Taking the Measure of the New Freedom Tower
(9 Letters)


July 1, 2005 | OP/ED

To the Editor:

Re "A Better Tower" (editorial, June 30):

While I still think ground zero should be kept strictly as a memorial out of respect for those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 attacks, I have to admit that the latest plans for the new Freedom Tower are looking more promising.

The newly proposed Freedom Tower looks better. Its form is simpler, and it's easier on the eyes. The first proposed drawing of the Freedom Tower looked a little too tacky for an office building. More important, though, is the fact that the building was redesigned to be safer from any future terrorist attack.

Whatever the actual final design for the former World Trade Center turns out to be, it seems only fair that it should have to be voted on and approved by the families of the 9/11 victims before it is actually built.

Jerry T. Johnson
Bloomington, Minn., June 30, 2005

To the Editor:

The new Freedom Tower is not a monument to freedom, but a monument to fear. Instead of standing as a symbol of courage and the determination of Americans not to be bowed by the events of Sept. 11, 2001, it has become just the opposite.

The tower was redesigned to address the security concerns of the New York Police Department. In doing so, it has also become a victim.

Gail C. Weisgrau
Clifton, N.J., June 30, 2005

To the Editor:

Re "Redesign Puts Freedom Tower on a Fortified Base" (front page, June 30):

It doesn't take an architect to see that the design of the Freedom Tower and World Trade Center site has morphed into one of the initial massing studies - exercises that test a building program and site each with respect to the other - that everyone hated so much three years ago.

While the earlier scheme was a starting point that might have developed into something inspired, the current one is a dead end, sterile and incapable of redemption.

James V. Czajka
New York, June 30, 2005
The writer is an architect.

To the Editor:

The latest Freedom Tower design is a glaring testament to a lack of leadership and vision.

It does appear to reflect what we really care about: return on investment and making a buck no matter what the consequences.

What a sad day for America, what a dull face to show the world. What is "Freedom" without leadership and vision? It's a good thing the Statue of Liberty is looking out to sea.

Michel Pariseau
Ivoryton, Conn., June 30, 2005
The writer is director of project development, Centerbrook Architects and Planners.

To the Editor:

The new plan for the Freedom Tower, if built, would represent a monument to the victory of terror and fear over human freedom. Isolated from the city grid, perched on a fortress-like pedestal, hostile to strangers and closed to the outside, it is everything a free society and especially a free city is not.

Once upon a time, cities proudly proclaimed that "city air makes free." Now, we propose to build a cage and lock ourselves in it.

Daniel J. H. Greenwood
Salt Lake City, June 30, 2005

To the Editor:

Making the Freedom Tower as resistant as possible to destruction by blast is obviously a prudent course of action.

However, expecting terrorists to attack in the same way as previously is the same error armed forces always seem to make in thinking that the next war will be somehow similar to the last.

Every building system - water supply, ventilation, lighting, circulation, communication - must be evaluated and hardened against attack by an enemy who has proved to be inventive and resourceful.

Bruce Atlas
Whitestone, Queens, June 30, 2005
The writer is an engineer.

To the Editor:

The newly designed tower features a 200-foot-high concrete and steel base that is more a sign of fear than freedom. This immense block shows that our open society is contracting in the face of threats of terrorism.

The appropriate security measures need to be taken, but not at the expense of the beauty and inspiration the Freedom Tower is to bring. Our skyline represents the dreams of all who live in and visit this city. The new design effectively says we are shutting our doors and limiting our visions to the future.

We should build the original towers even taller, place blast-proof barriers at ground level and have a permanent Air National Guard unit on the roof on alert. This is the best way to tell would-be terrorists and the world that we will not change our way of life, but only strive for greater achievement.

Thomas G. Kochilas
Elmhurst, Queens, June 30, 2005

To the Editor:

What makes the Freedom Tower unsafe is not its original design but the arrogance of its height. The symbols of freedom have never been the biggest of their category.

Now that the original Freedom Tower is gone, we may as well rename this one the Fear Tower.

Maria Gallastegui
Boulder, Colo., June 30, 2005

To the Editor:

Your June 30 editorial about the Freedom Tower says the design "still incorporates a meaningless numerical coincidence - an overall height of 1,776 feet at the top of the antenna." To call this meaningless demeans an important connection between that date and 9/11. Can you not grasp the parallel struggles for freedom from the oppression of tyranny and from the oppression of fear?

More important, you say, is that the observation deck will be "1,362 feet, with a parapet that rises six feet higher," the heights of the twin towers. This symbolism is self-referential and empty. We honor those who were lost, not the buildings that collapsed around them.

Leonard Temko
Chicago, June 30, 2005