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Last Updated: 9/10/19 at 5:45 PM

Queen Elizabeth said after 9/11, “Grief is the price we pay for love.” But what about the price we pay for greed, and arrogance, and the abuse of power? The public is still paying for 9/11 every day in ways that people would be shocked to learn.

What we see at the WTC now is what thousands of courageous and dedicated workers have made of it. But what we can’t see is what we were cheated out of by Michael Bloomberg, George Pataki, and a host of not-so-special interests.

The workers’ idealism can’t undo the connivance and manipulation behind a plan that does not do justice to the memory of those we lost and doesn’t come close to measuring up to the world that vanished with them.

This video provides the best explanation we have for so much that is wrong with the World Trade Center, New York City, and the United States of America. Citizens have to stay on top of unaccountable officials because they can do so much long-lasting damage, without even having to answer for their choices. In the notes to “Power at Ground Zero” — written by a Columbia professor, and published by Oxford University Press, Prof. Lynne Sagalyn revealed that “though I tried several times through several high-level channels, I was unable to secure an interview with former mayor Michael Bloomberg.” When it comes to the World Trade Center, that is a travesty.

Better-than-ever Twin Towers were the most feasible, affordable, and popular option. They would have inspired the world.

As observers and participants in the struggle to build a World Trade Center that honored the popular will — whatever that might be — we believe that the core reason why an urban legend flourished, while the legitimate voice of the people was stifled, can be traced to one egotistical man. He wasn’t the only powerful person blocking an honest debate, but he was certainly the most powerful.

In July of 2002, the New York Post announced the results of a scientific citywide poll that culminated with the 7/14/02 cover announcing Half of New York wants the Twin Towers REBUILT. Less than a year after the attacks, with the city still reeling, that was a very significant number — and an overwhelming plurality, because the other half of the sampling was splintered into a number of much smaller segments of the population.

Coming the same week as the official “Listening to the City” extravaganza at the Javits Center, the city-wide findings should have been covered by the other city papers — but, as far as we can tell, none of them found the poll newsworthy. A few years later, in “Up From Zero”, architecture critic Paul Goldberger’s Pulitzer prize-winning account of the rebuilding saga, he repeatedly and deceptively referred to the pro-rebuilders’ faction at the Javits function as “a small but vocal cadre.”

That’s ironic, since the real small but vocal cadre was the various special interests whose groupthink the mayor so ably represented. He must have missed the video of WTC leaseholder Larry Silverstein remembering “thousands of pieces of mail and then email and phone calls — and the overwhelming thought was you’ve got to recreate what was there…” There was nothing ambiguous about that.

Just as the ever-expedient, rarely sensitive, former mayor of New York saw fit to dump the minute remains of 9/11 victims on top of a fetid landfill, so has the new World Trade Center been built on garbage politics and stinking abuses of power. But topsoil and flowers can never turn a dump into a cemetery – or a disgrace into a tribute.

Mr. Bloomberg is notorious for insisting that “you can’t please everyone.” But we have a system to deal with differences of opinion — it’s called DEMOCRACY. Everyone gets a say and the losing side can then take comfort in knowing it was a clean fight. There was nothing clean about the way officials forced their counterfeit WTC and disfigured skyline on the people who have paid for it in every sense of the word.

The video above is about much more than the Twin Towers. It looks at the number one reason why, in our opinion, there is still A Hole in the World Tonight — the widespread abuse of power and corruption that will go on for as long as we permit.

The video above was created in 2012, by a teenager who used clips from a longer video he had created earlier. There is a point at minute 1:41 where the audio comes through but not the picture. The missing video can be seen at minute 10:03 in the longer version.

What is so particularly effective about this presentation is that it is strongly bipartisan. He used clips from both sides of the political aisle to demonstrate how united we were on this issue. Years later, there has been a lot of “progress” at the site, but what we see is the fulfillment of Nicole Gelinas’ grim warning at the end of her”World Trade Sellouts” op-ed in the New York Post in May of 2004 — a skyline “marred by a 1,776-foot gravestone that marks the death of New York’s spirit.”


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