Letters to the Editor
Memorial names & truth
To The Editor:
I agree with much of your conclusions in your editorial Let 9/11 families take the lead on name listings (July 14 20). I appreciate the concern expressed of the families regarding the listings; the memorial jury, many in the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, Gov. Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg have been oblivious to their repeated and reasonably expressed arguments.
However, I do not agree entirely with your reasoning why the names should be listed in a manner authentic to the facts of the day. I mean, thats the point. To list them by company, tower, floor, or by flight and to identify them as a firefighter or police or court officer and provide their rank and company is the truth. To list family members who died together, together, is the truth. To do otherwise is to impose a meaning of our choice upon the site.
The first stakeholder at ground zero is not the 9/11 families nor the Downtown residents nor businesses or anybody else. The first stakeholder is the truth. You say the memorial shouldnt tell the entire story of 9/11 well, nor should it ignore it for the sake of, as the memorial jurors have said, what we need and deserve.
As I write this, an email was sent to me of an Associated Press story detailing a very credible plot to attack the slurry wall and flood Downtown New York. Preserving bedrock and boxbeams was never a good idea and fell into the category of what we need and deserve at the expense of faithfully conveying 9/11.
The solution is simple: Restore a representative piece of the façade and the Sphere, list the names without our editing (and as the public already embraced through the flyers); honor the rescue workers as they deserve (as the public has also already embraced) and build a humble and attractive 9/11 museum, plaza level, housing the flyers, crushed fire trucks and telling the story of 9/11, with an atrium overlooking the site. Thats easily secured and accessible to all the shops, etc of Downtown which would be a great boon to their business. Add trees, benches, other artwork, whatever. Theres your memorial.
Brother of F.D.N.Y. Capt. William F. Burke, Jr., Eng. 21, killed Sept. 11, 2001.
Last month I went to the Board of Standards and Appeals hearing on the explosive issue, as it were, of fuel storage at 60 Hudson St. (news article, June 9 15, B.S.A. again voices concerns about 60 Hudson diesel). A couple of revealing things got said in the heat of the fray and Ive been thinking about them ever since.
The first was a remark by the counsel for the Department of Buildings, who said that her agency had allowed a redistribution of fuel in a way the building needs, based on its difficulties. That struck me as odd. Why would the needs and difficulties of a business any business even factor into the deliberations of a city agency whose first and overriding concern is
supposed to be public safety?
Later, a representative of the buildings owners said that the reason they needed to employ a manual-delivery fuel system for the upper-floor generators basically, guys with handtrucks carting around 55-gallon drums was that the building was already so full of conduits and
fuel risers that it would be physically impossible to add more. That, too, struck me as odd. Surely as the owners began ripping out elevator banks and installing their ductwork years ago, they must quickly have realized the inherent limits on the carrying capacity of their building. To insist now that they need a retroactive variance for their illegally-installed remote fuel tanks would seem to suggest one of two things: either their original business plan was badly flawed, or theyve succumbed to out-and-out greed.
At this point, you have to close your eyes pretty hard not to see whats really going on at 60 Hudson St. A beautiful and historically-significant office building has been surreptitiously gutted and re-engineered into an incredibly loud and dirty factory. And, its owners now seem to be saying, also an inefficient one so much so that they cant, or wont, compete with the citys other telecom hotels without what amounts to a handout. To me, the only real questions left are why did the D.O.B. bend over backwards to let this happen, and do the B.S.A.s commissioners have the character, judgment and independence to stand up for the law and the public good?