Towers Journal last week, the New York Post published the results of a poll they did on the front page of the July 14, 2002, Sunday paper. The timing coincided with the “Listening to the City” rebuilding events that were staged to make it appear that officials really cared about public opinion.
The cover revealed that “Half of New York wants the Twin Towers REBUILT.” Less than half a year after the attacks, most people wanted new Twin Towers, while the rest of the sampling was divided over a number of different options. But as Philip Nobel, the author of “Sixteen Acres” wrote, “Though it would always run at least 50 percent in scientific polls (online it did much better,) the idea of replacing the Twins never really had a fair trial…”
So why was that? If the funereal tower across the river from Liberty National Golf Course honestly were the result of what the people wanted — especially since it was the public that has paid and is still paying to rebuild — it wouldn’t be such an offense. But, as with so much else at the WTC, it was the result of brazen abuse of power and scheming. The Twin Towers were stolen by officials who took an oath of office and by those who call the tune we all are supposed to dance to.
If a group of elites can scheme to cheat the people out of a national treasure, while the media reinforces their BS, what does that say about us — and what does it portend for our future? Are we really better off than the citizens of Russia and China and Venezuela? At least they don’t think they are in charge of those authoritarian regimes.
We got a one sentence email tonight from a long-time supporter who asked: “Have we lost?” Do we believe a 21st-century version of the Yamasaki Twin Towers be built at Ground Zero? It still could be but that is extremely unlikely — because it would require dismantling WTC 4 and making huge modifications to the hub. But can more slender Twin Towers, taller than the Freedom Tower, rise in place of WTC2 and 3? Absolutely!
In the Penn and Teller Ground Zero segment of their BS hit series, they have a clip of George Pataki claiming that the chosen plan was born out of tragedy and then forged in democracy. He would have to be insane to believe that. But 12 years after 9/11 he is still getting away with his schtick. He says it knowing it is not true. And so do many, many others.
We reported Bin Laden’s goal in the 5/11/13 bulletin. When asked, in 1997, what he hoped to accomplish he answered: “I pray to God that he will permit us to turn the United States into a shadow of itself.” Is it what we build at Ground Zero that will determine whether or not we’ve lost? Or will that be determined by whether or not we let those who have paved the so-called World Trade Center with their lies get away with cheating swindling the American people?
7/31/2013— “Bring Back The Wonder…”
Each new comment that is left on our petition is a small miracle — especially as a happy ending at Ground Zero seems less and less likely. We imagine the signer first finding the website, deciding to stop whatever he or she is doing to compose a comment, and then taking the time to add it to the others. We rarely shine a light on any of them in particular, because we value each one, but this comment left yesterday by a young man in the UK is amazing:
I was 1 when the world lost two friends, 110 floors of beauty and wonder capped by windows on the world. The place that was, a critic wrote, so high all worries were invisible. Due to evil he was proved wrong. Every design feature of freedom one is influenced by terrorists. The twin towers are free, fabulous, and fantastic, so incredible that they completed planet earth and turned it into a safe space. Evil stopped wonder, rebuild the World Trade Center.
We hear from so many young people who can’t remember the Twin Towers first-hand, yet have a vivid sense of how superior they were to what is being built in their place and what a loss it would be for the whole world if they are not rebuilt. Thank you, Will Lupson, for taking the time to share your point of view. We completely agree that planet earth is incomplete without them. Perhaps that is why dozens of twin towers have been built all over the world since 2001. We think your somewhat “cosmic” take on things is really quite down to earth. The TTA homepage will soon explain how we believe we can still bring back the wonder.
6/17/2013— “Why Bother…?”
A long-time supporter, Dave Kelly, who was a mainstay at Team Twin Towers, brought the following video to our attention. The lament over the wanton destruction of Pennsylvania Station and the struggle to prevent the wanton abandonment of the Twin Towers were best captured toward the end of the short and haunting piece in the remarks of architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable.
Ms. Huxtable’s observations of what it is that makes a city apply just as aptly to what it is that makes a country:
“What was gained [as a consequence of the demolition of Penn Station] was an enormous groundswell — a popular groundswell — for preservation — that not everything was expendable — and that some things were worth the struggle — that you had to find uses, you had to find ways to keep the character, the quality, and the continuity of a city.
“It went far beyond, actually, losing a station. It really was a sense of what is the city and how do you have that resonance, really, that you get from the past that makes a city rich and real, and a rewarding place to be — that isn’t sterile — that isn’t a product of building by the bottom line, which, of course, so much construction is.”
6/9/2013 — “Facebookitis…”
The TTA never really got into the Facebook fad because it seems like a waste of time that could be better spent. It may be a good way for people to keep their personal friends up-to-date, but for an organization, it is time-consuming and redundant. We encourage supporters who want to be notified when there is a new Bulletin or other posting to follow us on Twitter.
We’ve removed the links to a couple of Twin Towers Facebook groups that were posted above. While the groups’ supporters obviously care about new Twin Towers, the sites are often hot-beds for speculation and rumors that have no basis in fact. We asked the owner of one group that uses our name to change it to something else, but got no response. Then, when we became aware earlier this week of a petition on change.org that is presented as if it is coming from the Twin Towers Alliance we decided to remove the links altogether.
We appreciate the resolve and enthusiasm of those who are dedicated to seeing the Twin Towers rise again. The comments that have been left on the petition during the past week are incredibly moving and are a good example of how widely and deeply that sentiment goes. That is why we take maintaining the integrity of this effort so seriously.
5/11/2013 — “The Symbol of A Diminished Nation…”
Celebrating a building that is smaller than one Twin Tower as if it is a triumph is deluded. Claiming that a building almost a hundred feet shorter than the Willis Tower in Chicago is the tallest building in the hemisphere is pathetic. Pretending that jazzing up the antenna will raise the building’s height to 1776 feet is embarrassing. Deceiving the public and the workers who built this tower is criminal.
On September 10, 2001, we had a world-class landmark — one of the greatest — and now, supposedly, the Twin Towers have been replaced by one obelisk-shaped tower of precisely the same roof-height but much less floor-space. The leaseholder, Silverstein Properties, was obligated to build the tower, which was taken over by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the public is bearing that massive cost instead. Meanwhile, a man who couldn’t perform on his contract, received billions in insurance funds with little to show for it.
That tower and the only other tower being built on the property are stuffed with government occupants and two heavily subsidized tenants. The other two towers are at this point figments of someone’s imagination. One may never be built and, if the other one is, it will again require massive infusions of public funds. We have been asking for years for the accounting to which the public is due. What is holding it up?
Earlier this week, the Huffington Post ran an article that quoted Bin Laden as saying in 1997, “I pray to God that he will permit us to turn the United States into a shadow of itself.” We don’t give him the credit for it, but something has drastically diminished our once-great nation. Whether we can regain our stature or are in a permanent decline depends on whether we keep letting officials make fools of us.
The gimmicky of the spire and its colored lights can’t disguise the true symbolism of this tower — and the rest of the site. We’ve lost the will to be great — and even worse, we’ve lost the will to be truthful. That’s hardly symbolic of our nation’s independence.
5/2/2013 — “A Sad Spectacle…”
We could not say it better than a commenter in today’s Daily News on the hoisting of the Freedom Tower spire:
“So an antenna is what makes this thing the tallest building in the hemishpere? So if I wear a really tall hat does that make me taller? It is an embarrassment that 1 shorter building is replacing 2 taller buildings and we are supposed to be amazed at this mockery. When did we become people that applauded mediocrity? When will the sheeple see what is really going on?”
What we will add is that it is especially sad to see how officials have lied to the people who put their hearts and souls into constructing this tower. Everything about the process has been an offense against common decency.
4/4/2013 — “A Bigger Purpose…”
Forty years ago today the Twin Towers were dedicated. As their architect, Minoru Yamasaki, explained: “World trade means world peace and consequently the World Trade Center buildings in New York…had a bigger purpose than just to provide room for tenants.”
Clearly, that is no longer true. It remains to be seen whether or not the antenna will qualify as a spire and raise the tower’s statistical height to 1776 feet, but it is smaller than the originals in every other respect.
3/25/2013 — “There He Goes Again…”
Last Sunday, Michael Bloomberg appeared on “Meet the Press” to advance his gun control agenda. The reason we mention that here is because it was vintage Bloomberg. While this site is focussed on only one issue — upholding the democratic process at Ground Zero because of all the sacrifice it represents — this clip is a good example of Bloomberg in action.
First, he casts himself in the role of deliverer by stating, in his dry, matter-of-fact way, something that is not a fact, but just his opinion. He then goes on to suggest that he is spending his money to level the field. Claiming to be giving a voice to the voiceless, he does the opposite instead.
He begins by framing the matter in terms upon which everyone will agree. In this case, when asked if he would use his money to target political opponents of his gun-control views, he said he thinks that he, and everyone else, have a responsibility to do what they can do to make the country safer — as if those who oppose his methods don’t want that, too.
He then goes on to justify spending millions on an agenda by misrepresenting the facts in a material way. Here he states that he has an obligation to take the NRA from being the “only voice to being one of the voices” — “so the public can really understand the issues.” But anyone, on either side of this particular issue, knows that there are lots of voices speaking, shouting, and writing their opinions so why base his activism on a lie?
He doesn’t want the public to understand the issues in this case anymore than he has ever wanted them to understand the issues at Ground Zero. The way he has prevented the 9/11 families from cosidering the final resting place of the unidentified remains as a bloc by fighting the matter in court is more his style. Over and over and over again, he has subverted the democratic process to serve whatever ends he thinks matter by marginalizing and belittling those who don’t share his opinions.
And then, as usual, he cloaks himself as the Defender of Democracy. On Sunday, Mr. Bloomberg explained: “If 90% of the public wants something, and their representatives vote against that, commonsense says they are going to have a price to pay for that. The public is going to eventually wake up and say ‘I want to put in office somebody that will do the things that I think are necessary for this country. That’s what democracy is all about.’”
But it never mattered to him that, from the start, most Americans supported rebuilding the Twin Towers, while he did everything to thwart it. Looking back over letters we wrote to the mayor in 2009, which a chief aide assured us he had seen, we made sure to mention the MSNBC poll. Apparently, 90% of the people matter when the agree with him and couldn’t matter less when they do not.
He can’t be that cynical, so he must be deluding himself. But even though he presumably has no more elections ahead of him, we do think there will be a reckoning and a price to pay for the way he has cheated the people out of new Twin Towers and the American Renaissance they would inspire.
3/23/2013 — “As Clear As Mud…”
A report on the World Trade Center Observatory, slated to open in 2015, included the information that an outside observation deck had been studied and deemed “not feasible,” according to Executive Director Patrick Foye.
That prompted us to file a Freedom of Information request for documentation of that study, noting that the information was hard to understand. It’s no secret that the Tower Two observation deck was easily the most popular and memorable experience visitors to the original World Trade Center enjoyed and remember to this day.
Not everyone got to “Windows on the World,” but most of us made it to “The Top…” at least once. We observed that no high-tech indoor experience could possibly match it. And then concluded by asking what advantage could there be in denying the public the one pleasure that would make it seem like a real World Trade Center?
And what would explain the reasoning behind leaving the Empire State Building with the highest outdoor observatory in the city? We keep hearing that the project’s economics make sense, but this is one more example of how illogical all the decisions have been. They could not have made more of a mess if that was their goal. That’s what comes of letting politicians do as they please.
New York lost two remarkable men in the past week. They were men who had a lot in common. Mayor Ed Koch and Mr. WTC, Guy Tozzoli, both loved New York City as much as anyone could. Both were people-people. They both took on monumental tasks and succeeded. Both refused to give in to their own or others’ fears. And they both wanted to see new Twin Towers rise again.
Richard Hughes of the Twin Towers Alliance made this statement at the Port Authority Board meeting on Wednesday, February 6th:
“In less than a week, the New York City area has lost two giants. On Friday, former mayor Ed Koch died. And on [Saturday], Guy Tozzoli, formerly of the Port Authority, also died. Both were men of vision.
“Ed Koch had the vision to see how New York City could be saved when everybody else thought New York was lost.
“Guy Tozzoli was a man of multiple visions. He helped Robert Moses create the  New York World’s Fair, he created the legendary and iconic Twin Towers when he was here at the Port Authority, he made Battery Park City possible, and he went on to create the World Trade Center movement, which has grown to [over 300] members around the world.
“Guy Tozzoli’s motto for the World Trade Center Association was ‘Peace and Stability through Trade.’ This has been changed, idiotically, by his successor simply to ‘prosperity through trade,’ which is a little like saying ‘pregnancy through sex.’ It’s pretty obvious the two have a connection.
“Guy Tozzoli’s point was much more profound. Of course world trade can produce prosperity. But, more importantly, it can also produce peace and stability. World trade has done more for peace than all the world’s diplomats put together.
“That’s why there were Twin Towers in Guy Tozzoli’s World Trade Center. Far from being the arrogant projection of power, they were symbols of fraternity as well as equality, of cooperation between equals.
“Both Ed Koch and Guy Tozzoli were supporters of our efforts at the Twin Towers Alliance. Both wanted to see the Twin Towers rebuilt. ‘Rebuild them exactly as they were,’ Ed Koch said.
“Guy Tozzoli even went so far as to display Ken Gardner’s ten-foot-tall model of reimagined and re-engineered Twin Towers outside his office. He invited your former executive director, Christopher Ward, to come have a look at it. This was a time when Ground Zero was still pretty much a hole in the ground and we had demonstrated to Ward how Gardner’s plan would save both time and money, as well as be the popular thing to do.
“Ward said he would come see Guy Tozzoli and the model. On several occasions he said he would be right over. But he never went. Instead he put the construction of the ill-conceived and ridiculously expensive Freedom Tower on steroids.
“In the past five days we’ve lost two great leaders, two giant visionaries, who, each in his own way, helped to save New York in its darkest days, restored its faith in itself, and put it on the path to recovery and greatness.
“We have no great leaders anymore — either in this agency or in City Hall. What a tragedy for all of us.”
Granted, theirs’ were tough acts to follow — but what is pitiful is that no one even tries.
David Dunlap reported in the New York Timesthat 70 feet below the surface the museum filled with nearly seven feet of water. A statement by Memorial President Joe Daniels regarding the damage resulted in the following bristling comment by Michael Burke, a prominent 9/11 family member.
Burke’s observations were posted on the 9/11 List-Serv Google Group that has informed the 9/11 community since the attacks:
We could have no greater proof of the futility of constructing an underground museum hundreds of feet below sea level at one of the most vulnerable spots in all of NYC to flooding.
For years families told LMDC officials that the museum belonged above ground, on the plaza.
The well paid political hacks, um, appointees ignored us and placed hallow[ed], irreplaceable artifacts, including the iconic WTC Cross and fire trucks, including my brother’s, Engine 21, at bedrock. The other truck stored at bedrock was Ladder 3 on which twelve men, all of whom perished 9/11, rode down to the site on.
Daniels email is an obtuse masterpiece of evasion: “The Museum’s collection is largely stored offsite and we are reviewing the condition of these items to assess any impacts and ensure their care.”
What is the “collection” and where are they stored? Where is “offsite?” Why does their “condition,” if “offsite” demand an assessment of “any impacts” and their care ensured?
What does “impact” mean? What specifically is the condition of the fire trucks and the WTC Cross?
Can you imagine if the museum had been completed or nearly so and all the irreplaceable artifacts – many family contributions – were already there? In the middle of the “serious flooding at foundation level?”
As reported by the New York Times, engineers have for years warned NYC officials of the threat of flooding to its underground infrastructure.
How could this not have been part of the planning of the underground museum? They spent a billion dollars on the museum and only discovered this after the flood?
Now imagine if the sacred human remains were at bedrock — as the Foundation insists. In the middle of that “serious” flooding.
This storm and flood DEMAND the memorial Foundation abandon their plan to place human remains at bedrock. There is no other choice. In fact, the Ground Zero flood demands the entire underground museum concept receive serious reconsideration.
In response to Super Storm Sandy Gov. Cuomo has called for “rebuilding smarter.” That starts at Ground Zero.
Michael Burke, brother, Capt. William F. Burke, Jr., Eng. Co. 21, FDNY
It is no exaggeration to say that nothing officials have done at Ground Zero has been worthy, sensible, affordable, practical, or admirable. The recognition of how close we came to seeing all the artifacts and precious memorabilia destroyed is horrifying. If the museum had opened on schedule there would be nothing left! The loss would have been so staggering it is hard to imagine — especially because it would have been so unnecessary.
We lost so much on September 11, 2001. And now nature has delivered another terribly savage blow. But the enormity of what arrogant, reckless, headstrong politicians and their cohort have inflicted on the rest of us at Ground Zero is hard to fathom. Corrupt officials wasted billions of public dollars rebuilding dumber, with the indispensible assistance of a decaying press.
In a clip of Governor Cuomo touring Ground Zero with Anderson Cooper the Governor said that he believes “we don’t just rebuild, we rebuild better. And that’s what this site is all about, and that’s what New York is all about.”
Of course he has to talk it up, but does anyone seriously think that if it had been up to Andrew Cuomo he would have chosen the extravagantly mediocre jumble downtown over newer, even more extraordinary Twin Towers? Does anyone honestly think the current project will ever come close to the magical, inspiring, remarkable, breathtaking Twins?
10/31/2012 — “Nature’s Terrorism…”
The devastation and punishment inflicted by Hurricane Sandy on the Mid-Atlantic states is horrifying. The blow to Lower Manhattan is especially painful. Thank God it wasn’t even worse. But unlike the flooded basements, crippled subways, electrical outages, and structural damage done by the Frankenstorm, the massive damage done to the World Trade Center was not the inevitable result of nature’s fury, but, rather, the by-product of human folly and abuse of the public’s trust.
Details are still sketchy, but it seems likely that much of the WTC’s electrical systems were fried. Once Con Ed proactively shutdown the power in Lower Manhattan before the storm hit, the Freedom Tower was the only bright object in the skyline and now it is black.
It is awful that the Port Authority’s airports and PATH system took such a terrible, unavoidable hit. But why didn’t the the geniuses who brought us the World Trade Center-lite use some of the billions spent on infrastructure to better protect the public’s investment just yards from the Hudson River? If they had taken the threat nature’s terrorism more seriously and better prepared using today’s cutting-edge technology, the money that will now be spent recovering could have been spent on shoring up our asset instead.
Officials still seem to think that all they have to do is stonewall long enough at the WTC and their actions and methods will escape scrutiny. They think they can avoid answering for their bad faith and bad judgment. We think they are wrong about that. Just this month, the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal includes an expose by Nicole Gelinas on the consequences of the mismanagement and incompetence at the WTC entitled “The Port Authority’s Cloudy Future.”
It becomes clearer all the time that the PA’s days of misrepresenting the facts and avoiding accountability are numbered.
9/25/2012 — “Just Saying…”
After almost two years, the LMDC response to the TTA’s January 3, 2011, request for evidence backing up the claims of a direct connection between the “open and inclusive process” and the project that is being built, has finally established that there was none.
In one of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp’s earliest planning documents, the pledge to make decisions based upon the findings of an inclusive and open public process topped the list. In two recent visits to the LMDC offices across from Ground Zero, we spent hours pouring over reams of evidence that showed how much the thousands of people who took part in the various forums thought their input mattered.
But the agency could not produce a single report that had converted the raw data into a form upon which officials could possibly have based their decisions. A connection between the public’s input and the official plan doesn’t exist. George Pataki’s pretext for the entire project was a lie. Billions of public dollars were misappropriated and squandered by the officials we trusted to guide our recovery.
That is not news to people who have been following the sordid history of Ground Zero. A 2005 review in the New York Press revealed:
There’s a moment in Philip Nobel’s new book, Sixteen Acres: Architecture and the Outrageous Struggle for the Future of Ground Zero, when a participant at one of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s “Listening to the City” forums back in 2002 vents his frustration.”This is the story of a thousand people drinking Shirley Temples and smoking candy cigarettes, and they all think they’re in the back room with their scotch and cigars,” the participant says.
It was true—the public never got anywhere near the cigar smoke in the back room. Though for many the Ground Zero rebuilding effort exuded the quaint impression of a grassroots, democratic process in the heart of a grief-stricken Big Apple, Nobel’s book, together with other recent examinations, reveals the degree to which the process was manipulated by big money interests and a powerful governor on an election-year time table who dealt from a stacked deck.
But now, what has only been speculation is established fact. The time and effort of the many who responded to the invitation to be a meaningful part of the selection process were used as props in a giant scam. If the LMDC could have produced a single document to show a good faith effort on the part of the LMDC to present a comprehensive report on the public input to the Governor, Mayor, and the LMDC’s own officials before the ultimate decision was made, it had to be produced in response to the FOIL request. We were assured that they produced everything that was responsive to the request. Nothing further exists.
West’s Encyclopedia of Law defines fraud as: “A false representation of a matter of fact—whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of what should have been disclosed—that deceives and is intended to deceive another so that the individual will act upon it to her or his legal injury…”
That pretty much sums it up.
9/22/2012 — “What the People Want…?”
9/11/2012 — “Fooling Ourselves…”
In New York, we are warned against buying counterfeit goods from street vendors because their proceeds help finance the terrorist underground. Meanwhile, we are being sold a counterfeit World Trade Center and are not supposed to notice it’s not even a good designer knock-off.
The swindle at Ground Zero gives a far bigger boost to terrorist networks than the street scammers ever could. Worse, it has cheated the public out of not only billions of dollars but true national healing… Read our full 11th Anniversary commentary on The Twin Towers Journal.
8/18/2012 Revised — “Less Is NOT More…”
At Ground Zero, less is merely less. The pastel skies and luminous skyscrapers in the new WTC renderings released by the Port Authority and Durst Corporation last week can’t hide the obvious — the skyline is a shadow of what it once was. Back in June, when officials signed a beam for the top of the Freedom Tower, President Obama wrote: “We remember,” ”We rebuild” and “We come back stronger!” It would be good to know in what way he believes we have come back stronger – where’s the evidence?
We certainly should have and could have come back stronger. The Mars landing reminded us that we can do anything we set our minds and hearts to. So what happened? How were the people robbed of the World Trade Center we deserved? Discovering and exposing that is what took the TTA from grassroots advocacy into its role as an acknowledged and relentless watchdog of the Port Authority, government officials, and the media. As one reporter said to us recently, “You guys are doing the job we’re supposed to do.”
To be clear, we are not suggesting that it is too late to rebuild the Twin Towers on the site. Of course it’s not too late – it gets more complicated all the time, but not like landing on Mars. It’s not beyond us as a people. It’s simply a matter of establishing what it would be worth to us. Incredibly, that has never been discussed and explored — and until it is, it cannot be too late.
That is why we have spent so much energy in the past few years uncovering the rampant abuse of power that deprived the country of spectacular new Twin Towers – because as far as we’re concerned the ignoble and illegitimate process that gave us the current project makes rebuilding them worth any price.
It is hard to imagine that if people were fully informed of what has taken place they would be willing to accept the result. But even if they could live with the current towers, there is room for much improvement in the towers that have not been built. There is nowhere to build a second Freedom Tower that would restore the savaged skyline.
The idea of building another Freedom Tower to the east of the first one would put it on top of the subway station — and then it would be a big so what? It would be Twin Towers the way tofurkey is turkey. But there is nothing structurally speaking to prevent the twinning of WTC 2 and 3.
There is little doubt that narrower, taller twin towers — taller than the Freedom Tower — as tall as the foundations will allow, but definitely a good deal taller than the Freedom Tower — would provide the interest that has been totally lacking in the project so far. But that is just a worst case scenario and we are still committed to the best case — because at the World Trade Center only the best is good enough.
7/17/2012 — “Palliative Care or Malpractice…?”
Rem Koolhaas is not only one of the most celebrated architects in the world, he is the world’s leading architectural theorist. His manifesto, Delirious New York, has become a classic. But instead of competing, in 2002, to design the new World Trade Center, the Dutch visionary chose instead to design “one massive, monumental, contrarian, and controversial building” in China. “Architect Rem Koolhaas and the Next World Wonder” — explaining that choice in the current Newsweek — was a revelation:
“At that moment in 2002, Koolhaas himself had to make a pivotal decision. New York’s World Trade Center, which he regarded as ‘incredibly beautiful’ and ‘the one building that lifted New York on a different plane,’ had been destroyed by terrorists. America was traumatized, and many of the world’s great architects were competing to design a new, palliative tower on the site of the wreckage. Koolhaas did not take part. He wasn’t sure it was a job for someone who was not from the United States, but he was sure the shifting politics and parameters around the project would be extremely difficult…”
Rem Koolhaas is right. The Twin Towers were not only incredibly beautiful, they really did put New York on a different plane. Sadly, he was also right about the politics that would bedevil any rebuilding effort. What he said has indeed come to pass. And instead of having a beautiful new World Trade Center that elevates New York to a different plane, we have a project of such mediocrity it inspires no one and has become a poster child for all that is dysfunctional in our politics and our culture.
It could have been so different. But then everything that could go wrong did go wrong. One of the most egregious players in the rebuilding farce was the architectural critic Paul Goldberger. We have given Mr. Goldberger his due elsewhere on our site, but he cannot be forgiven for misrepresenting how popular building new Twin Towers was with the general public. Like so many intellectuals, he has no faith in democracy and certainly no use for the hoi polloi, but it’s the hoi polloi who are being asked to pay for the mess he and his fellow elitists created at the new WTC.
The pejorative way the Twin Towers were commonly described in the press — the suppress is much more like it — was a key part of the swindle at Ground Zero. To his credit, Mr. Goldberger is no fan of the current project. But it was his willful distortion of the facts that contributed to the present disastrous situation. Perhaps if Mr. Goldberger had listened to his architectural superiors, people like Rem Koolhaas and Herbert Muschamp, he would have something to cheer about instead of lament.
But like so many others in positions of influence after 9/11, including Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg, his selective facts undermined the supposedly democratic process which they loudly proclaimed would guide the rebuilding effort and effectively guaranteed that the popular will was subverted. Of course, that’s what elitists do.
The fact is, Mr. Goldberger didn’t tell the truth — he shaded it. Note to the Pulitzer Prize committee, which awarded Paul Goldberger a much undeserved Pulitzer: it should be revoked.
In his 2004 account of the early rebuilding saga, “Up from Zero: Politics, Architecture, and the Rebuilding of New York,” Goldberger twice described those who wanted to rebuild the Twin Towers as a “small but vocal cadre…” How can using such specific phrase twice in one volume be anything but intentionally misleading? Where was the reference to the New York Post’s frontpage poll results in July of 2002, that “Half of New York Wants the Twin Towers Rebuilt?”
That was less than a year after the attacks and none of the other responses approached the popularity of new Twin Towers. But the author of what is presumed to be the definitive factual report on the rebuilding of the World Trade Center ignored half of New York — and at least as many Americans — when he “fudged the books”, “stacked the deck”, and fixed the race between fact and fiction at Ground Zero.
Again, in May, 2005, he misled the public when he was quoted on CNN.com as saying: “It’s possible to rebuild some version of the original Twin Towers. But why would anyone want to? They were not particularly beloved buildings…” It’s too bad the press can’t be sued for malpractice. But at least those who misuse their positions of authority can be exposed.
The truth obviously hasn’t counted for much in the rebuilding process, but hopefully it still has a lot of pull when it comes to the Pulitzer Prize. Certainly, the far more probing “SIXTEEN ACRES — Architecture and the Outrageous Struggle for the Future of Ground Zero,” which was published the same year, would be a much worthier account.
Mr. Goldberger could have singlehandedly changed the entire dynamic by simply reporting both sides of the issue. But he didn’t trust the people with the truth, and is as much to blame as anyone for the Twin Towers’ pitiful replacement. Does the image above show the “new, palliative tower on the site of the wreckage” to which the Koolhaas piece refers?
It was an interesting choice of words. The word palliative, from the Latin “to cloak” indicates “treatment that is intended to reduce the severity of symptoms or improve the quality of a patient’s life, but that does not serve to halt or cure a disease.” For those who remember what we lost, it should be clear that after all these years these two random towers achieve neither.
6/16/2012 — “The Barry Bonds of Buildings…?”
That would give the Freedom Tower too much credit, because Bonds was a very talented player. But what good are records that can’t be trusted? The tower may have its good points — for $4 billion of tax-payer and toll-payer money it would be hard not to — but the building only got where it is through devious, performance-enhancing hype. Does anyone still look up to Barry Bonds — or think that those who exposed his steroid use were spoil-sports?
On Flag Day, Pesident and Mrs. Obama joined the Governors of New York and New Jersey and the Mayor of New York City, for a ceremony as the tower gets near to topping out. “We couldn’t be prouder of you guys,” the President told the workers. “This is what the American spirit is all about.” But what did he mean by this?
If he was referring to a generic tower that presumes to replace landmark towers by a campaign of deceiving the public — that is certainly not what the American spirit is all about. But if he was referring to the workers idealism and dedication — absolutely true. And that’s what makes the whole thing especially bad. And what makes it so similar to the baseball doping scandal.
Kids’ hearts were broken all over the country when they learned about Barry Bonds and the others who compromised America’s Favorite Pastime — and that includes the grown-up kids. At least baseball management and even Congress took a hard-line and went through the motions of getting to the bottom of it. But when it comes to cheating the American people out of a real World Trade Center, officials look the other way — and we can’t let them get away with it.
There is a PR offensive underway to get the public to stop thinking of the WTC site as “Ground Zero” — but what better way is there to refer to the place where we lost so much and then were robbed of the recovery the people wanted and deserved?
6/9/2012 — “Risky Business…”
Now that the Twin Towers Journal is focussing on WTC-related events on a weekly basis there are fewer bulletins, but we want to share something that wouldn’t fit into that format and very much fits here. Yesterday’s New York Times included a column entitled “Miracles in the Clouds” celebrating the birthdays of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Seattle Space Needle. There are obvious correlations between the two and the intrepid spirit that built the World Trade Center, but there is also one that is not obvious and worth mentioning.
When Guy Tozzoli, the man who birthed the Twin Towers, was a senior engineer at the Port Authority, New York’s master builder, the great Robert Moses asked the (also great) head of the Port Authority, Austin Tobin, to loan Mr. Tozzoli to the 1964 World’s Fair. Mr. Moses sent Mr. Tozzoli to the Seattle World’s Fair to scope it out in advance of the fair in New York and it was there that Minoru Yamasaki’s work made such an impression on him. So there is a close connection between the Space Needle, which was the emblem of that fair, and the Twin Towers, which were the result of the Yamasaki/Tozzoli collaboration.
The New York Times piece concluded: “The Space Needle and the Golden Gate Bridge are physical embodiments of the American Century. A nation badly wounded by the Depression would not lie on its back, nor would a country whose citizens were going underground, to build bomb shelters, refuse to reach for the sky. We live in troubled times with toxic politics and a prevailing sense that nothing can get done. On certain birthdays, it’s good to remember that it wasn’t always so.”
Later in the day, native New Yorker and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell appeared on the “Dylan Ratigan Show” to promote his book, “A Nation of Wusses — How America’s Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great.” The entire interview is well worth watching, whether one agrees with his politics or not. But the clip below isolates the central challenge that we as a nation need to face. Gov. Rendell put his finger on the source of our problems when he observed, “We were the original risk-takers. At every point in our history, Americans challenged the conventional wisdom and we did great things.” He concluded: “We did things and we did them fearlessly. And we’ve lost all of that. We’ve become risk averse and part of it is the fault of We the People…”
In the context of the World Trade Center and the Homeland Security nightmare that has disfigured our country, that systemic risk aversion makes us look as if we are terrorized — a nation of wusses. We don’t think that’s true of most people, but many officials and many in the media seem to be — which is especially dangerous because they can be so terribly effective at promoting a distorted view of reality. For instance, the way the acclaimed Ric Burns documentary on New York dealt with the WTC is a perfect example of a selective rewriting of history. It was actually a frontal attack on the truth that featured people who had reasons of their own for talking down the Twin Towers, while not including a single word from those who loved what the Twins stood for — or any mention of the public’s strong support for their return to the skyline. So millions of people got a distorted picture. Why didn’t they present both angles and let people sort it out for themselves? Too risky?
For many, the media’s prime value is not information but propaganda — how to undermine and hammer the opposition. As long as Democrats demonize Republicans and vice versa, we as a nation won’t just be “stuck on stupid” — we will be stuck on suicidal. As we have written before, George Washington was more concerned about partisanship destroying us from within than any other threat. Different points of view are essential to a strong and rich nation and those who forget there are two sides to every coin, who revile those they don’t agree with, threaten the character and destiny of the nation that was dedicated to unity, not hegemony.
That makes the monolithic Freedom Tower such an appropriate symbol for a divided country, where fanatics on each side want to demolish the credibility and contribution of the other — and impose what they can’t inspire into being. But the Twin Towers will always be symbolic of the cooperation that Mr. Yamasaki wrote into the DNA of his towers and that was at the heart of the organization Mr. Tozzoli founded, with the Twin Towers as its flagship. Today, the World Trade Centers Association has over 300 Trade Centers around the world and its ideals led to his being nominated more than once for the Nobel Peace Prize. When Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk worked out the transitional constitution that led to the South African Government of National Unity, they met in the Johannesberg World Trade Center. The WTCA has served that purpose over and over again. The Twin Towers were the emblem of a great ideal.
Now, risk aversion is crippling our country and has deformed the World Trade Center. Ground Zero is the product not of people who were understandably traumatized by the horror of 9/11, but who still wanted to overcome their fears, but of the politicians who were afraid that doing the right thing, the natural thing, the respectful thing, the American thing might bring on another attack and the end of their “public service.” And it is the result of letting those who had a financial stake in the property and didn’t want to build towers that they feared would stand empty call the shots. They were not the chief stakeholders and their fears should not have driven the process. If the people had had their say, today’s World Trade Center would be dramatically different. We were robbed.
Once again: If men and women can race into burning buildings to save innocents and strangers, isn’t standing on principle to save our country the least the rest of us can do? The recent Memorial Day was the sixth anniversary of the day we spent visiting dozens of fire houses and police precincts all over the city. We wanted to see for ourselves what first-responders really thought about rebuilding the Twin Towers. What we heard at our last stop — even though they already had been convinced it was too late — put what we learned throughout the day into words: “There is nothing the guys upstairs would love better.”
A blog in yesterday’s New York Times “A Close Bond and the Unending Toll of 9/11 was a reminder of that day back in May, 2006. We began the report of our Memorial Day encounters with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt: “I think there is only one quality worse than hardness of heart, and that is softness of head” — and we added to that “smallness of spirit, which is what is behind the measly ‘Freedom Tower’ and all the attempts to ram it down our throats.”
Now, it may be massive, but it’s still measly in spirit, because it stands for the profit motive and/or power motive of those who used disinformation and manipulation to deny the public a real recovery. That was not their right — and all they created is a colossal turn-off. There are still only two private tenants at the site, where, if Americans’ natural buoyancy and optimism had been allowed to flourish, would have resulted in the most inspiring and attractive development in the world.
We haven’t given up on the World Trade Center — far from it. We are working hard to finish the “Swindle At Ground Zero” because when officials see all that we have documented of how wrong the process has been from start to finish, we can’t imagine how anyone would want to be associated with the result — or could fail to see how it would transform our nation to transform Ground Zero.
5/10/2012 — “It’s About Time…”
All we can say is:Yay, Star-Ledger! for doing what the New York press has failed to do — air valid WTC concerns so that they can be judged on the merits. If only the media had been loyal to the public from Day One, and done their homework, we would almost certainly be looking at a very different World Trade Center today.
For the past seven years we have been reacting to the official misconduct that has been there in plain sight and trying to understand why the media did not do the same. It is as if there were an industry-wide understanding of the “WTC subjects and criticisms we wil discuss” and those that are “verboten.”
Such enormous damage has been done that could have been avoided by examining the public’s concerns, discrediting something if it were found to have no merit, while giving credence to what did. If only the media had behaved like watchdogs instead of lapdogs. After all, that’s what they are paid to do — citizens aren’t. But someone had to do it.
As we have been saying for a very long time, there are fatal flaws in the current plan that cannot be overcome and will keep compounding. That is what gave us the summer’s massive toll hikes and that is what will eventually bring the politicians who protect the wrongdoing down.
Those who have been mindlessly pushing or protecting something that cannot be defended need to own up to that. Most are just going along with it — they didn’t engineer it. But we have long wondered how those who are responsible for the massive scam ever thought they would get away with it. The writing is on the wall: They won’t!
Thank you to the public servants at The Star-Ledger for taking your mission to heart. More power to you.
5/9/2012 — “Appealing News…”
Yesterday began with a very pleasant surprise — a call from an attorney at a prominent agency, who informed us that the judge’s decision in the suit we filed last November, had been published in the New York Law Journal and chosen as a “Decision of Interest. We have been so busy with emerging matters that when we received the decision last week upholding the FOIL decision denying us access to the documents we had originally sued for, we set it aside until there was more time to think about the appeal. We have until May 24th to file the Notice of Appeal. So it was especially encouraging when she asked if we were going to appeal and was very strongly approving to hear that we will. We can’t discuss more than that here, but were delighted to hear that we were so prominently recognized and that there are very strong grounds for a successful appeal.
5/7/2012 — “Whomp…!”
“I FINALLY get it, why the national 9/11 Memorial doesn’t work. And why, ultimately, the rebuilt site will be a disappointment. They are soulless.” That is how an astonishingly potent editorial in the New Jersey Record begins. One of the reasons we started The Twin Towers Alliance Journal was to have somewhere to gather together the most news items most relevant to the public interest at the WTC. But we are linking to this one here as well. The Sphere belongs at Ground Zero is an important piece, and no one should miss it. We hope it will get the maximum visibility because it really hits Goliath right between the eyes.
The piece was written by someone who thought the Twin Towers were soulless as well. So Margaret Donovan, posted a comment to the editorial, for The Twin Towers Alliance, adding the following perspective:
“This is an extraordinary editorial. I hope the paper submits it for a Pulitzer because it has real power. It is poetry as much as it is commentary.
“The sterile theme park quality has offended and depressed us at the Twin Towers Alliance for years. But I cannot agree with Mr. Doblin’s characterization of the Twin Towers — not because he isn’t entitled to his opinion — but because I experienced how ensouled the Towers were.
“This is not hindsight. In the decades I have lived and worked all over the city, the Twin Towers were the only place I ever worked that I could hardly wait to enter in the morning and that a part of me regretted leaving at the end of the day. There was a magic about them — they were anything but soulless for me.
“When I worked high in the Empire State Building, I would say that the best part of each day was when the Towers cheered and did a dance to the setting sun. After being away from the city, the Twin Towers always shouted “Welcome Home!” And when one had disappeared and the other stood, I felt bereaved, not for a building, but for a friend. I am certainly not equating their loss with the lives that were stolen, but they were part of us — an important part.
“But there was something else. They had another dimension — a tranquility that not everyone felt, but I wasn’t the only one who did. In 2006, I wrote an essay entitled ‘Western Buddhas’ and suggested that the Twin Towers, which were destroyed six months after the Taliban demolished the giant Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan, were in a sense sentinels of peace, protecting our shores.
“It was years later, after having gotten involved in our struggle to uphold the popular will to rebuild – better-than-ever – that I read how Guy Tozzoli, the master-builder behind the Twin Towers, went to the Seattle World’s Fair as a scout for Robert Moses. And when Mr. Tozzoli walked into one of the pavilions he felt enveloped by a sense of peace. The architect of the pavilion was Minoru Yamasaki, and it was that experience that led to his commission to build the World Trade Center.
“The Twin Towers were conceived in the spirit of world peace. Their architect dedicated them to world peace. Their plaza and the Sphere were symbols of world peace. They were meant to foster the dignity and cooperation that could lead to greatness. They had, in the words of Yamasaki, ‘a bigger purpose than just to provide room for tenants.’ They succeeded. They were anything but soulless.”
There is no way one can equate the current project with the original World Trade Center. When it comes to the Sphere, the public officials who are putting a Cubic Zirconia on display and the chipped diamond in storage have a lot to answer for.
5/1/2012 — “MSNBC or BSNBC…?”
On Monday’s show, Rachel Maddow followed a disturbing segment on the subversion of democracy in Michigan, with a gooey cream puff piece on the Freedom Tower. She calls it One World Trade Center, but Zero World Trade Center — a phrased coined by “Debacle” author Joe Wright — is more like it.
We realize that most journalists are unwitting stooges for the likes of “PR King” Howard Rubenstein and Media Mogul Michael Bloomberg. The embargo on WTC facts has gone on so long, and the disinformation is so pervasive, that Fox and MSNBC are running neck-to-neck on cranking out the Really Big Lie.
We would be inclined to give Ms. Maddow the benefit of the doubt. But it was only three years ago that MSNBC host David Shuster ran a courageous series on the “Twin Towers II” plan versus the moribund Freedom Tower project at a time when a transition to “Twin Towers II” was eminently feasible.
That apparently was the beginning of the end for Mr. Shuster on that cable news network — and Rachel Maddow was there at the time. She must realize that there is another side to the story — one that is never reported. Ms. Maddow seems skeptical enough when it comes to a wide range of other issues — why is she so gullible when it comes to a second-rate development that doesn’t begin to measure up to the towers that we lost?
She closed the segment by observing that the Freedom Tower surpassed the Empire State Building’s roof-height on the anniversary eve of Bin Laden’s demise. That is grotesque symbolism. Bin Laden prided himself on being a student of the United States and loved to describe us as shallow and debauched. In October of 2001, he bragged: The values of this Western civilization under the leadership of America have been destroyed. Those awesome symbolic towers that speak of liberty, human rights, and humanity have been destroyed. They have gone up in smoke.”
How was it possible that something most Americans wanted — spectacular new Twin Towers — was defeated by politicians and propagandists without the merest nod to the popular will — and ten years later the media is fawning over one glitzy tower in place of two majestic icons, as if it is an achievement instead of a scandal and a travesty?
We can’t make the point too often: Freedom was attacked on 9/11 by terrorists, and Democracy has been getting mugged by our politicians ever since. And instead of exposing the corruption, the press has been looking away while inconvenient facts are swept under a Really Big Rug. Where are Woodward and Bernstein when you need them?
4/30/2012 — “Wink-Wink…”
At around 2:00 PM today, the Freedom Tower became the tallest building in New York. But with the exact same 1368-foot roof height as the real One World Trade Center, it will never really be the highest tower in America. And it probably won’t hold the New York title for too long either.
Last week’s Twin Towers Journal has a number of links that explain it further. The bottom line is that the Sears/Willis Tower’s roof height is almost one hundred feet higher than the Freedom Tower’s roof. In fact, until the year 2000, The WTC antenna was actually higher than the antenna on the Sears Tower — but no one was calling it the tallest tower in America.
So now we are supposed to say “thank you” for the Pataki Bargain that put one tower where two belong. We are supposed to celebrate the sad fact that the World Trade Center that already has an asterisk after its name due to the steroids Chris Ward pumped into the site, will soon, according to the Associated Press, boast another asterisk? Are they serious?
New York is known for kosher baloney, not phony baloney. We never had to stretch the truth before to be Number One.
4/29/2012 — “Watch-Dogging…”
We were pleased with a report in the Gannett Daily Record a few days ago that described the TTA as having “lobbied for reconstruction of a modern set of towers and serves as a watchdog group on the project.” But there is no reason to put the word lobbied in the past tense. Of course it would be much more complicated to erect new Twin Towers at Ground Zero, but not in the least impossible — or even far-fetched. The depressed outlook for the current project makes the Twin Towers a better bet all the time — and a far superior use of public funds.
Another New Jersey paper quoted PA Chairman David Samson as acknowledging criticism “about the scope and cost, based on decisions that were made long ago. But I think as we near completion, we need to think about it in celebratory terms, how far we’ve come.” It is true that the cast of characters directly responsible for the sad state of the site have changed, but that mealy-mouthed mindset is what is most directly responsible for the debacle — because at every opportunity to take control of the runaway project all concerned passed the buck.
He continued, “If you evaluate it purely as a real estate investment and purely in economic terms, you’re missing the point of the structure. I’m not saying it’s irrelevant, but the project is much, much more. The symbolism of it can’t be ignored.” Exactly. And the symbolism is rotten. The public is not only being deprived of the 21st-century Twin Towers most of us wanted, but the public is being denied the answers that we are entitled to — and certainly have paid enough for. They are resisting because they know what a stink there will be — and should be.
Trying to disavow “decisions that were made long ago” and tell us that we don’t need to know how we got here — we just have to pay for it — is obscene. The idealistic and dedicated workers who built the tower will be appalled, along with the rest of the country, when they finally learn what’s going on. The only reason that the site is so distressed is because there has been no watch-dog of an agency that has the direct power to tax through tolls the citizens of two states. A new earnestness has developed in the media since the toll hikes broke, but this watchdog has been digging around for a lot longer and is not going to lose the scent.
4/14/2012 — “Business As Usual…”
An article was posted online tonight and will appear in print tomorrow in New Jersey’s Daily Record. We wonder how much longer the New York papers are going to play softball with the Port Authority. A New York Post feature writer called us recently to ask to do a profile on the Twin Towers Alliance — and then never followed up. That’s nothing new, but is part of an unmistakable record of laissez faire journalism that is going to prove very embarrassing.
4/13/2012 — “An Afterthought…”
The New York and New Jersey Legislatures will hold a joint public hearing into the Port Authority’s agenda next week. Along with a request to make an oral statement, we attached a copy of the letter we had sent to the judge in the AAA lawsuit, which resulted in the Twin Towers Alliance being give permission to act as a “friend of the court.” In doing so, we realized that we hadn’t ever posted it online. It can now be found on The Anatomy of a Swindle page.
4/13/2012 — “Huh…?”
We were asked yesterday what we think of giving the Freedom Tower a fraternal twin by modifying 2 WTC into a companion tower. We replied that it no more feasible than the idea of two Freedom Towers (which would make a lot more sense) — because the maze of interdependent systems below the ground, the above and below ground portions of the “hub”, and the foundations of Towers Two and Three leave no available place on the site to build a twin — except where Ken Gardner, for security reasons and due to the location of the train lines below, placed his re-engineered towers.
His plan was vetted by some real giants in the construction field, including Guy Tozzoli, the man who chose Minoru Yamasaki to design the original Trade Center and was primarily responsible for building the Twin Towers. Mr. Tozzoli thought so highly of the “Twin Towers II” plan that he housed the model in the lobby of The World Trade Centers Association for six months in 2008-2009. He retired the following year, but we know of a number of others who thought just as highly of the plan — and were ready to step forward if the political climate surrounding the Trade Center changed — because we were present at the meetings.
But the political lock on the site is as impervious to logic as it is contemptuous, which is why we started on our Freedom of Information odyssey — to learn what was behind such adamant opposition to the public good. We have discovered a great deal about it and are still documenting the sordid story. But in answer to the fraternal twins question, our opinion is that when it comes to trying to twin Towers One and Two, “there is no there there.”
This week’s Journal will shed more light on the subject, and there is still a much more elegant and feasible solution taking shape. But whether there is or isn’t any other option is irrelevant. The idea of accepting the Freedom Tower means accepting the process that produced it. There is no respectable way to do that.
4/5/2012 — “Help Wanted…”
We have been posting a weekly Journal entry that, much like some past bulletins, analyzes the current news surrounding the WTC site. That leaves the bulletins for more informal reports. For instance, the fact that there is a discernible shift in the way senior Port Authority staff deal with our inquiries and get back to us isn’t something that would be mentioned in the Journal, but we note it here. We would like to get the Journal moved to its own site as soon as possible, but that won’t happen without WordPress development help. So we hope that anyone with solid WordPress skills, who would be willing to give us a few hours help, will send an email to email@example.com.
4/4/2012 — “Everywhere But Here…”
Our wonderful friend at the “Million Strong” Facebook page, Kristin Coffaro, posted a reminder that today is the Twin Towers birthday. They officially opened 39 years ago today. Since 2001, twin towers have been proliferating all over the world. There is even a pair going up in Paris by Norman Foster, the man who designed the WTC tower that is the least likely to ever be built. Click on the image below for a collage of some of the many twins that have sprung up around the world since 9/11 or are planned — in the Philippines, Seoul, Dubai, Malaysia, Bahrain, Emirate City, Kazakhstan (another Foster design,) Amman, and a number of twins in China — everywhere but where they would lift the heart of the world.
3/14/2012 — “A New York State of Mind…”
The photo below was taken yesterday at the famous Rein’s “New York Style” Deli in Vernon, CT, fifteen minutes north of Hartford, which has been an institution for generations of travelers on the East Coast corridor. Obviously, the owners could have revised their logo at any point in the last ten years by using the Empire State Building as the central focus, if they wanted to let go of the Towers. The decision to keep them in sight makes a statement — conscious or unconscious — as is the case with so many others who keep refreshing the Twin Towers in their logos. Replacing the Twins with the clunky Freedom Tower and dumpy Tower 4 would be ridiculous enough in a sign on the wall, but it is not remotely suitable for our country’s premier skyline — because New York, New York is not just another city.
3/11/2012 — “A Penchant for Secrecy…”
Following a March 5, 2012 front page report in Crains New York we were contacted by the paper to see if they could revise and print a comment we had submitted online in December. Actually, it never got posted because their site was having a problem at the time. But apparently someone at the paper remembered seeing the comment that had been submitted and got in touch.
The gist of the comment was taken from the amicus brief we were given leave to file in the lawsuit that the New York and North Jersey AAA Clubs brought against the Port Authority in Federal Court in December. As usual, space considerations meant the comment had to be snipped here and there. For instance, “a penchant for secrecy” became “this secrecy” — which does not convey how entrenched into the PA culture it is… but we are pleased it was posted and will be in print on Monday. Crain’s has a wide and influential audience that would do well to look at the WTC with open eyes.
3/3/2012 — “A Rebellion Against Doom…”
There are daily news revelations of the Port Authority’s troubles and the future of the World Trade Center site is looking very rocky. The purpose of the new Twin Towers Journal is to provide links to many of the week’s Ground Zero news items and a commentary for those who may not be reading between the lines. Until our actual launch as a stand-alone site in the middle of the year, the initial weekly editions can be accessed via the “Journal” tab above.
One of our standard features will be to link to past TTA pages that apply just as much now and some even more so. In preparing the item for this week’s maiden issue we came across the statement that Philippe Petit (“Man on Wire”) made in an interview with Psychology Today in January of 2007. When he was asked what he wanted to “see happen at the WTC site” he said: “I think they should be rebuilt exactly the same, or maybe even a little bit higher—as a rebellion against doom.”
Mr. Petit was one of the first people to sign the Twin Towers Alliance petition when we first started it in 2006. When we held our rally in Central Park in 2007 he sent words of encouragement. When we printed and distributed Saving the Dream in 2008, we dedicated a section to “A Rebellion Against Doom.” And so many of the comments that come to us from around the world boil down to just that.
Watching the Depeche Mode video that is posted on the Movie Magic page really underscores the fallacies of the current project. We include that video again here because it is the nearest thing to a Twin Towers Happy Pill and actually conveys the sense of the exhilaration of being at the Top of the World. No one who ever stood on that roof will forget what an amazing pleasure it was or think that an indoor observatory could ever begin to approach the exhilaration of the real thing. And why won’t there be a fresh air observatory? Because a few people think that a decorative spire, or whatever they call it, that will turn a 1,368-foot tower into a bogus 1,776 foot tower, matters more. Officials really do not care what the public wants. That’s the whole problem.
The world wasn’t perfect before 9/11 but it was a lot more hopeful. As the quote that is posted on our homepage reads: “Ever since they collapsed the world has also been collapsing a little bit each year as well. Everyone around the world has been losing hope in the future and I believe this all began at 9/11. Bring back the twin towers and bring back hope to the world that things can be good again!” The comments that came in this week are just as moving. This is a struggle between those who have surrendered and those who will not. That’s why so many of the comments are from young people. The rebellion against doom is well underway…
1/29/2012 — “Freedom Tower Folly…”
The assumption that it is too late for the Twin Towers because the Freedom Tower keeps rising is a classic case of not being able to see the forest for the trees. To begin with, the location of the Freedom Tower (FT) has no bearing at all on rebuilding the Twin Towers. It was situated at the least defensible place on Ground Zero — but now, with its bunker base, it would function as a giant bollard on West Street. And while the concrete lobby will never have the high-end appeal that the site-protected Twins would offer, the building would be perfect for the city’s Command Center, as well as other government offices.
Even if the FT reaches its full height, new 120-story Twins Towers would tower over it. And with its 400-foot spire moved to the top of Twin Tower One, the claim to being the tallest tower in North America would no longer be phony baloney — because, even without the spire, they would far surpass the roof height of the Willis/Sears Tower in Chicago — while the Freedom Tower is a full fifty feet shorter. Converting the rest of the site would present more logistical problems than the Freedom Tower and getting it ready would be labor-intensive, but that would not be the obstacle that opponents of the Twin Towers would like it to be.
Before looking further into what it would take to put dazzling new Twin Towers into America’s greatest skyline, it is important to discuss why it is still so relevant now… Simple: Because that is what the people have wanted since the first tower crumbled. That is the only reason we need. If there were superior reasons why elected representatives overruled the public’s wishes in this tremendously important matter then they owed it to all of us to explain the reason or reasons. Commentary and debate would then have followed — the way it does with every other matter of national import — and whether their reasons were good enough for the rest of us — or not — would have been established. That is how self-government operates. The people were cheated at Ground Zero.
That is why we decided in April of 2005, to launch Rebuild-the-Towers.org. And that is why we invited the founders of Team Twin Towers, the World Trade Center Restoration Movement, and the citizens on their mailing lists, to join us when we started the Twin Towers Alliance early in 2006. We hoped that a fresh effort to encourage officials to look and listen and journalists to report would change the dynamics. We have written hundreds of thousands of words since then and approached the problem from every angle. But realizing what a tight lock a tiny minority has had on the process was an eye-opener. What would happen if an election were handled that way? It would be called a fix.
Less than a year before the massacre at the World Trade Center we had a razor-thin presidential election that plunged us into a Constitutional crisis. If the margin of support for stronger, safer, 21st-century Twin Towers, were overturned in a national election — here or anywhere — it would be called a coup. A powerful clique felt free to marginalize the recovery a majority of Americans wanted, replace it with what they decided to give us instead, and make the public pay for it. They did it by feeding the public phony information and suppressing what the public needed to know. We would be crazy to let them get away with it. That would make us pathetic — a word that we hear often on the petition. This is everybody’s fight.
We have asked a lot of questions since 2005 and even the non-answers are telling. When The Swindle At Ground Zero is released it will only be a beginning. For that reason, we have decided to start a dedicated news site that will be separate from the Twin Towers Alliance, so that the facts can be presented independent of our advocacy. Too much has gone unreported for too long. Readers will be free to leave comments, the way they can on other news sites. For now, we will post articles at the new “Journal” tab in the navigation above. Once the new site is launched, the tab above will link to it.
The journal site will run parallel to the advocacy site. We firmly believe that the Twin Towers still can, and for the good of our society, still must rise to restore our country’s most cherished skyline. What the Twin Towers Alliance will do more forcefully than ever is explain why it should and how it could still happen. At the same time, the Twin Towers Journal will conduct an honest inquiry into the corruption and abuse of power that have been compounding at the site for ten years. Why does it matter now, with all the problems we face? Because it is a big part of the solution. The World Trade Center is ground the American people cannot afford to lose twice.
1/2/2012 — “HAPPY NEW YEAR…” As we all embark on a new year, we want to point out that while there is never any guarantee that we will get what we ask for in life, we are guaranteed that we will rarely get more. Generally, we get what we settle for.
The Twin Towers’ message was clear: “Don’t settle.” Our rooftop page headers are reminders that if we want the peak, skyscraping experiences we have to go after them. As has been said, if you aim for the moon and miss, at least you will land among the stars.
That’s why the current “plan” for the site is so disturbing — it is so ordinary. Just putting up a huge glass building is nothing special, especially when the public is providing the massive funding and Towers 2 and 3 are nothing more than PR figments.
In a New York Magazine tribute to “Windows on the World” for the 10th anniversary of 9/11, restaurant critic Ruth Riechl ended it by noting: “…It was never about the food. It was about ambition and dreams. It was a temple of New York magic.”
Now the Port Authority is telling us is that we don’t need magic — the fabulous restaurant is dispensable; the awe-inspiring rooftop is dispensable; ambition and dreams are dispensable. But there is no “rebuilding the World Trade Center” without them.
Happy New Years don’t just happen. We have to insist. We have to refuse to lower our sights.
1/1/2012 — “Rising Above…” Many people still find their way to WTC2011.com so we started our New Year by updating the core message there: “As we charge into 2012, we will leave WTC2011.com up as a rallying point — because we intend to bring the connection between new Twin Towers and a new America into sharper focus in the year ahead. Polls show that almost everyone agrees that our politics are broken. Those we hire to run our government so that we as a nation can prosper are not doing the job. From the perspective of those on the right, the left, and the center, the complaint is the same: Our representatives do not represent us. There is no clearer proof of that than in the corrupted skyline of New York, which is what makes it the natural and best place for us to rise above our differences and join forces to exert our control.”
Please note: The original “Freedom Tower Folly” (1/29/12) and all the bulletins before it were corrupted and went up in cyber-smoke, along with the backup files, while working on that bulletin. We’ve now restored the page except for the bulletins on January 27th and 28th. Those two bulletins shared the information that Ken Gardner’s studio had been destroyed by fire, but that the “Twin Towers II” models were at a different location and that there were multiple backups of the plans.