Most residents agree four years later however, that such deep emotions about 9-11 have waned. They can be brought to surface by a photograph of what once was, or through a photograph of a loved one killed that day. The Empire State Building is the tallest icon in the Big Apple...and with each day, residents grow more accustomed to how the city looks without the World Trade Center, once again.
But for New Yorkers, unlike residents of Dallas, TX, or Casper, WY, the world around them grows ever more threatened with a chattering rise of another attack. Residents of the five Boroughs have mixed feelings about what is to replace the World Trade Center. Plans were announced in 2005, that a Freedom Tower of 1,776 feet in height would be built on the site of Ground Zero. For some, the size of the new tower is not comforting.
Perhaps due only to the extensive loss of life, building anything on the former site of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan has become a touchy subject. According to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, "The Freedom Tower will soar...and serve as an inspirational and enduring beacon in the New York City skyline. The Tower's design evokes classic New York skyscrapers in its elegance and symmetry while also referencing the torch of the Statue of Liberty."
The recently revised Freedom Tower, which was sent back to the drawing board in winter 2004 to improve safety features, builds upon the original's extra level of life saving features and will include other "unprecedented" security features. In addition, the Freedom Tower will further its distinction as a world-class model of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.
Despite the attempt to provide New York City with an inspirational replacement to the original towers, not all New Yorkers are happy with the developers' plans. Vincent Nestler, 37, from Brooklyn, who was teaching a computer class in Midtown on the morning of 9-11, said, "I think that any building built at Ground Zero --other than the exact duplicate of the World Trade Center-- maybe a little bigger, is a complete mistake."
He said that any new building, outside of an improved replica, "will serve as a monument to the terrorists. It will be the building that THEY built. The skyline will now forever be a triumphant view that the terrorists will be able to look at to find the will to go on."
Michelle Perkins of Manhattan asked, "Why do they need to rebuild anything right now? It took years to rebuild London and Germany after the war [WWII] what is the hurry?" Perkins, 44, said there are too many issues in New York City that need to be addressed first, "like our outdated sewer system, buckling roads, security in subways."
Nestler said that he feels that if you do not reconstruct the exact buildings that once stood at Ground Zero, "you're in essence giving the terrorists a reward for what they've done. You cannot give the terrorists hope," Nester said. "Terrorism is a mental war not a war of attrition.
"By building the towers again, we would be robbing them of their most precious victory."
No one wants to see the terrorists receive any accolades for what they've done. Oliver Baez, 29, of Manhattan said, "I feel that the Freedom Tower is both a great project and a mediocre one. It is a great project because we are showing to those responsible of destroying the Twin Towers that we are not so easily defeated."
Conversely, "It is a mediocre project because I feel that they should build something as big as or even bigger than before. I know that the Freedom Tower will eventually be taller than the Twins were, but it is only because of the huge antenna that it will have," Baez said. He added that, should the government be "sentimental about the height of the building, I would make it 2,001 feet tall."
Baez believes the 1,776 foot Freedom Tower is supposed to signify the year in which the United States signed their Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. "The real day that should be signified here is September 11, 2001, the day when nearly three thousand people lost their lives," Baez said.
Whether the developers of the site build a Freedom Tower of 1,776 feet or smaller buildings to accommodate office workers in a much less high-profile skyscraper, some people vow never to step foot anywhere near Ground Zero again. Michelle Montana, 28, of Woodside (Queens, NY,) said, "Since 9-11, I refuse to work in any building taller than 15 stories.
"My feeling is that, no plane is going to be able to hit a smaller building and my chances of getting out alive are a lot greater than those poor souls who perished on the morning of September 11th," Montana said.
When asked about the proposed building of a Freedom Tower, Montana said she welcomed the idea, but remains fearful for the people who might forget what happened and put themselves at risk only to make a living. "Some people will figure, 'what are the chances on something like 9-11 happening again?' All I have to say is they [the terrorists] hit us in 1993, and people went back to work after that.
Despite the risks and history [now] of the World Trade Center site, "Who's to say people will have no problem working in whatever tower they build now?"
According to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the new structure will still [be] located on the northwest corner of the World Trade Center site, the revised Freedom Tower features a cubic base, rather than a parallelogram as originally conceived, and is set back further from West Street, to an average of 90 feet. As part of the new design, the tower's footprint, measuring 200 feet by 200 feet, is the same size as the footprints of the original Twin Towers.
Recreating the same footprints of the original Twin Towers makes New Yorkers like Sandra Friedman, 48, of Riverdale, very happy. "If we're going to continue to live in a free society, we're going to have to show the terrorists of the world that we're not afraid.
"We can only establish this sort of leverage against these lunatics if we stand our ground," Friedman said. If the World Trade Center was to be re-built exactly where it was destroyed, "we'd show the terrorists and the world that the United States is and will always be the greatest country in the world," she said.
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