Letters to the editor

Keep trade center superblock

To The Editor:

I have to express my dissenting opinion, given the praise for your editorial by Michael Kuo of Imagine NY, one of the groups whose views it praised and which I think has been trying hard to steer the rebuilding process in the wrong direction (editorial, July 29 – Aug. 4, 2003, “Reviewing plans for the W.T.C.,” letters, Aug. 5-11, 2003, “Rebuilding coverage”).

No matter what our views on urban design, it is monstrous opportunism to seek to use the terrorist slaughter of thousands to impose a vision materially different from that of the former World Trade Center on the site it occupied. There is plenty of space in Manhattan where “new visions” do not constitute obedience to the will of mass murderers.

The official planning process refused to consider designs that kept the superblock intact, insisting on tearing Greenwich St. all the way through, and this is why the plans produced had an unacceptably crowded appearance. Maintain the large street-free expanse and it is easier to build enough office space without cluttering the site or condemning other sites.

The answer is to build fewer, taller buildings, set back from fewer streets, amid an open plaza and memorial. Daniel Libeskind’s gaping pit and flimsy spire prove the incompetence of those who selected them. We cannot “derail the process” and proceed again with more reasonable program requirements fast enough.

Louis Epstein

World Trade Center Restoration Movement