Three Modest Proposals for a New World Trade Center

As a native New Yorker and having spent a summer in Hoboken watching the construction of the twin towers, I really miss them. Yes, they were ugly; extremely, uncompromisingly ugly. They looked like two boxes of staples. Their ugliness was part of their charm They were office buildings, not metaphors, and this gave them a certain honest grandeur. They loomed over lower Manhattan and served as a magnificent navigational beacon

The current proposals for use of the World Trade Center site, for all their pretense of sense and sensibility, are basically decadent. The business people, who have built so much and transformed so many neighborhoods, deny that a reconstructed World Trade Center could serve economically. This group has made mistakes before. I mean, who would want to move to the Lower East Side or down below Canal Street? The memorialists, arguing for Elysian Fields and cenotaphs, long to stop time and aim to turn lower Manhattan into a necropolis.

The spirit of New York City is not that of tasteful mourning. It is the spirit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and people come to New York City from around the globe to partake of this spirit. The city should not try to honor the victims of the attack by pretending to be something that it is not. No tasteful charade can comfort the families of those killed that day.

While some propose an exact reproduction of the original World Trade Center, perhaps with additional safety modifications, the designs here use the original design as a mere starting point. What the city needs, the nation needs, and the civilized world needs, is a defiant assertion of New York, its humor, its vulgarity, its greed, its charity, its raw vitality. The dead are with god, what's left is real estate.

Fort World Trade Center

New York City has been bleeding tax dollars for years, paying for military bases all around the country and getting nothing, not even DEFENSE, in return. Isn't it time to bring some of the dollars home and get some defense in the bargain? We don't need bases down in Georgia, the enemy has struck in lower Manhattan.

The World Trade Center site is perfect for a new generation of military base, situated in a densely populated, high value target, urban area. Equipped with advanced radar and missile systems, it could command the seas and skies in much of the Northeastern United States. Further, its urban location could help our military develop the strategic and tactical skills needed in future urban conflicts.

The World Trade Center Airport

The destruction of the World Trade Center was a tragedy, but it was also an opportunity. Isn't it finally time that New York City had an airport with a direct subway connection? The idea of a skyscraper airport is not new. Rent Palm Beach Story for Preston Sturges' take on it. The terrorists may have used airplanes to destroy the towers, but that doesn't mean we can't learn from them.

Maybe it is time to move on and solve a number of transportation problems with one blow. Rebuild the World Trade Center as two 110 story towers with an airport for medium sized jets spanning both roofs. This would not only provide a fourth metropolitan area airport, but would offer a selling point to lure business occupants to the towers and make the new World Trade Center a REAL world trade center.

The World Trade Finger

They say no one will reoccupy a pair of 110 story office towers in lower Manhattan, so this proposal is a compromise, with just one 110 story tower and four smaller towers. Let's see which ones rent out first.

The terrorists attacked New York City for two reasons.

First, it is the center of world trade and a major world capital market. The terrorists, mainly well off Saudis, hate this. They are old fashioned aristocrats who feel that the world owes them, not just a living, but a tug on the forelock.

Second, it is the center for immigration and global tolerance, with people from hundreds of nationalities, religions and cultures somehow cooperating in their pursuit of a better life. The terrorists, coming from a repressive, theocratic state hate this. New York City is full of infidels, heathen and uppity women.

This rebuilding would send them a message on both counts.

Shortly after the World Trade Center was destroyed, I was taking a cab ride near Lincoln Towers on the Upper West Side. The driver pointed out the new Trump buildings behind Lincoln Towers and explained, "Donald Trump wanted to build the world's tallest building on that site, but he couldn't get permission from Osama bin Laden".

We should not allow the terrorists to tell us what we can or cannot build.


© Copyright Kaleberg Symbionts 2002