Letters to the editor
To The Editor:
Re Art groups back Drawing Center at the W.T.C. site (news article, July 22 28):
Why shouldnt the Drawing Center be moved from its present location on Wooster St. to a taxpayer-funded spot inside a towering museum that will dominate the last quarter of the World Trade Center site left for a memorial to the 9/11 attacks?
The Drawing Center has featured art such as Homeland Security, which, inexplicitly, is a drawing of a naked woman with her legs spread and four planes aimed at her. Their shows are always so thoughtful, said Cheryl Pelavin, owner of Cheryl Pelavin Fine Arts on Jay St. Its loss she said, would be heartbreaking.
The 9/11 victims are incredibly important, Holly Block, executive director of Art in General said generously, but I dont think people should be dictating who gets that space. She didnt mention who should be deciding it. Perhaps her cats.
Eighty percent of Downtown residents cited cultural institutions as the No. 1 priority. I know that was on my brothers (Capt. Billy Burke of Eng. 21) mind as he raced to the W.T.C. the morning of Sept.11. Im sure he was thinking, if I die here today, at least theyll remember my sacrifice with a nice, thoughtful institution that features drawings of naked women with planes aimed at them.
I realize that Downtown New York artists have a well-earned reputation for narcissism and shallowness, but this bunch have outdone themselves. Those incredibly important 9/11 victims did not die to provide an opportunity for a handful of self-absorbed artists to get a great big place for their silly art; nor did they die so Downtown residents could use the space they died in as some sort of vast urban improvement plan. It comes across as appalling that they list culture as their Number 1 priority for the site. When the towers collapsed, burying hundreds of their brothers, the surviving firefighters, still covered in the dust from the towers, went to work saving residences of Battery Park from fires caused by the attacks.
And I dont what to hear that we celebrate their lives by exercising the First Amendment at ground zero; thats just a poor excuse and it has nothing to do with 9/11; the terrorists did not attack to take our freedom; they attacked to take our lives.
However, lets forget what happened there. Lets forget our responsibility to those who died and those who sacrificed. Lets forget our responsibility to future generations. Its inconvenient, its unpleasant, and that bare patch of land is such an opportunity for culture. Of course, that brings up the question, of what use would the culture of such people be?
Weve totally lost contact in what it is to be human, Pelavin said. She got that right, anyway.
To The Editor:
Re Downtown needs density (Letters, July 29 Aug. 4):
Firstly, Larry Gould is incorrect in saying that Southbridge turns inward. Most of the buildings that comprise Southbridge Towers face the streets they are built on. Having a little green space in front of each building or behind several of them, hardly means that those buildings are inward. Even if they were inward so what?
Also, the Associated and Jubilee supermarkets that he speaks of are hardly more than large bodegas in any other neighborhood. The east side of Lower Manhattan below Pike Slip has no supermarket. Not one in the 33 years that I have lived Downtown. How do our city planners expect thousands more people to reside in our neighborhood without any real services such as supermarkets? I might be wrong, but I do not even see any garage space Downtown for people to keep cars so that they can leave town to shop for food.
Libeskind Studio responds
To The Editor:
We wanted to clarify elements of two recent articles that appeared in the Downtown Express.
The first regards David Stankes assertion that the original concept for the Freedom Tower was unworkable (Talking Point, July 15 21, Changes for the worse at the Freedom Tower). The design process has obviously been complex. Balance must be struck among a number of different and often competing issues with security paramount among them. The Freedom Towers redesign addresses these security concerns in conformity with the original master plan. The tower has had to reduce its footprint; indeed, it is now closer to the original design of February 2003. This allows for a 90-foot setback, one which is much safer by police standards. While the shape and details of buildings may change, the intent, spirit and direction of the master plan remain intact, providing a unifying framework that allows the public process to continue to move forward successfully.
The second relates to the incorrect assumptions about the Wedge of Light (UnderCover, July 15 21, Burying a Wedge Issue). The grand public plaza of the Wedge of Light is defined by two moments in time on September 11th at 8:46 a.m. when the first plane struck and at 10:28 a.m. when the second tower fell. Contrary to your item, Santiago Calatravas brilliant design for the transportation center doesnt diminish the experience, but rather heightens it. The new station is designed axially along the wedge so that at 10:28 a.m. on September 11th the stations roof will open, allowing daylight to reach the platform and tracks below. The design enhances the concept and gives it even greater power.
Studio Daniel Libeskind
To The Editor:
We at Serving Those Who Serve are very grateful for the interest shown by the Downtown Express and your reporter Lauren Dzura in S.T.W.S. (news article, July 15 21, Group recommends herbs for 9/11 health problems). While our program budget allows us to offer S.T.W.S.s Holistic Herbal Cleanse free of charge to ground zero workers and volunteers, we are grateful this article publicizes our offer to give the program at our cost-price of $30 to Downtown workers and residents.
There are two things in the article I would like to clarify. We did not say the herbs relieve Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (implied in the first paragraph), or nervousness, fear and depression. We said the herbs get rid of metal toxins in the body which often have the same symptoms as the above. We urge everyone to seek professional help for depression and P.T.S.D.
Finally, I was paraphrased saying the herbs dont work as quickly and as strongly as Western medicine which isnt quite what I said. What I said is that the herbs work gradually and gently with no side effects, so they take longer to work than Western medicine.
Executive director, Serving Those Who Serve