Confusion at Ground Zero
A vacuum of leadership
Trump offers alternative plan for WTC site
BY PRADNYA JOSHI
May 18, 2005, 2:55 PM EDT
For Donald Trump, going back to the old is new again.
Trump, who has already transformed the skyline of the Upper West Side with a new development as well as many other Manhattan neighborhoods, this morning said Gov. George Pataki should endorse an existing plan that calls for the rebuilding of the Twin Towers at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan.
The project, called Twin Towers II, is a spitting image of the old World Trade Center towers, but is fortified with much stronger construction material and is one story higher at 111 stories.
Trump this morning called the iconic 1,776-foot Freedom Tower a disgrace and said if he were in charge, the rebuilding would have already begun.
Trump called the designs for Ground Zero "worst pile of crap architecture I've ever seen."
He said the design by engineer Ken Gardner and architect Herbert Belton is "taller, stronger and more beautiful" than anything that the architect commissioned to create Freedom Tower has proposed.
There's always the temptation to write Donald Trump off as an asclown with a big mouth.
But that would be wrong. I have never been much of a Trump fan, but he can capture the zeitsgeist of the city. When he ranted about he wronglyfully convicted Central Park Jogger attackers, he was representing a lot of the city. While his record on race is nothing to brag about, Trump may be on to something besides his ego here.
Mayor Bloomberg has invested almost no effort in the WTC reconstruction. Almost all of his energies have been directed towards the West Side and the boondoggle called a stadium. The governor has been more interested in running for President than getting his major project off the ground. And make no mistake, his governorship will be judged by the WTC reconstruction. His weak, almost invisible, leadership has caused the project to stall. And Bloomberg's almost spiteful disinterest hasn't helped matters much either.
Trump is stepping in because there is no real leadership. As Michael Goodwin in this Sunday's Daily News said it "we need a Robert Moses." Well, we don't need an out of touch autocrat, who hated blacks and the city, but we need a strong leader who will make this a primary focus of his administration. It is simply outrageous that Bloomberg can talk about a stadium, two if you count the Atlantic Avenue Nets project, while there is a massive hole where two of the world's largest buildings use to be. Talk of anything else is offensive and irritating.
But Bloomberg wants the Olympics, a legal nightmare waiting to happen, and seems to pay only lip service to Ground Zero and the buildings there.
One thing Trump is right about, no one likes the new design. They don't hate it, but it's just there, chosen by politicians and left to flounder.
So in steps Trump, not so much to push a design or get PR, but to force movement. Which, sad to say, is needed. The Twin Towers got more attention in the last few days than the last six months.
posted by Steve @ 4:55:00 PM