NYC’s Freedom Tower: A Dubious Achievement

They’re making a big deal in New York City about the completion of the new Freedom Tower on the former site of the fallen World Trade Center towers and it’s true that it will now be the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere. But as an eyewitness to 9/11 – I was in down town Manhattan for a meeting at my heath care system’s headquarters, the now defunct St Vincent’s Hospital, and was involved in the PR circus that followed the attack – I still feel conflicted about the erection of a structure which took an embarrassing eleven and half years of squabbling to complete and which most likely stands on the pulverized remains of many of the thousands who lost their lives on that faithful day.

A spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey which owns the structure gloated on TV it was a proud day for New York and hyped the New York skyline would not be complete without such a downtown structure. But let’s get real folks, the Port Authority leased the WTC out for millions of dollars in office rentals and is hungry to recapture all that revenue. The spokesman, realizing some businesses may be gun shy about occupying the site, stressed the use of triple the amount of reinforced concrete in the structure that supposedly would withstand a plane flying into it. Now why would anybody do something like that?

In the end, everything comes down to money, doesn’t it? In my mind, that site is sacred ground and should have been turned into a memorial park. But Manhattan real estate realities will never let that happen.

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