NY Times Columnist Hints at Not Building Tall at Ground Zero

NY Times Columnist Hints at Not Building Tall at Ground Zero

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 19th, 2005, 4:10 pm #1

Joyce Purnick in a column seemed to take issue with The Times editorial on Sunday endorsing all construction projects at Ground Zero.

Purnick begins the article entitled “Ground Zero Moves Forth, in Secret”

New Yokers are now assured by their governor that the Freedom Tower is back on track, that it will be redesigned and constructed with efficient dispatch. Maybe, which would be nice (at least for those who want that inevitable magnet for trouble built at all). But think how much nicer it would be if New York had never had to endure the embarrassments of the last several weeks.

That’s perhaps the first time The Times has even hinted that tall buildings may not be the solution to Ground Zero.

The rest of the article centers on the aggravations that major decisions downtown are done in secret.

How much nicer, still, if New Yorkers who endured Sept. 11 had known what was going on all along.

It’s called full disclosure. Transparency. It’s the opposite of secrecy, which remains stubbornly popular with public officials and the occasional sympathetic pundit.

Thing about secrecy - it never works in the long run.

The New York Times in its Sunday editorial praised the choice of Governor Pataki’s right hand man John Cahill to be Downtown Building Czar and endorsed plans for the Freedom Tower, Cultural Center, Transportation Center and laid all problems at Ground Zero at the foot of developer Larry Silverstein.

Mr. Cahill will also have the difficult job of providing public oversight of Larry Silverstein, who inherited the role as private developer of the site because of his short-term lease of the fallen World Trade Center.

Mr. Silverstein has professed a desire all along to make the city proud of the buildings he will develop for the site. But that desire has always seemed to be too much at war with a developer’s natural instinct to maximize profits by minimizing costs. As time passes and Mr. Silverstein’s pot of insurance money diminishes, the instinct to cut corners could get harder and harder to resist.

My Commentary
Our position is that everything at Ground Zero is bungled because of Libeskind’s poor site plan coupled with LMDC insistence in micromanaging everything.

If LMDC wants tall buildings at Ground Zero, they should give the developer free reign on his designated space to build those towers — and take the risk. The business model for businesses to occupy those buildings does not work. Nobody wants to be compelled to work in a tall tower that people believe is a target. However, there seems to be no end to the number of indviduals willing to live there. Office towers no doubt will remain vacant.

Since tall office towers have questionable viability at Ground Zero, the proposed cultural buildings should be moved off the block that contains the memorial.

Nothing is more spectacular — or more valuable — in New York than green open space. The current plan has Ground Zero obliterated by massive sink holes that provide families and public with no interaction with the site.

More info and links:
http://911memorials.org/archives/2005/0 ... round-zero/
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