For Auld Lang Syne

New Year's Eve 2013

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

and never brought to mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

and days of auld lang syne ?

Chorus:

For auld lang syne, my dear,

for auld lang syne,

we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,

for auld lang syne.

Traditions like New Year’s Eve in Times Square connect us to the ever-receding past. The plaintive “Auld Lang Syne” grows more bittersweet with every passing year. Even while we are brimming with hope for the future, the past tugs at our hearts and we tug back. We don’t want to forget — even when it hurts — and it always does. But tradition seems to have no place at Ground Zero, where there is a constant struggle between those who are honor-bound to remember and those who seem determined to forget.

It is not a fair fight, because at the WTC the power is concentrated in the hands of those who want to forget — or at least who seem to want us to forget. Why else would the marketing materials for the new office towers refer to the Memorial grounds merely as a campus? Why else would officials banish the indestructible Koenig Sphere and its eternal flame from the site, and literally bury the museum and its artifacts underground? Because they are trying to buffer the brutality of 9/11, so we can all get back to business as usual.

Such a contrived and controversial agenda should have been thoroughly aired and debated in the press. Instead, whatever influence the public has been granted has come grudgingly at best. For instance, few people realize that the names that surround the waterfalls — the most powerful aspect of the Memorial — were originally meant to appear 70 feet underground, along with everything else. Only when 9/11 families and friends kept a three-week sidewalk vigil during the Winter of 2005, outside the fire house across from the site, did officials finally relent.

But now officials are happy to take the credit, as if the plaza level tribute were always part of their design. Imagine the Memorial plaza without those names. It shouldn’t require such sacrifice to get things done right. But without an engaged media we can’t have an informed public and we do not have an engaged media. The many irregularities at the site testify to that. The Times in particular has only minimally reported on what is really happening at Ground Zero. The country’s “paper of record” has left almost no record at all on these matters.

Even after seven years of investigation and outreach we certainly do not think we have all the answers, but we do think we have all the questions. We have no doubt that if the public eye were focused on the questions officials have so successfully deflected and the media have ignored, people would be deeply troubled to learn that most of their assumptions regarding the site are unfounded. At the same time, all the evidence of public support for raising 21st-century Twin Towers has gone unreported.

The emotional and spiritual costs are incalculable, while the material costs are stunning. The Port Authority, which owed very little towards the rebuilding of the site following the attacks, has saddled the public with most of the rebuilding costs, while Silverstein Properties has apparently managed to extract even their original downpayment for the Towers from the project — building their brand at the public’s expense.

This piece barely scratches the surface of the irregularities that somehow escaped the media’s notice. Even when journalists with the credibility of Joe Nocera of the New York Times and Nicole Gelinas of the City Journal called the project into question, the lack of follow up by their fellow journalists was shocking. MORE


The New York Observer

9/11 Families Fight Plan to Put Remains Seven Stories Underground in Flood Zone A

The New York Post

3 World Trade is up & coming

Bloomberg News

NYC Top-Quality Office Availability Reaches 19-Year High

2012-12-31T12:45:47+00:00 December 31st, 2012|Vol. One, No. 44 —|

Good Will Toward Men

WTC Plaza -- Peace on Earth

I feel this way about it: World trade means world peace and, consequently, the World Trade Center buildings in New York… had a bigger purpose than just to provide room for tenants. The World Trade Center is a living symbol of man’s dedication to world peace…    — WTC architect, Minoru Yamasaki


The Record

Firefighters upset no flag rises on plaza of 9/11 Memorial

Energy Manager Today

Chrysler Building More Energy Efficient than World Trade Center

2012-12-24T10:39:48+00:00 December 24th, 2012|Vol. One, No. 43 —|

It Doesn’t Add Up


The interview in the video clip above was conducted last week, but came to our attention on the 10th. Rather than append it to last week’s news we are featuring it here — because, as the anchor, Gerri Willis, concluded “…it’s an important story.” But that is nothing new. The project hasn’t added up since the beginning — and that is a very important story.

In fact, back in May of 2006, when Attorney General Eliot Spitzer was campaigning for the Governorship he won and then lost, he called the redevelopment of Ground Zero “an Enron-style debacle” and added: “Let me be very clear, the L.M.D.C. is an absolute failure. They violated their duty to the public and to those they’re supposed to be representing…”

Just days before, Enron former chief executive Jeffrey Skilling and founder Kenneth Lay were both found guilty of conspiracy and fraud in what CNNMoney called “the granddaddy of all corporate fraud cases.” How does a statement like that, by a sitting Attorney General, on his way to the Governor’s Mansion, fail to generate severe scrutiny?

Eliot Spitzer knew what he was saying and neither politics nor his personal failings can explain that away. It is fair to say that if only he had followed up on his charges billions of dollars would not have been squandered and he would have changed the course of history. But he was just one of the many weak links in the chain of command that shackled the public to a World Trade Center that is a mere shadow of what it might have been.

Now, it may be too late to correct the mistakes, but will never be too late to get to the bottom of how the public was ripped-off. The recent documentary, “16 Acres — The Movie” is a prime example of revisionist history. It’s time for the rest of the story.

The Port Authority’s Director of Construction, Steve Plate, and all of the construction workers on 1 WTC have done a superb job building a tower that is anything but superb. That is not just our opinion — the unsolicited comments that follow the Associated Press piece are testimony to that.

They built what they were told to build and no doubt most of them would have loved to build what most of the world wanted instead. But that is no reason to ignore the sordid truth. Mr. Plate can say the spire is the candle on the cake and that it is a milestone that signifies New York City is “better than ever.” And no matter how many times he and others repeat it and wish it were so, we all really know it’s not true.


The Huffington Post

One World Trade Center Spire To Arrive In New York City On Tuesday

NJ.com (AP)

Spire for One World Trade Center ferried across Hudson River

2012-12-10T10:41:43+00:00 December 10th, 2012|Vol. One, No. 41 —|

Nothing Special

WTC Pamphlet

Photo: www.travelbrochuregraphics.com


The New York Times

New Glimpses of the Twin Towers’ Past

The Asbury Park Press (Gannett)

New bill hits hard road to Port Authority reform

NYULocal

One World Trade Center Spires Arrive in New Jersey…

BloombergBusinessweek

Silverstein Said Moving Toward Two Deals at Trade Center

The Wall Street Journal

New on the Mini Skyline

TheCommercial Observer

Hudson Yards Breaks Ground for South Tower”

2012-12-03T20:17:07+00:00 December 3rd, 2012|Vol. One, No. 40 —|