Volume 16 • Issue 32 | January 9 - 15, 2004

Letters to the Editor

Thanks Maloney, Shays

To The Editor:
I was astonished and dismayed by the contents of Mr. Rogers’ article, “Nadler and Maloney feud over W.T.C. bill”  (news article, Dec. 2-8, 2003)

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.), along with Rep. Christopher Shays (Conn.), deserve credit for assuming a leadership role on key issues surrounding the aftermath of September 11, 2001.  Both have offered their support in the struggle to remove the still very much enjoyed immunities to N.Y.C. building and fire codes of the Port Authority in the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site, an issue which should be of grave concern to all residents of the Downtown area and future occupants and visitors of the new W.T.C.

These two outspoken representatives have also stepped up to assume the leadership role with respect to the future of Ground Zero and the creation of a proper memorial site.  Kudos to them.  Who among us has any real trust in the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. or the P.A. to conduct a proper assessment of the site’s remaining historic relics?  Too much self-serving interest here.

Rather than continued politicizing, district squabbles and bowing to economic pressures to rebuild, all our elected officials should be focusing on what impact and message the future site will have 15, 20, 100 years from now, when 9/11 becomes no more than a chapter in the history books.  How will future generations view how we handled this process and the speed with which we want to shovel dirt and grass on the site of the murder of thousands?  Will we be accused of a lack of understanding and acceptance of the tragedy, which took almost 3,000 lives, left families devastated and citizens shocked?  Studies conducted in conjunction with the rebuilding and memorial process can and will only enhance our ability in making wise decisions, which will have permanent consequences.  To slow this process is only logical as emotions are still too high and rational thinking is hampered.  

As for Ms. Wils, she seems to have been asleep on 9/11/01. Like it or not, Ground Zero and the immediate Downtown area is a burial ground.  She may want to ask Lee Ielpi or Jack Lynch to view the map depicting where remains were uncovered.  Almost 3,000 innocent souls were either blown to bits or crushed to death at this site.  No matter how she may want to spin her vision, that is a fact. It is high time we started treating this plot of ground with some respect.

Economic factors were the driving force creating the first W.T.C. and look what happened!  It is high time we came together as a people and changed some of our most basic thinking.  The value of life and the respect for the dead should be the driving force behind this project and all elected officials, in or out of the district, should be on board with that.

Monica Gabrielle
Co-Chairperson, The Skyscraper Safety Campaign

Bell-ringing profile

To The Editor:
What a great profile of Linda Sithole by John Arbucci (“Actress examines parents’ influence on her life”) in the Arts section from the Dec 30- Jan 8, 2004 edition.  For me, it rang the bell on several fronts. As a theater lover, especially of non-glossy mainstream presentations, I look forward to seeing the play A.S.A.P. As a mentor of African- American children the mention of role-modeling was music to my ears. I fully intend to bring my mentoring kids with me.  Finally, as a sometime writer, I found Mr. Arbucci’s writing compelling and interesting.  It’s what a good interview should be.  I’m a part-time citizen of Lower Manhattan who feels fortunate to have access to such a fine publication as the Downtown Express.

Jerry Osterberg

Tall is safe

To The Editor:
Mr. Stanke’s article, “Changes to Freedom Tower are beyond expectations” (Talking Point, Dec. 30 –Jan. 8) really stank (couldn’t resist). The site of the former World Trade Center should not only have the world’s tallest building, but it should remain the world’s tallest and should be occupied to its fullest height.

Our men and women are placing their lives on the line overseas to preserve our freedom. We here at home should certainly be willing to take a much, much smaller risk by living our lives the way we always have. We work and live in a city known for its skyscrapers. What arbitrary height is safe? Is the Empire State Building? Perhaps, we should limit folks from going above floor 70 there also. Oh and what about the Pentagon? Nothing to do with height there. Prior to 9/11, I wouldn’t have wanted to work that high, now I would welcome it. Call it what you will — ego – pride — etc. All I know is that the site cries out for the world’s tallest.

J. G. Abbate

Build higher

To The Editor:
Please do not refrain from rebuilding towers which are the same or higher height at the World Trade Center site. Terrorists want to instill fear, and if we are too afraid to build big and tall, then they have won. Let’s remember the unfortunate people who died on 9-11 with the same boldness that Minoru Yamasaki and Austin J Tobin.

I thought New Yorkers were tough, thick-skinned. What happened to your pride? If you do not see the subtle beauty of the original towers, at least build new ones of the same occupied floor space height.

Mark Bales

Reflecting reflections

To The Editor:
The selected 9/11 memorial plan is called “Reflecting

Absence,” but all it really is is absence reflected. This memorial, along with the other seven finalists for that matter, do not show new life and rebirth because they leave two 30-foot “open-wound” pits that

serve only as a legacy to the terrorists who created them. Leaving the pit and Ground Zero open and empty adheres to what Mr. bin Laden and all terrorists want there. The Pentagon was also hit on 9/11 but is fully rebuilt and functioning and a memorial is planned to be built about 50-feet away from the point of impact. What does it say for this nation to allow terrorists to invade and destroy the symbols of world trade and world peace and not rebuild them?

The Twin Towers are the only fitting memorial to the Americans who perished there. An open pit is a memorial to the terrorists who wanted it that way.

David Lopez
Jersey City, N.J.

Memorial editorial

To The Editor:
Re “The memorial is worth the wait” (editorial, Dec. 23 –29):

What right do I have to say what should be built at the World Trade Center site?

My own eyes have seen things no human should have to see. Beyond imagination. I felt my soul age. I smelled the dead for months, unable to forget. I met many people and saw it bring out the best and the worst in them. Why not me, I thought...it could have been me too. I often would cringe, alert to any sound overhead. Still, I can identify types of planes in the sky, an unwanted new skill.

Yet, I did experience beauty in the ugliness. Caught on film and in my heart. Whatever could express that at the World Trade Center site, that would feel “right.” I used to think I had more of a right than some in saying what should be built from the ruins. Now I feel I should just have an equal say, for I believe I have not only a right to say what I think needs to be built, but an obligation...even if no one is listening.

Colleen M. Delaney

W.T.C. problems

To The Editor:
Now that the depressing, cold, and sterile Reflecting Absence has been chosen as the memorial at the World Trade Center site, this is a good time to “reflect” on the total misdirection of the entire rebuilding/memorial process.

In the process of selecting the Libeskind design the public was told, and probably 99% of the public who submitted their choices thought, it was for the “Rebuilding of the World Trade Center Site,” or “The Future Memorial,” but everyone from Gov. Pataki, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and down knew it was not.

The reason why Daniel Libeskind garnered the lion’s share (if he in fact did) of the public comment was the exposed bedrock and slurry walls.  Yet, prior to that, engineers openly said the slurry walls had to be reinforced and any open design was structurally unworkable.  In addition, all those in a position of responsibility knew that an independent search would be made for the memorial itself. Libeskind might as well have put a Ferris wheel there for all that it mattered. Why was not the public clearly told of these facts? In addition, Libeskind’s original public design did not have the various cross streets (closed by the W.T.C. master block) open.  All involved made it clear cross streets were to be open.  As a result, his winning design elements of the Heroes Park and Wedge of Light were downsized.  Why choose a design that all knew was flawed?

His numerous skyscrapers, angled tops or not, were not going to be designed by him or built anytime soon, and when constructed, would be designed, within the restrictions of the master plan, by the developer of that building.  And of course Freedom Tower is as much David Childs’ as Daniel Libeskind’s.

Reflecting Absence, though well meaning, commemorates death and sadness.  Is it no wonder that the designs featuring above ground memorials, or symphonies of light, were not chosen: they drew our eyes and hearts upward.  Certainly, the tragic murders of so many Americans must be recognized and reflected upon, but must it be in the form of a below grade “mausoleum.”  From afar it looks like a nice, but sterile urban park with no hint of why it exists.  Why do we want to remember death when we should celebrate the lives of the victims, and the heroism of all on 9/ll? Must we demand all who visit be overcome by grief? Why do we seem to demand breast beating as a sign of loss?

The memorial as much as possible should be open visually to all who are in sight of the area.  Celebrate all by opening the memorial to the sky, in site of Freedom Tower, across from the Statute of Liberty, in view of freedom itself. Below grade to reflect, above grade to think of them, and ourselves.
John Brindisi 


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