January 26, 2006

Divided We Stand - A Biography of New York's World Trade Center

By Eric Darton

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Title Page
Back Cover Text
Table of Contents
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A Biography of New York's World Trade Center

Basic Books

A Member of the Perseus Book Group

Back Cover Text


"A compelling cautionary tale that deserves to be read by architects, public administrators, elect- ed officials, and humble citizens who care to understand what is at stake when irresponsible power is permitted to design the world to its liking."
– TODD GITLIN, The American Prospect

"Eric Darton's [Divided We Stand] is a model not only of writing but of citizenship. It fuses analytical brilliance with personal feeling. Eric knows and shows where the bodies are buried, but he never lets his anger poison his underlying love. He shows us how to confront all that has been done to our town, and how to live through it and lay claim to the city as our own."
- MARSHALL BERMAN, author of All That Is Solid Melts Into Air

"Divided We Stand... is an engaging book, and often beautifully written, intercutting vignettes of local history with a chronicle of the political, ideological and financial tides that once swept through the city, leaving the Trade Center in their wake."

"More than an eloquent meditation on one of New York's most recognizable architectural markers, Eric Darton's Divided We Stand pops with luminous insights into the social, economic and cultural contradictions of a city and a time. A must read."
- STUART EWEN, author of PR!

"A zesty, succinct contextualization of the World Trade Center, its seaminess and semiotics."

When the World Trade Center in New York City was erected at the Hudson River’s edge, it forever changed the character of the American City. In “Divided We Stand,” Eric Darton chronicles the life of this billion-dollar building, using it as a lens through which to view the broader 20th century trend toward urbanized, global culture. Drawing on political, social, and personal history, Darton pioneers a new, hybrid genre of architectural biography, revealing the convergence of four volatile elements in contemporary urban life: super-tall buildings, financial speculation, globalization, and terrorism.

This story of the building and bombing of the World Trade Center will resonate with readers of architecture, social history or urban planning, as well as with anyone who has experienced with wonder or chagrin the poetics of a particular place. A meticulously researched historical account, “Divided We Stand” is a contemporary indictment of the prevailing urban order in the spirit of Jane Jacob’s “The Death and Life of Great American Cities.” Like that mid-century classic, “Divided We Stand” invites us, wherever we may live, to reimagine the city as we know it.

ERIC DARTON is the author of the critically-acclaimed novel, Free City, and is the fiction editor of American Letters & Commentary. He has taught media, technology and cultural studies at Hunter College and Fordham University, and currently teaches private writing workshops. He has been the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction and a Bread Loaf Fiction Fellowship.

Learn more about this book at: http://ericdarton.net

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Part I

1 Fair Warnings                       2
2 Maneuvers Toward a City of Towers  18
3 Port Authority Rules               38
4 Billion-Dollar Baby                60

Part II

5 The Coming Thing                   88
6 The Thing Itself                  112
7 Being There                       144
8 Ripple Effects                    164

The Space Between                   188

Selected Bibliography               225

Index                               233


This book began quite unintentionally in 1992 as a research paper written for a seminar on mass media and contemporary culture taught by Stuart Ewen at the City University of New York Graduate Center. Later, as my thesis adviser in the Hunter College Department of Media Studies, Professor Ewen provided intellectual generosity, moral support, and methodological guidance that helped advance the project to the point where it became possible to conceive of it as a book.

Serafina Bathrick, then chair of the Hunter Media Studies Department, insisted with convincing firmness-in her dual capacities as mentor and friend-that I pursue the expansion of this work into its current form. I also owe a great debt to Alane Salierno Mason, whose critical feedback cleared away much debris and raised the narrative's key elements into higher relief.

Christina Spellman contributed generously of her expertise and erudition. It was through her that I met Wolfgang Schivelbusch, whose lucid reckonings of politics and culture provided a historical matrix for the towers so tantalizingly visible through his windows.

Throughout a research and writing process whose elapsed time exceeded that of the trade towers' construction, Joe MacDowell served as a one-person urban bibliography, architectural consultant, and literary critic. Frazier Russell earned my permanent gratitude for his rock-steady and often-expressed belief that this book would eventually make a place for itself in the world. He also introduced me to the work of John Sanford, whose unflinching prose in the cause of historical rescue became my unattainable standard. Bill Gubbins kept my spirits up, urging me on with well-timed bursts of affirmation. Through their heroic feats of language, my writing students lent me the heart to press on with revisions.

Elizabeth Kandall made it possible to imagine inhabiting the unimaginable space of the trade center's basement and the dark cellars of this text. Wilma Kehrig fed my efforts at her dining room table, and Elva Kehrig sustained them with her financial generosity. If a book can be seen as a building, Paul Farhi provided the bedrock in which this one is moored.

Two cafes, Patisserie Lanciani, formerly on West 4th Street between Bank and 11th Streets, and Le Gamin, at the corner of 21st Street and 9th Avenue, provided hassle-free work space and several fortuitous chance encounters that vastly enriched this story. Distinguished faculty members of these "penny universities" included Bettina Carbonell, B. J. Jaffe, Sam Livingston, Marilyn DeLeo, and Walter Vatter.

Jenny Dixon, Richard Dandrea, Ethel Jaffe, Stanley Geller, Joseph Berridge, and Sidney Frigand, all direct participants in the extended World Trade Center drama, contributed generously of their time and personal narrations. Gary Gatza, Kiersta Fricke, George Agudow, Paul Elie, Bronwyn Mills, Michael Florescu, Elena Alexander, and Eric Borrer lent crucial support. Jay Kaplan, editor of Culturefront, and Marisa Bartolucci and David Brown of Metropolis caused extracts of earlier drafts of this book to appear in print. Bettina Schrewe helped guide it to its publisher.

To Gloria Loomis, the Demeter of literary agents, much gratitude is due. Her assistants, especially Katherine Fausset, did wonders for my sense of well-being. John Donatich, my editor at Basic Books, re mained dedicated to the spirit in which this biography is told. Consequently, his interventions remain transparent, yet the text is everywhere marked with testaments to his fine ear for language and his eye for structure and detail. Thanks are also due to his assistant, Caroline Sparrow, for engagement and enthusiasm above and beyond the call.

I will never run out of gratitude toward my wife and companera, Katie Kehrig, and our daughter Gwendolyn Helena Kehrig-Darton, whose presences made this book's odyssey a joyous game, well worth the candle.

E.D., New York City, May 5, 1999


As an architect, if I had an economic or social
limitations, I'd solve all my problems with one
story buildings. Imagine how pleasant it would be
to always work and plan spaces overlooking lovely
gardens filled with flowers.
-Minoru Yamasaki, architect of the World Trade Center

Text Selections

From Page 11:

Credit is the vital air of the system of modern commerce.
It has done more, a thousand times more, to enrich nations 
than all the mines of the world.

This encomium to the superior virtues of a symbolic economy 
might well have inspired J. P Morgan, who, like John D. Rockefeller, 
Russell Sage, and Henry Clay Frick, escaped assassination and died of 
natural causes. In 1912, when he was advanced in years but still very 
much in control, Morgan was called to testify before the House Com-
mittee on Banking and Currency, then investigating the growth of mo-
nopolies. Though hard pressed by the brilliant trial attorney and 
political reformer Samuel Untermeyer, the seventy-five-year-old 
banker-whose personal wealth had averted the federal government's 
bankruptcy in the Panic of 1893-contemptuously dismissed accusa-
tions that he controlled the elite Lower Manhattan "money trust." In-
stead, he diverted his examiner onto the subject of commercial credit. 
Questioned as to his criteria for making loans to a prospective bor-
rower, Morgan replied that "the first thing is character."

"Before money or property?" Untermeyer asked.

"Before money or anything else.... Because a man I do not trust 
could not get money from me on all the bonds in Christendom." 

However disingenuous his statement, and for all his enmeshment in 
leverage and credit, the legendary financier, when building the enduring 
symbol of the House of Morgan, chose to remain close to the earthbound 
stratum of mundane toil and accumulation. In 1913, he opened the Wall 
Street bank building whose walls would be scarred by explosive shrap-
nel seven years later. The austere white Classical Revival structure 
stands today, officially protected as a landmark. Its stark marble facade 
broken only by narrow, deeply recessed windows, the Morgan Bank re-
sembles a fortress, frozen while mutating into a mausoleum. But it does 
not appear to be built on top of anything. Rather, it conveys the impres-
sion of having been extruded out of the subterranean rock-less a con-
structed building than the surface outcropping of a far deeper mass, 
whose topmost peak has been sculpted into a bank.

Morgan's name appears nowhere on the facade-an explicit state-
ment, under the circumstances of the time, of the impossibility of 
doubting whose bank it was. Morgan chose to build a four-story struc-
ture, instead of the skyscraper he might have, on one of Lower Man-
hattan's most valuable parcels of real estate.
From Page 52:

[The "PA" is the "Port Authority," which is a private investment group, as described in this book, backed by bonds to people living in the states of New Jersey and New York:]

Had tolls from the Holland Tunnel not provided the PA with a steady 
stream of revenue, it would have had to suspend debt service on several 
works-in-progress, among them the George Washington Bridge.

Throughout its history, the PA has enjoyed a level of state nurtu-
rance far beyond that of a self-sustaining business competing in the 
open market. Few start-up ventures, for example, find themselves 
granted legally protected monopolies-in this case over the port dis-
trict's airports, and the connecting bridge and tunnel links between the 
two states. But what enables the PA to leapfrog beyond the wildest 
dreams of entrepreneurial enterprise is its indenture pledges. These 
are, in effect, contracts assuring bondholders that New York and New 
Jersey will honor the PA's debt obligations in the event of a default.

Even from the outset, the Port Authority's leaders grasped and ex-
ploited the rhetorical value of publicly comparing their agency's work-
ings to that of a modern corporation. Julius Henry Cohen, a young 
attorney of exceptional intelligence and mental flexibility had con-
sulted on the Harbor Commission's Joint Report and subsequently 
drafted the PA's founding contract. Appointed the PA's general counsel, 
he advocated stamping the nascent agency with the recognizable fea-
tures of a profit-making enterprise, based on the shrewd assumption 
that the investors would feel most comfortable lending to folks who 
thought as they did.

Cohen knew that for the PA to grow into an organization powerful 
enough to shape the region's future, it would have to emerge from be-
hind the skirts of state subsidy and into the marketplace. In They 
Builded Better Than They Knew, his 1946 encomium to the public cor-
poration movement, Cohen reminisced about the PA's salad days, when 
its yearly six-figure state income amounted to "chickenfeed." To build 
an agency on the scale he and Outerbridge envisioned, "we needed 
millions of dollars. Hundreds of millions." Fortunately for Cohen-and 
for Austin Tobin, the future Port Authority titan waiting in the wings-
"through Outerbridge's influence we made contact with pretty nearly 
every one of the leaders in the financial world." It was this financial 
leadership that saw in the Port Authority a public agency that would 
carry forward their interests as "the best interests of all."

From Page 78:

[Regarding "David" and "Nelson" Rockefeller:]

David's road rules for personal image-shaping were simple and un-
varying: Remain an eminence; avoid becoming a celebrity. Seek expo-
sure only when it furthers a strategic purpose. Speak for the record 
only with journalists who consider it a privilege to be in your presence. 
A comparison of David's and Nelson's biographies speaks volumes-
and the lack of them. More than a dozen books have been written about 
Nelson, ranging along a continuum from excoriating to sycophantic. 
Only one has been written about his brother, and it hardly reflects the 
veneration of a loyal scribe. Rather, David, William Hoffman's unau-
thorized 1971 biography, may be read as a literary prefiguration of 
Michael Moore's 1987 film Roger and Me, since its narrative is orga-
nized around the absence of its subject and the author's dogged quest 
for a dialogue with a shadow figure.

But David was no recluse. He simply insisted on choosing his mo-
ments to go public. And on picking his friends, from whom he elicited 
an extraordinary level of trust and loyalty, manifest in nearly universal 
and apparently sincere praise. On a frigid winter's day in late 1959, 
David convinced his friend Andre Meyer, founder and head of Lazard 
Freres, to don a hard hat and ride with him to the top of the still-skele-
tal Chase Plaza in an open-air construction elevator. For Meyer, the 
perilous trip to the summit and the "splendid view of New York harbor" 
from sixty stories up gave him an insight into what made his fellow 
banker run. "Many people do things because they can't avoid it," 
Meyer said. "David does them out of sincerity."

Interviewed for a 1965 New Yorker article, which appeared just 
months before the Port Authority demolished the first building on the 
site of the World Trade Center, Meyer affirmed his devotion. "There's 
nothing on earth I wouldn't do for David. It's not because he's a Rock-
efeller, but because he's the kind of human being you want to do some-
thing for. I've never seen him mean. I've always seen him acting with 
poise and class, and greatness. In this financial jungle, you have all 
kinds of animals. He's the best." And a competing Wall Street banker 
echoed Meyer's encomium: "All the Rockefellers have been brought up 
to love humanity. David just likes people."

And David may indeed have liked Guy Tozzoli. Certainly he would 
have smiled indulgently in thinking Tozzoli an unvarnished reflection 
of himself. Though they came from widely divergent backgrounds, the 
two men shared a similar metapolitical ideal. Tozzoli had learned, in an 
altogether different school than had the Chase banker-statesman, the 
value of thinking globally and acting locally. What moved Tozzoli was
From Page 79:

the vision of an all-embracing network of trade linking cities globally 
in a great fraternal chain that would turn the wheels of commerce for 
the benefit of all.

Born to a working-class family in New Jersey in the 1930s, Tozzoli 
took a job with the Port Authority in the mid-1950s where he rose 
through the ranks of Austin Tobin's tough-love meritocracy to head the 
World Trade Center Department during the clearance of Radio Row 
and the trade towers' construction. After retiring from the PA in the 
late 1970s, Tozzoli founded and became president of the World Trade 
Centers Association. The WTCA is a membership organization of some 
three hundred real estate developments in seventy-five countries wo-
ven into a kind of information-age Hanseatic League. Tozzoli's abiding 
faith in the beneficent power of global, borderless trade is distilled in 
this extract from an unedited 1993 promotional video.

We're like one world. We cut all those borders out. We have no people 
representing a country. Each Trade Center represents its local city ... 
so Taipei sits next to Shanghai and Beijing, and Tel Aviv sits next to 

When the walls came down in the Eastern bloc countries, people 
came and said "makes no difference anymore, we don't have to worry 
about our politics-what we were or what we're going to be-all we 
want to do is business." We want to create one world with no political 
boundaries, with people working together to help one another through 
fair international business ... to create jobs and work together to keep 
people living together in harmony.

All in all, not a far cry from David's "one world, governed by the logi-
cal motive for profit."


In 1928, the hoary savants of the New York real estate establishment 
laughed in their sleeves when John D. Jr. signed what was generally 
considered a bad lease for the Columbia University-owned land on 
which he was to build Rockefeller Center. And for a generation and 
more, the Center bearing the family's name was widely assumed to 
constitute a chronic drain on its fortunes. But Junior's children per-
severed and hung onto their interest through all kinds of changing
From Page 80:

market weather. In 1988, a year after Wall Street's Black Monday, as 
midtown values peaked, the family flipped the landmark complex to 
Mitsubishi Properties for an estimated $3 billion. The Rockefeller 
Center deal may or may not have been the largest single real estate 
transaction in New York City history, but it was certainly a master-
fully laid trap. When the market hit bottom and languished there for 
years, the then-bankrupt Center hemorrhaged millions. In 1996, 
David led a consortium that paid Mitsubishi's creditors pennies on 
the dollar and again brought Rockefeller Center back into the family 

However questionable the ethical basis of Rockefeller wealth, one 
overarching characteristic of the family has, from the early years of 
John D. Sr. and the Standard Oil monopoly, remained essentially be 
yond dispute. The Rockefellers have demonstrated a highly developed 
capacity for coordinating complex political and economic maneuvers 
over long periods of time. Thus the strategies invoked by David and 
Nelson in their protracted battle for Lower Manhattan existed at a fun-
damentally different level from that of their adversaries. Their clan had 
staked its claim in the financial district a generation before most of the 
Radio Row merchants had, either literally or metaphorically, gotten off 
the boat.

By comparison with the Rockefellers, Oscar Nadel, the intelli-
gent and charismatic leader of Radio Row, possessed a much more 
immediate and localized game plan-and an entirely different notion 
of what business in America was about. In Nadel's scenario, you 
rented a store in a good location for the kind of trade you wanted to 
do. You stocked it with merchandise you knew something about how 
to service. If you thought the window display down the street at East 
Radio had some style to it, you hired the same guy to do your win-
dows too. Over the years, you sold reputable products for a reason-
able profit margin to customers you expected to sell to again. You 
advertised seasonal sales, upgraded next year's catalog, gradually ex-
panded your product line. You saved to send your kids to college, and 
if things worked out well, you bought a house in the outer boroughs 
or suburbs.

Rockefeller power was, by contrast, strategic power. Its model 
was not the everyday give-and-take of the merchants' new world 
shtetl but rather the imperial military campaign. It worked by pro 
jecting a set of long-term objectives into a wide range of scenarios. 
On such an abstract field of operation, mobilized wealth and political
From Page 98:

First and foremost, choose your battleground. Confront your adver-
saries individually-never collectively. Play them off against one an-
other, denying them any material they might use to forge a united front. 
Make separate peaces. Co-opt some enemies, annihilate others. Ex-
ploit the confusion this causes so that eventually those who question 
your authority come to turn that doubt upon themselves. Lead them in-
exorably toward the abject condition in which their defeat appears to 
flow naturally from their own weakness. At every stage in the battle, no 
matter how indefensible your position, project your will as the work-
ings out of a natural farce-your acts as "manifest destiny."


As late as 1965, Tobin was still publicly claiming that "no tenants 
other than those who are engaged in overseas trade and commerce, and 
the services which support that commerce, are eligible for occupancy 
of the Trade Center." But while continually positioning the twin towers 
as the vertical salvation of New York's maritime commerce, he was si-
multaneously planning the port's removal to Newark-Elizabeth. Tobin 
opened what can rightly be called his "de-portation" campaign by lev-
eling his heavy artillery at a sitting duck.

Their legendary corruption and thuggishness cemented firmly in 
the popular imagination with Marlon Brando's Oscar-winning 1954 
performance in On the Waterfront, the New York locals of the Interna 
tional Longshoremen's Association had now lost the protection of Tam-
many Hall and lay wide open to attack. Tobin seized his opportunity to 
create a smoke screen by blaming labor's intractability for the decline 
of the Manhattan piers, citing "a tremendous cost burden here at New 
York" due to the "swollen size of our longshore work gangs, restrictive 
LL.A. customs and practices and lack of flexibility in manpower as-
signments in the Port." Tobin's rhetoric aimed at displacing the PA's 
culpability for the port's decline onto a deservedly unloved scapegoat 
while prejustifying the coming surrogate port.

Though Tobin and Mayor Wagner's successor, John V Lindsay, 
would soon lock horns over the WTC's paltry compensation for devour-
ing sixteen blocks of the city's tax base, they found a unanimity of in 
terest in concurring that Manhattan had better things to do with its 
waterfront than support maritime trade or the livelihoods that its ancil-
lary enterprises generated.
From Page 117:

But in its unprecedented scale, as much as in its speculative na-
ture, lay the seeds of the trade center's hubris. In the split center Ya-
masaki designed, the architect's goal of creating a zone of "rational" 
serenity clashed sharply with the draconian specifications laid down by 
the PA. Further, Yamasaki's own contradictions revealed themselves 
every time he resorted to spoken or written language. When he first vis-
ited the trade center site, he thought it "very fortunate that there was 
not a single building worth saving" among its "tiny, irregular blocks," 
filled as they were with "radio and electronic shops in old structures, 
clothing stores, bars and many other businesses that could be relocated 
without much anguish." In a letter to Tobin written shortly after he was 
hired, Yamasaki envisioned

a beautiful solution to form and silhouette which fits well into Lower Man-
hattan and gives the World Trade Center the symbolic importance which it 
deserves and must have. In my opinion, this should not be an over-all 
form which melts into the multi-towered landscape of Lower Manhattan, 
but it should be unique, have excitement of its own, and yet be respectful 
to the general area. The great scope of your project demands a way to 
scale it to the human being so that, rather than be an overpowering group 
of buildings, it will be inviting, friendly and humane.


The World Trade Center was Yamasaki's most prestigious, highly visi-
ble commission. Its would-be levelers were, presumably, a band of ter-
rorists who packed a van with explosives and detonated it in the 
basement garage. Their intention was to blow out the supporting 
columns along one wall of Tower 2, causing it to keel over and topple 
against its twin. Yamasaki had engineered his towers to withstand the 
force of a 747 shearing into them-the nightmare scenario of an ear-
lier, more "innocent" era-and though shaken by the February 1993 
blast, his squared-off tubes remained standing. Six people died, but 
scores of thousands might have if the columns had failed. Though the 
terrorists had used sufficient explosives to do the job, according to Eu-
gene Faso, the Port Authority's chief engineer, they had built "the 
wrong kind of bomb."

Twenty years before, on July 15, 1972, another Yamasaki project-
the one that had made his reputation as an architect-was successfully
From Page 118:

blown up. At a signal from the mayor of St. Louis, demolition experts 
imploded the massive Pruitt-Igoe public housing project. The spectac-
ular demise of the buildings the mayor had called "a complete and 
colossal failure" was cheered by thousands who had experienced the 
project's terrors firsthand. Since then, hundreds of buildings based on 
the Pruitt-Igoe model have been destroyed by municipal officials in 
cities across the country, in a continuing wave of public housing demo-
lition, now proceeding under the auspices of a federal program ironi-
cally billed as Hope VI.

When the project was built in 1955, Pruitt-Igoe's experimental 
high-rises earned Yamasaki several prestigious awards and a laudatory 
article in Architectural Forum. By the time it was dynamited seventeen 
years later, the project had become an internationally recognized syn-
onym for catastrophic urban design. Yamasaki himself confessed that 
the project was "one of the sorriest mistakes I have made in this busi-
ness." But the architect disclaimed responsibility for the shortcomings 
of his design, since "social ills can't be cured by nice buildings."

Pruitt-Igoe's short and troubled life has been the subject of much 
scrutiny by urban planners and those concerned with the wider cul-
tural function of architecture. In his book Defensible Space: Crime Pre 
vention, and Urban. Design, planning critic Oscar Newman concluded 
that Yamasaki's fatal design error lay in his concern with "each build-
ing as a complete, separate and formal entity, exclusive of any consid-
eration of the functional use of grounds or the relationship of a building 
to the ground area it might share with other buildings. It is almost as if 
the architect assumed the role of a sculptor and saw the grounds of the 
project as nothing more than a surface on which he was endeavoring to 
arrange a whole series of vertical elements into a compositionally 
pleasing whole."

Of course, the implosion of Pruitt-Igoe has made Newman's allega-
tions untestable, but you need only stand for a moment in Austin Tobin 
Plaza to become immediately and keenly aware of how Yamasaki's ab- 
stract sculptural ethos achieved a kind of chilling perfection in his 
World Trade Center design. Here you find yourself in the presence of 
two monumental structures whose formal relationship gives no indica-
tion of their purpose or intent. You know they are office buildings, yet 
their design makes it nearly impossible to imagine that they are full of 
people. It is at this point that-even without invoking the optical trick 
of standing at a tower's corner and looking upward-you realize the 
trade towers disappear as sites of human habitation and reassert their 
power at the level of an aesthetic relationship.
From Page 121:

After completing the WTC, Yamasaki took his penchant for high-
rise engineering home to Seattle. Returning in the early 1970s as a lo-
cal hero, Yamasaki accepted a commission to design new headquarters
for the Rainier Bank. If the World Trade Center stands as his distorted
interpretation of Mies van der Rohe, the Rainier Bank tower took to
new extremes the injunction of his other hero, Frank Lloyd Wright, to
"destroy the box." In Seattle, Yamasaki stood a conventional sky-
scraper on its head. The bank tower's forty-story squared-off bulk rises
above a base that tapers in width by more than half as it meets the

Approached from any angle, the Rainier Bank imparts the frightful
impression that it is about to tip over. So threatening was Yamasaki's
darkly hilarious inversion of architectural order that New York Times
critic Paul Goldberger titled his 1975 review "Seattle's Balance of Ter-
ror" and observed, eighteen years before the trade center blast, that the
building resembled a "giant inflatable form that has just blown out
from beneath the earth's surface." In the Rainier Bank, Yamasaki had
designed a mad bomber's dream tower-a soaring skyscraper with no
visible means of support.

The World Trade Center stands at a chronological midpoint in
Yamasaki's career-between the imploded Pruitt-Igoe and the peren-
nially terrifying "balance" of the Rainier Bank. Yamasaki's multifar
ious projects offer a body of work too refracted to be encompassed by
the word vision. Yet in his public statements he continually struggled
to articulate a unified philosophy of design, normalize his architec-
tural contradictions, and assert the utopian sentiments animating his

While still in the process of designing Pruitt-Igoe, Yamasaki told
an interviewer from the American Institute of Architects journal that
humane, low-rise architecture "within the framework of our present
cities is impossible to achieve. WHY? Because we must recognize so-
cial and economic limitations and requirements." Yet despite these
constraints, "man needs a serene architectural background to save his
sanity in today's world," and "an architecture to implement our way of
life and reflect it must recognize those human characteristics we cher-
ish most: love, gentility, joy, serenity, beauty and hope, and the dignity
and individuality of man. This idea in its essence is the philosophy of
humanism in architecture."
From Page 128:

A handful of dissenting WTC critics used the towers to condemn
what they saw as a coercive, antidemocratic social trajectory that had
now found its most vivid architectural expression. To Charles Jencks,
the trade center exemplified a pernicious form of "late Capitalist ex-
treme repetition," redolent with crypto-fascist "persuasive power."

The effect of extreme repetition may be monotony or a hypnotic trance:
positively it can elicit feelings of the sublime and the inevitable because
it so incessantly returns to the same theme. A musical figure, repeated at
length, such as that in Bolero, acts not just as a form of mental torture but
as a pacifier. Repetitive architecture can put you to sleep. Both Mussolini
and Hitler used it as a form of thought control knowing that before people
can be coerced they first have to be hypnotized and then bored.

Lewis Mumford drew an acerbic parallel between the WTC's
"purposeless gigantism and technological exhibitionism" and the
"tnagatechnic chaos" of Jean Tinguely's Homage to New York. De-
scribed by the sculptor as "a self-constructing and self-destroying
work of art," Homage elicited delighted applause when it blew itself
to pieces in a "happening" at the Museum of Modern Art's sculpture
garden in 1960.

While critics of all stripes contributed their interpretive material,
the PA and Tishman continued building. In the same month that Pruitt-
Igoe was being blown into the history of planning catastrophes, the En-
glish journal Architectural Review ran a full-page photograph of the
nearly completed WTC looming above the restrained Georgian propor-
tions of St. Paul's Chapel, rendered minuscule below. This graphic de-
piction of high-rise corporatism dwarfing the communitarian values of
the meetinghouse lent credence to the magazine's assertion that "New
York provides us with a dire warning" heralding "the latest and most
terrifying stage in that relentless process, which in American cities
seems to know no bounds, of putting more and more accommodation on
less and less land." Yamasaki's towers proved that "the ultimate steril-
ity toward which monumental redevelopment is heading is of no con-
cern to the developers. They are gamblers on a giant scale, whose only
interest is in the next fall of the dice." Interestingly, these British crit-
ics apparently lumped the Port Authority and private speculators to-
gether in the same catchall category.
From Page 132:


Out on the street, however, the DWBA merchants found ears more
sYmpathetic to their story. Led by Nadel, the merchants staged numer-
ous protest rallies, developing a street theater vocabulary that, as their
legal standing eroded, became increasingly trenchant, and effective in
amplifying their voice through media. Demonstrations in the form of
mock funeral processions-featuring the black-shrouded coffin of "Mr.
Small Businessman" and the ritual display of the hangman's noose that
the "Kremlin PA" had used to execute him--dogged Nelson Rocke-
feller throughout his 1964 presidential campaign bid.

Radio Row families greeted the governor at scores of photo oppor-
tunities and whistle-stops, their toddlers holding placards reading
"Rockefeller, What Are You Doing to My Daddy?" News photos
showed the Radio Row merchants, their wives, children, and support-
ers turning toward the camera holding their picket signs aloft: "Rock-
efeller, 120,000 People Demand You Stop Land Grab"; "Rocky Hates
the Working Man"; "Rocky Sponsors Port Authority Dictatorship";
"Rockefeller Signed Our Death Warrant: He Made the World Trade
Center Land Grab Legal"; "Rockefeller, 30,000 People Will Lose
Jobs"; Sign Up and Save Radio Row."

In Januarv 1964, at the height of the protests, the New York Times-
whose rare coverage of the merchants had generally been tinged with
dismissive paternalism-quoted their leader at length. Though it was
half-buried on page thirty-three, the Times at last allowed a statement
by Nadel to run nearly the length of Rockefellerian soliloquy:

The government is using taxpayers' dollars to bail out the Port Author-
ity. There is no need for the World Trade Center and there are no ten-
ants. Governor Rockefeller has to find tenants so he is moving the
state agencies into a so-called World Trade Center so the project sug-
gested by David Rockefeller and the Downtown Lower Manhattan As-
sociation can come into some sort of beginning. This property was
condernned in the courts for a World Trade Center and not for state of-
fice buildings. We plan to continue our legal and political fight against
thiS monstrous land grab.
From Page 136:

Vhen in June 1964 the merchants learned of a PA plan to encour-
age foreign firms to rent space in the trade center, the DWBA fired off
letters to eleven European heads of state. Signed by Barry Ray, the pro-
prietor of the Courtesy Sandwich Shop in his role as "chairman, foreign
relations committee, the Downtown West Businessmen's Association,"
the letter warned of "a scheme which is shortly to be perpetrated upon
you, your government, and your people under the thinly veiled lie of a
`World Trade Center.' You will shortly be swarmed upon by an ex-
tremely energetic group of salesmen. They will submit beautiful
brochures filled with deliberate lies as well as half truths. This is spon-
sored by financiers who have no honest interest in world trade, but who
believe they have found a way to create the issuance of almost a billion
dollars of tax-free bonds which they are in a favorable position to ex-
ploit." Ray concluded by stating that he spoke for a thousand busi-
nessmen who "serve millions of Americans annually with products
imported from 60 countries, including your own."

When it came to public relations mastery, though, David Rocke-
feller had seized the initiative and, despite the "Another Day Down-
town" misstep, he maintained it throughout. The Downtown
Manhattan Courier, a local tabloid intelligencer, began publishing in
September 1959. This lively, unassuming, eight-page monthly was, in
fact. a publicity vehicle for the DLMA. With the WTC slated for the
east side, the Courier's front page boosted Radio Row to the status of
"Electronic City"-a thriving commercial hub. When two years later
the west side became the site for the WTC, Austin Tobin dismissed
the electronics center as "a drab and decaying area of Lower Man-

Not surprisingly, the Courier devoted much of its editorial space to
the activities of David Rockefeller in his role as "Chief Spearhead of
Downtown Redevelopment" and pulled out the journalistic stops in im-
buing the modern office tower with the aura of venerable tradition.
From Page 140:

Full-page advertisements for the trade center's contractors made
up the bulk of the supplement's content. Borg-Warner shared a spread
with Con Edison-an appropriate placement given the symbiotic rela-
tionship among motors, air conditioning, and electric power. As thanks
for not building its own generators beneath the WTC, the PA had been
awarded a "bulk rate" by the utility-hence the ad's headline "Con
Edison Salutes the World Trade Center. More Power to It!" This last
play on words was grounded in some truth, since the twin towers, built
before energy conservation became a concern to architects and devel-
opers, consumed wattage for a city of a hundred thousand.

Not to be outdone by the other major contractors represented in the
supplement, Tishman Realty and Construction Company, the WTC's
chief builder, headlined its full-page ad "Making America's Cities
Look Up." Fortunately for Tishman, the twin towers had made the com-
pany's balance sheets look up. The PA contract had, in fact, saved the
builder from financial ruin. In 1970, Tishman had been left holding the
bag on a half-completed skyscraper it was constructing for General
Telegraph and Electronics at 1166 Sixth Avenue in Rockefeller Cen-
ter's backyard.

GTE left New York for a Corbusian high-rise in a landscaped plaza
in Stamford, Connecticut. The defense contractor cited the difficulties
of doing business in the city, coupled with Fairfield County's "ease of
access by automobile and public transportation ... availability of
housing, and [low] construction and land cost," as reasons for its move.
GTE officials vehemently denied that the 1969 bombing of their of-
fices, along with those of Mobil Oil and IBM-in protest over their role
in the Vietnam War-had factored into their decision to relocate. Ex-
pressing the city's dismay at being jilted by yet another corporate giant,
the Times sniped: "GTE Lost!"

Though the World Trade Center had stopped growing at 110 floors,
U.S. involvement in Vietnam continued to escalate. Increasingly,
bombings shook the foundations of the headquarters of companies
viewed as war profiteers. Accordingly, the Times published an article
headlined "Bombings on Rise Over the Nation." Interviewed for his re-
action to the bombings, Nelson Rockefeller "indicated surprise."

"This is a new concept," the governor mused, "blowing up build-
ings in protest."
From Page 146:

But given the
conditions of New York City, we generally leave our car at some re-
move, reaching our final destination via underground public trans-
portation. And it remains one of the ironies of the World Trade Center
that after our glimpse from afar, our next experience of this most highly
visible, supremely external of structures will probably be from within.
Most likely we will not register the image of the towers again until they
are framed in our rearview mirror.

Whether we have come as visitors to the trade center or are among
the more than 40,000 people who work here, chances are we arrived
via PATH train from New Jersey or on one of several subway lines that
converge in Lower Manhattan. Though it is possible to enter the trade
towers by walking across the raised plateau of Austin Tobin Plaza, this
requires a deliberate detour because the design of primary access
routes works against street-level approach. It is far more likely that we
have navigated a warren of corridors, staircases, and escalators and en-
tered the complex via the vast enclosed WTC Mall submerged beneath
the plaza. Thus our journey from horizontal subway tunnel toward ver-
tical elevator shaft takes place within a completely internal world - un-
exposed to natural light, open air, or the play of the elements.

Here, where shop-lined passageways connect rapid transit stations to
the elevator lobbies of the twin towers and peripheral buildings, the tor-
tured spatiality of the WTC can first be viscerally felt. Though brightly lit,
this labyrinth, its ceilings hung with jumbled airport-style signage, feels
distinctly subterranean-a world apart from the life of the city. Although
we are walking only a few feet below grade, it is not difficult to imagine
that the old streets of Lower Manhattan have been sunk deep into the
earth, narrowed to corridors, and paved over at the height of the first floor.
It is as though Yamasaki and the Port Authority, shrinking from Le Cor-
busier's exhortation to kill the street, had settled for burying it alive.
From Page 149:

On gusty days, the closer one gets to the 110th floor, the more pal-
pable the sensation of swaying may become. The towers have so much
give that when wind velocity is high, the outer elevators can knock
against their shafts; once, during a particularly violent storm, they
seized up altogether. Under high-wind conditions, only the elevators
closest to the core operate, and these run at half speed. When the wind
hits the towers from certain angles, a remarkable range of pitches em-
anates from what have become, in effect, a set of immense panpipes.

On calm days, however, the ride to the 107th floor observation
deck takes less than a minute via a special elevator car in which, when
the PA still managed the attraction, the word "welcome" was posted in
eighteen languages. Now an entertainment company runs the deck, and
the motif is suitably "Broadway." Arriving at the deck, one is struck by
the proximity of the adjacent twin, topped by its huge microwave trans-
mitter spire. Next comes the realization that our anticipation of a
sweeping, unimpeded view of the city and the terrain beyond cannot be
sustained, for we are caught in a contradiction between a panoramic
ideal and a structural actuality.

To create completely columnless floors, Yamasaki and Roth de-
signed the exterior walls to bear the building's weight load. Thus we
find eighteen inches of structural steel alternating with every twenty
two inches of glass. With panes set back twelve inches to provide a
modicum of shade, a succession of vertical bars fractures our attempt
to construct an unbroken vista. The eye simply cannot make sense of
this repetitive alternation between fields of focus: opaque and trans-
parent, foreground and background, surface and depth. The promise of
limitless observation from a supreme height is canceled in the foreclo-
sure of visual coherence.
From Page 151:

"enormous object drawn as faintly as possible"-we see the gentle rise 
of Sunset Park, New York City's highest natural point. Here in South 
Brooklyn, at the shore of the bay, standing out among the ranks of 
tremendous warehouses, Cass Gilbert's even more immense Army Ter-
minal building stretches along the shore. With its multiple railroad sid-
ings, overhead cranes, soaring glass atria, truck-sized elevators, and 
great reinforced concrete columns shaped like Ellsworth Kelly sculp-
tures, a two-million-square-foot cathedral of heavy industry seems toy-
like at this remove.

If we face east, we can see the Woolworth Building close beneath 
us-Gilbert's highly ornamented vertical masterpiece, now shrunk to 
the stature of the trade towers' pygmy grandfather. Nearby, Roebling's 
Brooklyn Bridge spans the East River toward Metrotech, downtown 
Brooklyn's sleek new central business district. Metrotech is where 
Chase took its five thousand back-office workers in 1988, agreeing to 
keep the jobs in New York State in exchange for a record $235 million 
in tax breaks and energy subsidies. By night, Chase's blue "beveled 
bagel" logo, affixed to the top of a Metrotech tower, hovers over Brook-
lyn like a luminescent UFO.

Just across Vesey Street, immediately to the north of the twin towers' 
superblock, stands 7WTC, the complex's forty-seven-story trapezoidal 
glass and red granite newcomer in which Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has, to 
much ridicule, installed a bomb- and nerve gas-proof command and 
control bunker from which he will run the city in case of armageddon. 
Built in 1987 on Port Authority land by speculator Larry Silverstein-
also a major Teleport investor-7WTC was to have served as the new 
headquarters for the investment firm Drexel Burnham Lambert. Drexel 
canceled its $3 billion deal with Silverstein only months before the bot-
tom fell out of junk bonds-collapsing scores of the S&Ls that had 
bought them. Drexel dissolved three years later, amid an avalanche of 
criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits. But Drexel, like Chase, had 
been treated generously by the city it was threatening to leave. Shortly 
before its implosion, the firm had received an incentives package worth 
$85 million to keep its five thousand employees in New York.
From Page 153:

the back end of the Vista Hotel, also known as SWTC. Hilton Interna-
tional opened the twenty-three-story, 825-room hotel in 1981. Designed
by Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, the Vista cost $70 million to build
and was intended to support the "twenty-four-hour communitv'" sce-
nario that harked back to the initial DLMA plan. For guests facing
southwest, the Vista lived up to its name. But from plaza level, it cur-
tained off the harbor view that the towers had initially framed. More
than a view was lost, however. The placement of the hotel also fore-
closed a profound psychological experience that the twin towers carried
forward from ancient times: the passage across a symbolic threshold
framed by two massive columns. Walking through such a liminal space
signified a transformation of the spirit. Almost instinctively, then, we
head toward the space between the towers, but stepping over the thresh-
old only brings us into the lobby of a flashy, overdecorated hotel.

The PA purchased the Vista for $78 million in 1989 and began a
$28.5 million renovation program in 1992. The "incident," as the hotel's
manager describes the explosion beneath the hotel, caused a nearly two
year shutdown and loss of $80 million in revenues. The final component
of the original WTC complex to be built, and the PA's last major real es-
tate acquisition, the Vista was also the first property to be unloaded as
the agency began to sell off or lease its holdings-a process that has now
put the trade center itself on the block. To help pay the immense costs of
postbombing renovation-underwritten by bond debt-the Vista was
sold to Marriott for $141.5 million in January 1996.

Dismantling of the PA empire is proceeding from the top down as
well. In addition to the observation deck, the restaurant Windows on
the World is now privately managed. Twenty-one months after the
bombing, Windows was reopened by Restaurant Associates, Inc.,
headed by the late Joseph Baum, who had run the original restaurant
under Hilton management. But like virtually every other encounter
with the World Trade Center, Windows defies expectations and offers
up a host of disjunctive images. Arriving in the winter of 1997 at the
107th floor of Tower l, diners were greeted by a stuffed deer posed be-
side a rustic fence amid simulated snow-covered pine trees. This dis-
play was presumably intended to set a tone of "Americana" and
perhaps whet the palate for grilled venison chops to come. But at this
altitude, with the lights of the greater metropolis glittering beyond, the
sylvan effect added a pinch of unwitting but not altogether appetizing
surrealism to the dining experience.
From Page 158:


There are scores of places to eat in and around the World Trade Cen-
ter. But Papoo's Italian Cuisine and Bar is a proud survivor of the Ra-
dio Row era located a block south of the trade center at the northwest
corner of Greenwich and Thames Streets, on one the few low-rise
blocks left downtown. Harry Manolakos owned Papoo's in the 1970s.
He was born in a walk-up flat just across the street on the site where
Bankers Trust Plaza stands today. And he recalls skinny-dipping with
his friends in the summer off the Staten Island Ferry slips.

Even then New York harbor wasn't famous for its clean water, so
swimming off the tip of Manhattan was not the sort of thing you told
your mother you'd been up to. But today, diving in downstream from
where the pumps spew thousands of gallons of the trade center's heated
effluvia into the Hudson-well, that would be lunacy.

In the early 1960s when Port Authority engineers studied the en-
vironmental impact of the trade center, they estimated that it would
produce over two million gallons of sewage a day. Because of delays in
the completion of a citv treatment facility, this waste would be pumped
directly into the Hudson River. When they learned of this, the mayors
of ten towns downstream on the New Jersey shore briefly considered a
lawsuit to block tenant occupancy of the WTC. But they withdrew their
threat, apparently under pressure from a statehouse more concerned
about potential delays on the PATH and Jersey City development than
with the salubrity of the area's coastal waters.

Port Authority engineers ended up designing a dual sewerage
system for the trade center based on its proximity to the river and the
need to cut construction costs. Storm sewage from the west side of
the complex-the Vista Hotel, Tower One, and the Customs build-
ing-drains into the Hudson, as does the trade center's air condi-
tioning runoff. A pipeline was eventually built that channels the
remainder of the waste water to the Newton Creek plant, on the bor-
der of Brooklyn and Queens. Given that most of Lower Manhattan's
sewers date from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries,
when New York was mostly a five-story town, it is impossible-par-
ticularly during periods of high rainfall-to separate storm and sani-
tary sewage effectively. Because it operates as a politically
autonomous entity, the PA never seriously considered building a ded-
icated treatment plant for the minicity of 50,000 it had raised at the
Hudson's shore.
From Page 183:


As much as the World Trade Center and, later, Battery Park City served
as architectural symbols of the financial district's manifest destiny in
Lower Manhattan, they also represented publicly funded acts of faith
in an infinitely expanding symbolic economy. During the bust of the
early 1990s, the developers of BPC's Cove Club condominiums sold 57
of 163 units at auction, receiving only 75 percent of the asking price
and leaving 78 units unsold. Between 1987 and 1994, the price of a
one-bedroom condominium in the Hudson View West development
dropped by half, while maintenance costs doubled.

Will Battery Park City continue to generate the revenue to keep up
its bond payments, with thousands of new luxury apartments coming on
the market in the early years of the new century? What happens if
American Express or another of the WFC's big tenants decides to move
to Sam LeFrak's Newport, the development the Times called a "rival
skyline across from Lower Manhattan?" What if Merrill Lynch contin-
ues downsizing?

Just prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, a state dignitary
taking in the sights of Battery Park City asked then-governor Mario
Cuomo why he was proud that the government built houses for rich
people. Cuomo countered that "from the wealth we derive from the
wealthy people who live there, we will rip off as much as we can and
put it into affordable housing." Walking down the esplanade on a
warm spring afternoon, one hears the Hudson lapping at the break-
water, the shouts and laughter of children in the playground, and the
sound of the ferry horn as the boat casts off for New Jersey. Gazing
over the lawns dotted with sunbathers, watching as a setter leaps to
catch a Frisbee, one is tempted, as Empire State Report editor Jeff
Plungis put it in 1992, to be "glad the state got into the luxury hous-
ing business."

Until, that is, one sits down, does the math, and tallies the eco-
nomic and social cost. Since the inception of Battery Park City thirty
years ago, its bond issues have generated several hundred million dol-
lars for the city's use. But only a fraction of this revenue found its way
toward rehabilitation or building of low- and moderate-income
dwellings. After twenty-five years, BPC began making its first in-lieu-
of tax payments to the city in 1989. Through the 1990s, this eventually
increased to approximately $37 million. But during the same period,
the city was granting abatements to the World Financial Center and the
BPC residential properties at the rate of $126.3 million every year-
From Page 190:

If we took the elevator upstairs, we would find Robert Motherwell's
austere tapestry Elegy to the Spanish Republic, No. 116, half obscured
by furniture in the Port Authority offices. If Le Corbusier's presence
lives on in the trade center's design, it also occupies a space within in
the form of three tapestries: Nature Morte, Les Des Sont Jetes (The
Throw of the Dice), and La Canape (The Sofa). This last piece, a starkly
rendered abstract nude, was leased to Marriott along with other PA art-
works from the former Vista Hotel and was hung near the coat check,
marooned in a sea of flashy detailing.

Outside, tucked nearly against the rear wall of the hotel, directly
over the spot where the bomb detonated, stands the memorial for the
victims. But there are days when the plaza winds blow garbage into its
concentric marble rings faster than the maintenance crews can clean
them out, and some visitors apparently do not realize-despite the in-
scription in English and Spanish around its rim recording the names of
the seven fatalities-that the memorial is not a Dumpster.

Can any larger significance be attached to the accumulation of
these details? The Port Authority has, it might be argued, more urgent
concerns than the fastidious maintenance of its art collection. But the
PA's art portfolio is, aside from its aesthetic value, a corporate asset
once evaluated at nearly $27 million. Several of the works were com-
missioned in the late 1960s and early 1970s with matching grants from
the National Endowment's Art in Public Places program and David
Rockefeller's Business Committee for the Arts. In early 1996, New
York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani opened up his campaign to privatize
the trade center and many of its other assets by accusing the PA of hid-
ing its artworks from the public. What business, the mayor asked-al-
beit rhetorically-did a port agency have amassing and collecting art
in the first place? And why was it spending public money decorating a
real estate asset that, by rights, it should not own?


Pacing out the periphery of the trade towers in the late 1990s, one nav-
igated a cracked badlands of sidewalk crudely patched with mismatch-
ing cement. The weathered, gray (originally white) Italian marble
From Page 191:

paving on the plaza was a spiderweb of cracks, a condition that under-
mined the addition of benches and flowerbeds and the tinkling medley
of new-age harmonics emanating from a score of tiny speakers mounted
beneath Yamasaki's arcades. Construction equipment and barricades
around the site appeared to have been deployed and then abandoned
by a retreating army.

And up in the towers, where asbestos removal was still under way,
a host of details pointed toward a rift opening up within the trade cen-
ter itself. In 1985, when New York State moved most of its offices out,
Dean Witter consolidated its operations in twenty-four floors of Tower
2 under a twenty-year lease. Visiting the brokerage and investment
firm's offices and cafeterias, one invariably found them spotlessly
maintained. But on adjacent floors, particularly those with multiple
tenants, the paint was dingy, the carpets were stained, fixtures re-
mained broken, and burned-out fluorescent lights went unreplaced, as
did discolored ceiling tiles. And the listing of a company on the direc-
tory did not reliably indicate that a company was still there.

And who indeed was there, inhabiting the self-proclaimed heart of
world trade? In 1966, as the PA was bulldozing Radio Row, the City
Planning Commission reported that "the prime objective of the WTC is
to simplify and expand international trade by centralizing and consoli-
dating within the Center essential world trade services and activi-
ties.... The Center will contain only government agencies and private
firms which play a part in international marketing and in the adminis-
trative processing of world trade. " [Italics mine.] Yet according to its own
1993 occupancy survey, the Port Authority found that trade service and
import-export tenants accounted for only 5 percent of its leases.

The Port Authority closed out the 1990s with a stream of press re-
leases announcing the rental of unimaginably huge quantities of trade
center office space to "cutting-edge" firms like Sun Microsystems. Yet
around the complex a million square feet stood empty, and the build-
ings originally intended as great catalyzing chambers of world trade
were, by degrees, transforming into a kind of disjunctive real estate
layer-cake. One story above the carpeted, wood-paneled offices of a
Japanese securities firm, a group of artists filled bare walls with boldly
colored images and hung sculptures from the exposed ceiling girders of
a vast echoing cavern. As part of a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
program that turned some of the vacant space in the towers over to
artists rent-free, 40,000 square feet of concrete floor lay paint-
spattered and strewn with the raw materials of a creative urge that has
never been easily reconciled with the imperatives of a bottom line.
From Page 195:

chronic losses the PA sustained running the PATH commuter line. But
it was already passing its prime as office space, overtaken by a gener-
ation of more recent, cybernetically "smart" buildings with higher ceil-
ings and greater built-in electrical capacity. To maintain the trade
center as class-A office space commanding top rents, the PA would
have had to spend $800 million rebuilding its electrical, electronic
communications, and cooling systems. Then came the bombing and,
according to Charles Maikish, former director of the PA's World Trade
Center Department, a repair bill of $700 million and hundreds of mil-
lions in lost revenues. The Port Authority, however, possessed capaci-
ties far beyond those of a commercial landlord, among them a $2.6
billion annual budget and the ability to generate capital through bonds,
tolls, fares, and airport disembarkation tariffs. The PA had the where-
withal in 1993 to rebuild the trade center and perform the necessary
renovations-but then came another assault, one far more devastating
to its institutional integrity.

The adversary faced by the PA was not a cabal of terrorists. The
threat originated in a realignment of social powers represented by a tri-
umvirate of officials elected in the early 1990s: George Pataki, Christie
Todd Whitman, and Rudolph Giuliani, respectively the governors of
New York and New Jersey and the mayor of New York City. Although
differing on many issues, all three vigorously pursued policies of cut-
ting social services while consolidating and privatizing public agen-
cies. At its most ideologically distilled, their shared doctrine-
popularly associated with Republican conservatives but espoused by
many Democrats-sought to re-create the public sector as a function of
the marketplace. Ironically, the agency found itself in an especially
vulnerable position precisely because it had already undermined its
claim to a public purpose so deeply.

Advocates of privatizing the public sector assert that the free mar-
ket-like Adam Smith's hidden hand-knows better than government
how to meet social needs. Left to its own devices, the market grows nat
urally, fosters competition, and self-corrects its downturns. Thus
viewed, the market is, or could under ideal circumstances be, a law
unto itself-a beneficent wellspring of all social good. Government in-
tervention only impedes natural economic growth, competition, and in-
novation by overregulating business activity. Further, government
depletes the nation's wealth through taxation in the service of building
and entrenching its perennially bloated and ineffective bureaucracies.
From Page 204:

concluded that the tax burden-particularly in a real estate slump-
made it "difficult on the numbers to sell the entire property."

It might, of course, be possible to deal with the center in parcels-
a tower here and a tower there, spinning off the low-rise buildings ei-
ther individually or as a group. But, to paraphrase the 1960s Broadway
musical Oliver, "Who will buy this wonderful morning?" Without tax
abatements so large that they might neutralize any gain for the city,
who would take on, even divided into chunks, a complex that needs
hundreds of millions of dollars in ongoing investments to secure its
rent base?

Ever since Nelson Rockefeller made the WTC viable by pouring
20,000 state office workers into the entirety of Tower 2, New York State
had maintained a continuous presence there. In January 1996, Gover-
nor Pataki announced that he was moving the trade center's last state
tenant, the governor's office itself, to cheaper, more convenient space
in midtown.


The February 1993 blast in the basement of the World Trade Center
killed 6 people, injured 1,000 others, displaced 50,000 workers, and
threw 900 Vista Hotel and Windows on the World employees out of
work, but it also provided a modest boost for the regional economy.
This, at any rate, was the conclusion the Pout Authority came to in an
April 1993 report released six weeks after the bombing.

Admitting that its analysis did not account for "intangible
losses"-such as the 2,300 cases of post-traumatic stress disorder
diagnosed by the PA's chief psychologist-the agency predicted that
the jobs and economic activity generated by the explosion would re-
sult in a net gain of $200 million. Wage losses from the closing of
trade center facilities would be offset by the earnings of thousands of
workers undertaking what the PA termed a "fast-track" reconstruc-
tion effort.

For the agency, this silver lining was due in part to the ease with
which the 350 bombed-out trade center tenants could be moved into
abundant vacant office space nearby. Breathing an almost palpable
sigh of relief, then-PA chair Richard Leone noted that relocating ten-
ants would have been far more protracted and expensive had the ex-
plosion occurred in the boom year of 1985.
From Page 208:

Built bv the Rudin family in 1977, the thirty-one-story tower at 55
Broad Street became suddenly vacant in 1990 with the collapse of its
sole tenant, junk-bond peddlers Drexel Burnham Lambert. For the
Rudins, the upside to having 55 Broad totally empty was that it kept
the cost of asbestos removal down to $70 million. Though this was five
times the building's construction cost thirteen years before, it was still
less than the price tag for replacing 55 Broad as a "smart" tower. With
the Rudins' resources estimated at over $l billion, it seemed a worth-
while bet that given a further $15 million in renovations and a creative
marketing plan, the property would come into its own. Indeed, that is
what happened. Five years after Drexel's evaporation, the once-dowdy
property emerged from its makeover as ITC@55Broad: centerpiece of
what the alliance slogan called "The World's Downtown."

Just plug in! [to] a virtual fountain of technology and information
access for firms on the cutting edge, proclaimed ITC@55Broad's lavish
promotional brochure. NY's ultimate global connection offered prospec-
tive tenants Manhattan's "hottest-wired" office building, rebuilt for the
era of networking and high-bandwidth communications. Beneath this
flood of infomercial-stvle sell lay more pragmatic inducements. Under
the terms of the new Lower Manhattan revitalization plan, "even the
smallest" information technology companies moving to ITC@55Broad
would be eligible to benefit from real estate tax abatements, commer-
cial rent tax exemptions, and "up to 47% energy rate reductions."

Whatever the fates of the real estate market might hold in store for
ITCC@55Broad, its positioning as the flagship of a revitalized downtown
indicated the degree to which the alliance, the city, and the state had
attempted to revise previously held conceptions about what Lower
Manhattan was for. Sandy Frucher, an alliance board member and ex-
ecutive vice president of Olympia and York-who as former head of
the Battery Park City Authority had seen no "moral obligation" to pro-
vide affordable housing-urged business leaders to "identify indus-
tries other than the traditional FIRE industries [finance, insurance,
real estate] ... that have traditionally made the Wall Street area home"
and to "figure out a strategy to attract those industries down here."

The alliance, said Weisbrod, was "aiming to locate a software and
information technology center downtown, which should end up not only
serving the financial industry but also helping to attract new types of
business."' Among the businesses the alliance hoped to attract were
upscale restaurants and shops as well as brand-name chain stores
qualitatively different from Syms, Century 21, Duane Reade, AR Mu-
sic World, and other homegrown retail discounters.
From Page 212:

During a visit to the Alliance for Downtown New York's warmly ap-
pointed offices on the thirty-third floor of the Equitable Building in the
late 1990s, it was difficult while perusing the BID"s handsome promo-
tional material not to be captivated by visions of a new, vibrant down-
town to come. The alliance's board read like a who's who of Lower
Manhattan power players. It encompassed representatives of the New
York Stock Exchange, real estate brokers Cushman and Wakefield,
Goldman Sachs, Morgan Guaranty Trust, the Battery Park City Author-
ity, Olympia and York, Metropolitan Life, the Rudin family, the Mar-
riott and Woolworth corporations, and notable downtown law and
architectural firms. Larry Silverstein, owner of the Equitable Building
and developer of 7WTC and the Teleport, was also a director. And so
was Charles Maikish, then head of the PA's World Trade Center De-
partment. The twin towers had even been integrated into the BID's
playful skyline logo design, forming the double "1" in "Alliance."

One alliance initiative was a genuine street-level amenity: a shut-
tle bus that wended its way through the entire district-stopping at the
Equitable Building and the foot of the twin towers. Thirty-five floors up
in Tower 1 was the PA office of Charles Maikish. Until 1996, when he
left the Port Authority in the wake of the Marlin shake-up, Maikish
firmly espoused the doctrine that bringing Lower Manhattan back was
an all-or-nothing effort. Tax incentives alone could not do the whole
job, he said. Millions more would be required in public and private in-
vestment, particularly in transport infrastructure, in order to prevent
downtown from becoming a lifeless, hollowed-out center. Maikish ac-
knowledged too that the fate of Lower Manhattan was inextricably
linked to the huge office buildings he had overseen since 1990.

In order to "capture the value" of this huge "asset," he was plan-
ning to pump $100 million a year for eight years into the trade center,
transforming it into a "village square" for globalized, information-age
trade. He proposed putting $100 million toward 300 "smart" elevators
and another $100 million for doubling electrical capacity. More money
would go toward a huge new pumping station to bring twice as much wa-
ter in from the Hudson, so that the trade center's air conditioners could
offset the heat generated by hundreds of thousands of electronic de-
vices-technologies undreamed of in Austin Tobin's day. More yet
would be needed for completing asbestos abatement. Meanwhile, Maik-
ish planned to privatize everything except the WTC's office space,
which he conceded would be a long time coming back up to prime