from a video-talk on the Dawson-Perry Report
at the Portland Central Library, 7/12/05
I lived in New York in the 1960’s, when the World Trade Center and the twin towers were going up. In New York, the 60’s was an era of intense urban destruction and frantic high-rise build-up. Manhattan blocks being cleared for “development” looked like they had been bombed. Meanwhile large areas of the Bronx and Brooklyn, red-lined by the banks, decayed into abandoned free-fire zones.
Does anyone remember that the World Trade Center was a brainchild of the Rockefellers? I remember photos in The New York Times of Nelson and David glowing over architect’s models of those obscene towers. Now you never see the name “Rockefeller” in any of the official WTC histories. The golden name has been disassociated from the dark imagery of 911.
Farewell, Radio Row.
The Rockefeller clout teamed up with the powerful New York and New Jersey Port Authorities, and this urban-removal juggernaut destroyed 75 blocks of historic lower Manhattan. The targeted area included a neighborhood I loved called Radio Row. The district began in the 1920’s and grew into an experimenter’s dream world of many blocks where exotic surplus electronics, the fall-out of the defense technology, spilled out into the street. The electronics storekeepers organized against the mega-project. God knows how many other downtown communities organized. They got little coverage in The Times. All resistance was crushed.
Was the project pre-wired to self-destruct? Did the Rockefellers sign off on the 911 demolition? I don’t know. One slender Rockefeller connection (through NBC and 911) is Paul Bremmer, a protege of Henry Kissenger, himself a protege of the Rockefellers. Interviewed on NBC that momentous morning Bremmer was so on-message with the official propaganda line that I have speculated (in my NBC Spins 911) that the bin Laden memo all the media was reading from that day may have originated at Bremmer’s own desk.
WTC already doomed.
Planned to last for at least a century, that grandiose Titanic called the World Trade Center, soon revealed itself to be an engineering stupidity and technological embarrassment. The facade, made of cast aluminum, had been directly connected to the steel superstructure. This caused a battery-like electric flow between the two metals resulting in what’s known as galvanic corrosion. The chemical problem had been text-book predictable in the marine-air environment of lower Manhattan, hence the embarrassment.
The formidable-looking facade, weakening day by day, was in danger of peeling off and falling into the street, which is what they did on 911.Another built-in irreversible problem was that the WTC buildings were full of asbestos. They may have been “sick buildings” in other environmental ways. The twin towers were white elephants waiting for replacement. The entire WTC complex, including Building 7, had become, prematurely expendable. Consider, though, that the WTC had paid for itself and profited the investors and profited various landlords, public and private, over and over during its life. Also consider the pressure of insatiable New York developers to raze anything in sight on any pretext and to build anew the latest gleaming office structures and luxury condos for the new booming yuppie class.
WTC demolition planned in ’80’s
A demolition was actually planned out in detail for the twin towers in the 1980’s. The planners developed estimates for a complete take-down and rebuild, and engaged architects to make conceptual drawings.
The demolition of such gigantic steel structures, with their thick concrete floors, if lawfully performed in conformance with New York City codes, would have been an immensely arduous and expensive task, estimated back then at $5.6 billion. (This included the slow and laborious task of cutting, with oxy-acetylene torches, the giant hardened steel members of the high-rise structures.
(In those days you could not so easily melt steel, say with a kerosene fire, the official physics for this process having not been in place until a few weeks after September 11, 2001.)
From my midtown office window at Third Avenue and 50th in the late 1960’s, I watched such a New York demolition proceed on an old steel and concrete high-rise accross the street. Using cutting torches, workers laboriously severed the old steel members into manageable sections one-by-one. Then they drilled holes into the thick concrete floors and placed small dynamite charges within. A huge ponderous steel net was laid down over the area to be blasted.
When the shrill warning whistle blew, I knew to swivel my chair toward the window. Then, bang, and the heavy steel net jumped. The net contained all the shattered concrete debris within. Workers hosed down the area with water to suppress the dust. Then they had to gather up the concrete chunks and cart them to funnels which conducted the debris down into dump trucks below. This went on for months, floor by floor.
The same slow, expensive, labor-intensive procedures would have been required had the twin towers been lawfully deconstructed.
In 1989 the architects assigned to the WTC demolition were told that the entire project had been cancelled and that their office, located in the WTC, was to be closed. One source states that someone told the architects that, “In ten to twelve years they are going to blow it up and start over.”