Volume 18 • Issue 21 | October 14 - 20, 2005

Letters to the editor

A welcome exit

To The Editor:
Re “Free the rest of the W.T.C. from the memorial” (Talking Point by David Stanke, Oct. 7 –13):

David Stanke never really understood the significance of the event of 9/11/2001 and from the beginning had only one agenda and that was to use the excruciating days following the attacks, while the surviving families were grieving, to format what would happen at the site to benefit himself and his cronies. In a discompassionate, insensitive manner he embarked on a journey to try to downplay the sacredness of the site to fulfill his personal vision.  He now says he is done and we who lost loved ones say good riddance to this gadfly.
Jack Lynch
Father of firefighter Michael F. Lynch, who was killed Sept. 11, 2001.  

To The Editor:
Your assertion that Pataki “abandoned part of his own vision”  immediately disqualifies you from reality. Pataki’s only “vision” is Pataki. That you “bid farewell and turn your back on six acres” is great news. As long as you’re throwing in the towel, why not bid farewell and turn your back on writing about the W.T.C.
Tom Chelston

To The Editor:
Re “Cultural loss at the W.T.C.” (Editorial, Oct. 7 - 13):

In fact, weeks before Debra Burlingame’s June 8th Wall Street Journal article regarding the International Freedom Center at ground zero, the notorious “9/11 families” had protested the advent of the I.F.C.  In May, when Governor Pataki, Mayor Bloomberg and the Lower Manghattan Development Corp. held a press conference to present it to the public, the leaders of several major family groups representing thousands were there to protest its placement right in the middle of where the towers fell. All we knew was that it was not about Sept. 11 and would be sitting on top of the museum that was. Incredibly, this made no sense to us. We hold to the absurd idea that any museum rising from the very spot the attacks occurred, where the 2,749 people were killed, should be dedicated exclusively to 9/11. And that museum should not be hidden underground like it is something we should be ashamed of. Over 2,000 family members agree, as do over 49,000 other Americans nationwide (whose taxes make the redevelopment of the site possible) and the membership of the United Firefighters Association of NY, and the Patrolmen Benevolent Association of New York. I would suggest that Sen. Clinton, Mayor Giuliani and finally Gov. Pataki taking similar stances is not political weakness, but wisdom.

Contrary to the stereotype, we do not want a monument to grief and death; rather we feel that Sept. 11 was ultimately a day of triumph, where love, courage and compassion conquered evil, death and destruction. The 9/11 memorial and museum must not only remember, but also teach and inspire.

As for the loss of the I.F.C. from Downtown, don’t blame us. Its would-be founders, who changed its mission several times in an attempt to make it palatable and only succeeded in doing the opposite, told us just days before their expulsion that their institution was meant as a “complement” to the story of 9/11. Yet they would not move it anywhere else, neither overlooking ground zero across the very narrow Liberty St. and even turning down Pataki’s offer of another spot elsewhere on the 16 acres. The concept of its founders, whose pride apparently knows no boundaries, was that it would rise phoenix-like from the ashes of 9/11. This wasn’t a complement; it was a take over. Invasion of the history snatchers.

Over 10 of the sixteen acres are designated for development; whether retail, office, and a performing arts center. Of the remaining not-quite six acres reserved for 9/11, most of it will be a very pleasant park. The I.F.C. building will be reduced and become a far more interesting and relevant 9/11 museum. The Drawing Center is still 10 minutes away in the very charming Soho.  The Sphere should be returned to the site and not in front of the wildly extravagant new PATH station. Let it stand where it can be appreciated and I predict it would become an icon and symbol of the neighborhood, much like the Flatiron Building, only adding to the vitality of the community and not incidentally, real estate values. Considering all that, what are the Downtown residents so upset about?
 Michael Burke


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