May 18, 2005,
Manhattan real-estate magnate Donald Trump this morning embraced Twin Towers II, a plan to erect at Ground Zero a bigger, stronger version of the demolished World Trade Center. As 24 TV cameras, 10 still photographers, and dozens of journalists carried this news around the Earth, Trump spoke passionately in the lobby of his eponymous Trump Tower. He excoriated what’s planned for Lower Manhattan today and was effusive about what he hopes will rise there tomorrow.
“In a nutshell, Freedom Tower should not be allowed to be built,” Trump said. “It is not appropriate to downtown New York,” Trump continued. “It’s not appropriate to the United States. It’s not appropriate to freedom.”
Trump referred to the widely panned, narrowly configured structure concocted by avant-garde architect Daniel Libeskind. Amid NYPD safety concerns, Governor George Pataki on May 4 ordered the Freedom Tower to be redrafted by another designer, David Childs.
Asked if the Freedom Tower and “Reflecting Absence” the waterfall-filled matching holes that constitute the slated memorial should be scrapped after being selected in two international competitions, Trump bluntly replied: “Absolutely. Throw it all away.” Trump called the Freedom Tower and the buildings planned around it “the worst pile-of-crap architecture I ever have seen.” He added that the Freedom Tower “is nothing more than a skeleton…If we rebuild the World Trade Center in the form of a skeleton, Freedom Tower, the terrorists win.”
Ironically, one of Trump’s buildings, 40 Wall Street, became lower Manhattan’s tallest structure after the original Twin Towers collapsed during the September 11 terrorist attacks. “I want 40 Wall Street no longer to be the tallest building in Downtown,” Trump said. “I want it to be superseded by a taller, stronger, more beautiful version of the World Trade Center.”
Trump, architect Herbert Belton, structural engineer Ken Gardner, and supporters of this proposal stood before a nine-foot tall model of Twin Towers II. These facsimiles alone, Trump said, elicited strong emotions.
“We put the model up. Since the model was put up, people have walked by. Many of the people start crying, openly crying, in Trump Tower.”
To gain even more exposure for the Twin Towers II plan, Trump announced that he would include the architectural model in Thursday night’s finale of his TV program, The Apprentice, on NBC at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
The Twin Towers II model will be on display through Thursday afternoon in the lobby of Trump Tower, 725 Fifth Avenue (between 56th and 57th Streets) in Manhattan. It may return there after its close-up on The Apprentice.
As for the actual skyscrapers envisioned, Ken Gardner explained, Twin Towers II would incorporate a double skin of steel; a solid core; six, rather than the original three, staircases; and other safety improvements. Trump added that stronger steel, concrete, and related materials are available today that were not when the World Trade Center was erected in the late 1960s and early 1970s. All of these advancements should contribute to much-better fortified buildings.
Trump compared this new challenge with one he accepted during the Ed Koch mayoralty. Central Park’s Wollman Ice Rink lay in disrepair for seven years. When the city finally lumbered around to fixing it, the revamp was expected to last another two years. Trump stepped in and reopened the rink under budget in three months. “This is a large version of the Wollman Rink,” Trump said.
If the public applies enough pressure to New York’s powers that be, Trump may get the chance to apply the lessons of Wollman Rink to the World Trade Center.
Trump said he hoped Americans would “write to Governor Pataki and demand that the World Trade Center be rebuilt in a bigger, better form.”
Here is how concerned citizens can reach Pataki:
Governor George Pataki
The late Senator Everett Dirksen (R., Ill.) once famously said: “When I feel the heat, I see the light.” It’s time for the American people to build a bonfire.
Deroy Murdock is a New York–based writer who has promoted Twin Towers II since the plan was unveiled in February 2004.