I shot the first two photos in the early 1990s, the first from the Staten Island Ferry, and the second from the 86th Floor Observatory Deck of the Empire State Building. I lived in Flushing, Queens during this time. The Twin Towers were an important part of my life, as they frequently punctuated childhood visits to Manhattan. I worked there for a week as a temp; worked six months in the neighborhood, and celebrated my first wedding anniversary there.
A Day that will Live in Infamy
When these attacks were launched upon our nation, I was working for Con Edison doing desktop support and LAN administration. I had been there about 18 months and had the good fortune to be at at our Victory Blvd. facility in Staten Island, some 30 miles away from the Twin Towers that day. My wife was supposed to be exiting the Battery Tunnel at the time the first plane struck as she would have been on her way to a dance class. After an hour of frantic calling, I learned that she stayed home.
I wanted a Reagan-like response to the September 11 attacks. As the hours passed, I waited. Nothing. Our response would come October 7, 2001 at 12:30 EDT. I was in Boston with my wife as we visited a relative of hers who was attending Harvard University on a partial scholarship. That day, I felt I had to visit all the historic sites in the area — Faneuil Hall, Bunker Hill, Lexington, Concord. When I heard the Battle Hymn of the Republic being played on church bells, I ran to find a TV, and that was where I saw that the War in Afghanistan had started.
While George W. Bush was no Ronald Reagan, he did keep us safe following 9/11, for there was not one attack on US soil. Indeed many attempts were foiled and many Al Qaeda sleeper cells were busted up.
Much Visible Progress Made at WTC Site since 2012
One WTC (Formerly “Freedom Tower”) as seen from West and Murray Streets on September 2, 2013. The spire was completed on May 10. Now the second tower crane that was used for building out the roof is removed with only the base left to be removed followed by the davit / derrick being used to remove the tower cranes. Once interior build-out is complete, the construction elevator on the east face of the building will come down. One WTC is 1,398 feet to the roof, 1,776 feet to the beacon and 1,792 feet to the tip of the lighting rod.
Four WTC as seen August 31, 2013 at dusk. All exterior work on this building is complete and interior build-out is ongoing. Four WTC is 977 feet tall.
Three WTC as seen the morning of August 17, 2013 is currently going to top out at 7 floors as a retail podium, but if a lease with a major anchor tenant moves forward, the building will rise to 80 floors and a height greater than 1100 feet.
As seen in this shot courtesy of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, posted August 22, 2013, the transit hub ribs and spine are above street level.
This photo courtesy of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and posted around July 17 shows both the Transit Hub and Two WTC behind it. Two WTC will be topped out at six to eight floors as a retail podium. No anchor tenant is even in negotiation on a lease for this space yet and absent an anchor tenant, the tower cannot proceed.
Towers of Light being tested on September 6, 2013 as seen from my home office.
WTC Update 2013
One and Four WTC are are structurally complete and remaining work on them is internal build-out. Working our way clockwise around the site, the performing arts center remains a broken dream. The transit hub oculus is above grade level, but the building is way over budget and this is after value engineering. Though it will be a beautiful transit center, the $4 billion price tag is very heavy for a subway station that will serve about 60,000 commuters per year. Silverstein Properties is building 200 Greenwich Street (Two WTC) and 175 Greenwich Street (Three WTC), and both buildings are being capped as seven-story buildings for now housing only retail. An anchor tenant is in negotiation for Three WTC, but no tenant has approached Two WTC. Neither Two nor Three WTC has a committed lease and without signed, committed leases, no bank will finance construction of an office tower. Though the outdoor portion of the memorial is functioning and has been receiving visitors since 2011 – the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks the memorial museum remains at a standstill for lack of funding. The Vehicle Security Center is proceeding on pace, and St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church is to be rebuilt atop it. Another office tower – Five WTC – is still not even in a design phase.
Part of the trouble finding tenants for the WTC site is rooted in the 300-year-old rivalry between Midtown and Downtown. Midtown commands far higher rents than Downtown and is much more accessible. Technology has also reduced the need for humongous trading floors and offices, as our smart phones, laptops, and tablets enable us to work anywhere: in the office, at home, in another state or halfway around the world. When the Twin Towers were built, we used rotary phones and mimeographs. Computers were mainframes that needed an entire floor. Movies were on reels and the eight-track tape was advanced technology. Even in the 12 years that have passed since the destruction of the WTC site, offices and office technology have completely changed. When Towers Two, Three and Five are finally built, they will no doubt reflect and serve the needs of tenants for the era in which they’re built.
You can see regularly updated progress on the WTC site at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s WTC Progress site. You can also view the official One WTC site, and Silverstein Properties WTC Site for more information.
Resurrection and Juxtaposition
It was at the same Victory Blvd. facility nearly seven years to the day following 9/11, that I would hear the resurrection of Ronald Reagan. As I pulled my assigned minivan out of the lot and turned on the radio, her voice and words would so transfix me that after two blocks I could not drive anymore. The yearning for leadership I felt at that Victory Blvd. location some seven years earlier was answered by a woman’s voice, whose name I did not even know at the time.
Gov. Palin’s Commander-In-Chief Experience Highlights
Though former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is not currently running for any elective office, today is a day we have traditionally highlighted her Commander-In-Chief experience. It is right and appropriate that this tradition continue, especially considering that the Obama administration is Hell-bent on supporting Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria – the sub-humans who brought us September 11. Of course, Assad is an evil man in his own right, which is why Gov. Palin twice said we should let Allah sort it out.
Gov. Palin has commander-in-chief experience and accomplishments that were concomitant with her job. Two, very simple phrases describe her military doctrine: “peace through strength,” and “we win, they lose.” In her speech delivered at Colorado Christian University on May 2, 2011, Gov. Palin outlined her five-point military doctrine in detail:
- First, we should only commit our forces when clear and vital American interests are at stake. Period.
- Second, if we have to fight, we fight to win. To do that, we use overwhelming force. We only send our troops into war with the objective to defeat the enemy as quickly as possible. We do not stretch out our military with open-ended and ill-defined missions. Nation building is a nice idea in theory, but it is not the main purpose of our armed forces. We use our military to win wars.
- And third, we must have clearly defined goals and objectives before sending troops into harm’s way. If you can’t explain the mission to the American people clearly and concisely, then our sons and daughters should not be sent into battle. Period.
- Fourth, American soldiers must never be put under foreign command. We will fight side by side with our allies, but American soldiers must remain under the care and the command of American officers.
- Fifth, sending in our armed forces should be the last resort. We don’t go looking for dragons to slay. However, we will encourage the forces of freedom around the world who are sincerely fighting for the empowerment of the individual. When it makes sense, when it’s appropriate, we will provide them with material support to help them win their own freedom.
Gov. Palin’s military doctrine is clearly patterned after her forebear, Ronald Reagan.
Watch as she interrupted her own VP campaign to return to Alaska and bid her troops farewell to Iraq on September 11, 2008. Her son, Track was among them.
Walter Reed Part I, December 6, 2009 7:01 AM EST:
Twitter: “Headed to Walter Reed hospital this morn to meet wounded warriors;will give them msg of support from patriots who love these selfless troops.”
Walter Reed Part II, December 6, 2009 10:41 AM EST:
Twitter: “Leaving Walter Reed Hosp;met America’s finest;seeing these young soldiers who sacrifice so much changes your life/puts things in perspective.”
Craig E. Campbell who served as Alaska’s Lieutenant Governor, and as the Alaska National Guard’s Adjutant General discusses Gov. Palin’s Commander-in-Chief skills in the foregoing video. Campbell has since gone on to become President and Chief Operating Officer of the Alaska Aerospace Corporation. Special thank you to Gary P. Jackson for informing me about this video, which aired in 2008. Selected quotes from the video:
“Right after she got elected, when she was sworn in as governor, one of the first things in one of our briefings — she asked me ‘where are our soldiers (AK National Guard) deployed and how can I go see them?”
-Craig E. Campbell
“When she came home to Alaska, she brought home ideas about what soldiers’ desires were, what family needs were and implemented those into law the following year…that’s what a Commander-in-Chief does – is take care of soldiers, take care of airman, and she does it exceptionally well.”
-Craig E. Campbell
“She is above and beyond what a governor would do. I’ve watched and seen this for a long time in many states around the country. There a few governors that rise to the challenge and they take the National Guard as their own and they really want to provide the services that a commander-in-chief needs. Sarah Palin does that. She goes to deployments, she goes to returns. When we work the budget for the state, she wants to make sure that the state is putting the right amount of money in to support the soldiers’ and airman’s needs and our National Guard. When she does policy, she makes sure soldier’s families are taken care of in the State of Alaska. This is what a Commander-in-Chief does.”
-Craig E. Campbell
From: “Governor Palin Visits Alaska National Guard in Kosovo” on the State of Alaska, Governor archive site:
“As commander-in-chief, Governor Palin is the one we look to for leadership and inspiration while serving and defending the sovereign boundaries of Alaska,” said Lt. Gen. (AK) Craig E. Campbell, Adjutant General of the Alaska National Guard.
Gov. Palin at the WTC site and with FDNY 2008
Gov. Palin’s Leadership…
-“Praesis ut prosis ne ut imperes”
-Lead in order to serve, not in order to rule.