Silverstein said "pull it"...
On a PBS documentary video released in Sept.
2002, the WTC
leaseholder Larry Silverstein is shown saying that a fire department commander
tells him that the fire in the WTC 7 might not be able to be contained and
Silverstein recommends to the commander that maybe the smartest decision to
make to avoid risking any more lives is to "pull it".
Right afterwards, Silverstein says the decision was made to "pull"
and then they all watched the building collapse.
Rebuilds: A Year at Ground Zero -PBS (09/10/02)
Narrator: "World Trade Center 7 had
always been considered the starting point for rebuilding. Locating north of
the slurry wall, Seven had been cleared faster than the rest of the
site and there had been no bodies to recover.
Pelted by debris when the North Tower collapsed, Seven burned until late
afternoon allowing occupants to evacuate to safety."
Larry Silverstein, WTC Leaseholder:
remember getting a call from the, uh, fire department commander, telling me
that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire, and I
said, 'You know we've had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do
it.' Uh, and they made that decision to
then we watched the
What exactly was Larry Silverstein referring
to by using the word "it" when recommending to the fire
commander that he should "pull it" after he was told that
the fire in the WTC 7 might not be able to be contained?
Some people have argued that Mr. Silverstein
simply misspoke by using the word "it" and that what he was
recommending to fire commander was for them to pull the firefighters out
of the building because they knew the building was about to collapse:
Wouldn't it be more
logical since the building suspiciously imploded that the word "pull" was
demolition lingo for demolish (or pull down) and the phrase "pull
it" meant demolish the building and that's why they all watched the building
collapse after they made the decision to "pull"?
Therefore "pull it" meant
"...maybe the smartest
thing to do is pull [the firefighters]...and
they made that decision to pull and
then we watched the
"it" = the
Therefore "pull it" meant
pull the building
"...maybe the smartest
thing to do is pull [the building]...and
they made that decision to pull and
then we watched the
Isn't the fact that the word "pull" was
used in the very same PBS documentary by the destruction crews to describe the demolishing of the WTC 6
further evidence that Mr. Silverstein was using the word "pull" to
mean demolish or "pull down" the WTC 7?
Rebuilds: A Year at Ground Zero - PBS (09/10/02)
Unidentified construction worker 1:
Oh, we're getting ready to
pull building six."
NYC Dept of Design and Construction:
"We had to be very careful how we demolished building six.
We were worried about the building six coming down and then damaging the
walls, so we wanted that particular building to fall within a certain
Unidentified construction worker 2: "Well they got the cables
attached in four different locations going up and they'll be pulling,
pulling the building to the north. It's not everyday you try to pull
down an eight story building down with cables."
down - To demolish; destroy:
pull down an old office building.
1. To pull down or break up so that reconstruction is impossible:
destroy, dismantle, dynamite, knock down,
level, pulverize, raze, tear down, wreck
did Ground Zero rescuers say that the WTC 7 was going to "blow up" and will be
"coming down soon" along with others saying they were told around 3 p.m.
that the building was going to collapse and other saying there were sitting
around waiting for it to fall if it wasn't about to be pulled?
@ 2:20. Also
rescuer 1 & 2 only.)
Rescuer 1: "Did you
Rescuer 2: "Keep your eye on that building. It will be
coming down soon."
Rescuer 3: "The
building's about to blow up. Moving back... We are walking
back. There is a building, about to blow up."
Rescuer 4: "It's gone
Rescuer 5: "Seven came down?"
building number 7 was going to collapse. That appears to be what
has happened now."
► WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW:
LIEUTENANT WILLIAM RYAN, Interview Date: October 18, 2001
"At that time he said, "7 has got fire on
Then we found out, I guess around 3:00
they thought 7 was going to collapse. So, of course, we've got guys
all in this pile over here and the main concern was get everybody out, and I
guess it took us over an hour and a half, two hours to get everybody out of
So it took us a while and we ended up backing
everybody out, and that's when 7 collapsed. Then, basically, after 7
collapsed, I went over and told the Chief that -- by then they had companies
with handie-talkies, masks.
Basically, we fell back for 7 to collapse,
and then we waited a while and it got a lot more organized, I would guess.
I was at the
ferry when I called, and I ended up calling her again at about 4:00 o'clock
in the afternoon from a position over here. I went in there to take a leak
and I just looked around. I guess when we fell back for 7 to collapse
I called her." -New York Times [Local]
WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW: FIREFIGHTER FRANK SWEENEY,
Interview Date: October 18, 2001
"Once they got us back together and organized
somewhat, they sent us back down to Vesey, where
we stood and waited for Seven World Trade Center to come down." -New
York Times [Local]
WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW: FIREFIGHTER SCOTT HOLOWACH,
Interview Date: October 18, 2001
"We ended up back up on Vesey Street and West
just hanging out until tower 7 came down. After tower 7 came down,
we went right to work over at tower 7 to put the fires out." -New York Times
WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW: PARAMEDIC STEVEN PILLA,
Interview Date: October 17, 2001
"Then it was about 5:00, because I was getting
hungry. We were eating oatmeal cookies and watered-down Gatorade from the
Salvation Army and the Red Cross...We walked back. We didn't do any further
because building number seven was coming down. That was another
to wait for building seven to come down, because that was unsecure.
It was about 5:30 that building came down." -New York Times [Local]
"...the firefighters made
the decision fairly early on not to attempt to fight the fires, due in
part to the damage to WTC 7 from the collapsing towers. Hence, the fire
progressed throughout the day fairly unimpeded by automatic or manual
It appears that the sprinklers may not have been effective due to the
limited water on site and that the development of the fires was not
significantly impeded by the firefighters because manual firefighting
efforts were stopped fairly early in the day.
WTC 7 collapsed approximately 7 hours after the collapse of WTC 1.
Preliminary indications were that, due to lack of water,
manual firefighting actions were taken by FDNY. -FEMA: WTC Building
Performance Study, Chp 5 (05/02)
also caused major structural damage to the building, which soon began
burning on multiple floors, said Francis X. Gribbon, a spokesman for the
Fire Department. By 11:30 a.m., the fire
commander in charge of that area, Assistant Chief Frank Fellini,
ordered firefighters away from it for safety reasons." -New York
"The global collapse occurred
with few external signs and is postulated to have occurred with the
failure of core columns" -NIST
Firehouse Magazine Reports - WTC: This Is Their Story
Captain Chris Boyle: "After that, we
headed to Vesey and Broadway. That’s where (Deputy) Chief (Tom) Haring was.
He was starting to put together a command post.
Firehouse: Did that chief give an
assignment to go to building 7?
Boyle: He gave out an assignment. I didn’t know exactly what it was,
but he told the chief that we were heading down to the site.
So we go there and on the north and east side
of 7 it didn’t look like there was any damage at all, but then you looked on
the south side of 7 there had to be a hole 20 stories tall in the
building, with fire on several floors. Debris was falling down on the
building and it didn’t look good.
But they had a hoseline operating. Like I
said, it was hitting the sidewalk across the street, but eventually they
pulled back too. Then we received an order from Fellini, we’re going to make
a move on 7. That was the first time really my stomach tightened up because
the building didn’t look good. I was figuring probably the standpipe systems
were shot. There was no hydrant pressure. I wasn’t really keen on the idea.
Then this other officer I’m standing next to said, that building doesn’t
look straight. So I’m standing there. I’m looking at the building. It
didn’t look right, but, well, we’ll go in, we’ll see.
So we gathered up rollups and most of us had
masks at that time. We headed toward 7. And just around we were about a
hundred yards away and Butch Brandies came running up. He said forget it,
nobody’s going into 7, there’s creaking, there are noises coming out of
there, so we just stopped. And probably about 10 minutes after that,
Visconti, he was on West Street, and I guess he had another report of
further damage either in some basements and things like that, so Visconti
said nobody goes into 7, so that was the final thing and that was
Firehouse: When you looked at the south side, how close were you to
the base of that side?
Boyle: I was standing right next to the building, probably right next
Firehouse: When you had fire on the 20 floors, was it in one window
Boyle: There was a huge gaping hole and it was scattered throughout
there. It was a huge hole. I would say it was probably about a third of it,
right in the middle of it. And so after Visconti came down and said nobody
goes in 7, we said all right, we’ll head back to the command post. We lost
touch with him. I never saw him again that day.
So we got water to 22, but then that’s when
they said all right, number 7 is coming down, shut everything down.
I don’t know what time that was. It was all just a blur.
Firehouse: Did they shut the tower
lines and remove them from there?
Boyle: No, just left them. Everything was left where it was. Just
shut everything down, moved everybody back.
Firehouse: Could you see building 7 again from there?
Boyle: Seven, no. You got a half block away, you couldn’t see it,
couldn’t see a damn thing. All we heard was they were worried about it
coming down, everybody back away." -Firehouse Magazine (08/02)
Firefighter Marcel Claes: "We
were kept away from building 7 because of the potential of
collapse." -Firehouse Magazine (04/02)
Deputy Chief Peter Hayden: "By now,
this is going on into the afternoon, and we were concerned about additional
collapse, not only of the Marriott, because there was a good portion of the
Marriott still standing, but also we were pretty sure that 7 World Trade
Center would collapse. Early on, we saw a bulge in the southwest
corner between floors 10 and 13, and we had put a transit on that and
we were pretty sure she was going to collapse. You actually could see
there was a visible bulge, it ran up about three floors. It came down about
5 o’clock in the afternoon, but by about 2 o’clock in the afternoon we
realized this thing was going to collapse.
Firehouse: Was there heavy fire in
there right away?
Hayden: No, not right away, and that’s probably why it stood
for so long because it took a while for that fire to develop. It was a heavy
body of fire in there and then we didn’t make any attempt to fight it.
We were concerned about the collapse of a 47-story building there.
Chief Nigro said they made a collapse zone and wanted everybody away from
number 7— did you have to get all of those people out?
Hayden: Yeah, we had to pull everybody back. It was very difficult.
We had to be very forceful in getting the guys out. They didn’t want to come
out. There were guys going into areas that I wasn’t even really comfortable
with, because of the possibility of secondary collapses. We didn’t know how
stable any of this area was. We pulled everybody back probably by 3 or
3:30 in the afternoon. We said, this building is going to come down,
get back. It came down about 5 o’clock or so, but we had everybody
backed away by then. At that point in time, it seemed like a somewhat
smaller event, but under any normal circumstances, that’s a major event,
a 47-story building collapsing. It seemed like a firecracker after the
other ones came down, but I mean that’s a big building, and when it came
down, it was quite an event. But having gone through the other two, it
didn’t seem so bad. But that’s what we were concerned about. We had said to
the guys, we lost as many as 300 guys. We didn’t want to lose any more
people that day. And when those numbers start to set in among everybody…"
-Firehouse Magazine (04/02)
Battalion Chief John Norman: "I started
to go down Vesey toward West, but there was a lot of debris blocking the way
and they were telling me no, you don’t want to go down there – they’re
worried about that building collapsing. I looked at 7 World Trade
Center. There was smoke showing, but not a lot and I’m saying that isn’t
going to fall. So I went up Church Street two more blocks and went
across to West and went right down behind 7 and got a good look at three
sides. From there, we looked out at 7 World Trade Center again. You could
see smoke, but no visible fire, and some damage to the south face. You
couldn’t really see from where we were on the west face of the building, but
at the edge of the south face you could see that it was very
Firehouse: Could you see if there was a
lot of debris in the street after the building came down?
Norman: Yes, that’s why we couldn’t walk down Vesey. But I never
expected it to fall the way it did as quickly as it did, 7.
Now we’re still worried about 7. We have guys
trying to make their way up into the pile, and
they’re telling us that 7 is going to fall down – and that was one
of the directions from the command post, to make sure we clear the collapse
zone from 7 and this is a 600-foot-tall building, so we had to clear a
600-foot radius from that building." -Firehouse Magazine (05/02)
Chief Joseph Pfiefer
you watching 7 World Trade Center?
Pfiefer: Yes, I watched 7. At one point, we were standing on
the west side of West Street and Vesey. And I remember Chief Nigro coming
back at that point saying I don’t want anybody else killed and to
take everybody two blocks up virtually to North End and Vesey, which is
a good ways up. And we stood there and we watched 7 collapse.
Dennis Tardio was coming down the C stairs in
building 7. At about the 9th or 10th floor, he met my brother Kevin, who
told Dennis, you can’t get down these stairs, there was all sorts of debris.
He directed him to the B stairs and, according to Captain Tardio, they got
out of the building and 30 seconds later it started collapsing. If they
would have continued in the same stairs, there was no way they would have
been out. I’m not too sure if my brother stayed there a little longer and
directed more companies along with his guys or he was doing what firemen do,
make sure all the brothers get out.
Firehouse: Did they all get killed?
Pfiefer: Yes." -Firehouse Magazine (04/02)
Battalion Chief Tom Vallebuona: "I
couldn’t get rid of that feeling like everything is going to collapse. 7
World Trade Center – I couldn’t even watch that. I said that’s enough. I
refused to watch that.
We thought 7 World Trade Center was going to fall and push the side of
the World Trade Center that was still standing, and then it was going to
go into 90 and I thought the scaffold was going to fall and cover the block
and kill another 30 people." -Firehouse Magazine (08/02)
Deputy Chief Nick Visconti: "I don’t
know how long this was going on, but I remember standing there looking over
at building 7 and realizing that a big chunk of the lower floors had been
taken out on the Vesey Street side. I looked up at the building and I saw
smoke in it, but I really didn’t see any fire at that time.
Now, World Trade Center 7 was burning
and I was thinking to myself, how come they’re not trying to put this
fire out? I didn’t realize how much they had because my view was
obstructed. All I could see was the upper floor. At some point, Frank
Fellini said, now we’ve got hundreds of guys out there, hundreds and
hundreds, and that’s on the West Street side alone. He said to me, Nick,
you’ve got to get those people out of there. I thought to myself, out of
where? Frank, what do you want, Chief? He answered, 7 World Trade Center,
imminent collapse, we’ve got to get those people out of there.
I was getting some resistance. The common
thing was, hey, we’ve still got people here, we don’t want to leave. I
explained to them that
we were worried about 7, that it was going to come down and we
didn’t want to get anybody trapped in the collapse. One comment was, oh,
that building is never coming down, that didn’t get hit by a plane, why
isn’t somebody in there putting the fire out?
I walked out and I got to Vesey and West,
where I reported to Frank. He said, we’re moving the command post over this
way, that building’s coming down. At this point, the fire was going
virtually on every floor, heavy fire and smoke that really wasn’t bothering
us when we were searching because it was being pushed southeast and we were
a little bit west of that. I remember standing just where West and Vesey
start to rise toward the entrance we were using in the World Financial
Center. There were a couple of guys standing with me and a couple of guys
right at the intersection, and we were trying to back them up – and here
goes 7. It started to come down and now people were starting to run.
I said, that building is not coming this way, you could see where it was
going, but I was concerned about debris. I heard later on that somebody got
trapped in the debris of 7, but I don’t know.
Firehouse: Five o’clock is when Tower 7
Visconti: Five or 5:30. I was saying it’s good to know who’s here,
but there’s no imminent collapse, there’s nothing hanging over us. It’s more
stable. I said OK, pick out six or seven guys and walk over this way, we’ll
pick up some, we’ll get over there." -Firehouse Magazine (08/02)
Doesn't this NYU medical student who described
hearing an explosion at the WTC 7, then seeing a shockwave ripple through
the building, then saw its windows busting out, then sees the bottom floor
cave out before the rest of the building fell sound like they just witnessed
a building being demolished with explosives?
Reporter: "I'm here with an emergency worker. He's a first year NYU
medical student. He was down there; he was trying to help people. His name
Darryl: "Yeah I was just standing there, ya
know... We were watching the building [WTC 7] actually 'cuz it was on
fire... the bottom floors of the building were on fire and... we heard
this sound that sounded like a clap of thunder... turned around - we
were shocked to see that the building was, ah well it looked like there
was a shockwave ripping through the building and the windows all
busted out... it was horrifying... about a second later
bottom floor caved out and the building followed after that...
we saw the building crash down all the way to the ground... we were in
shock." -1010 WINS NYC (09/11/01) [@ 1:22 into the video]
What does demolition experts Controlled
Demolitions, Inc. (CDI) think the phrase "pull it" means in demolition
A phone call made to CDI by Jeff at
Listen to audio conversation
here or local.
Good afternoon, Loizeaux Company.
Jeff: Um, sorry, do I -- is this Controlled Demolitions?
CDI: Yes it is.
Jeff: Ok, I was wondering if there was someone I could talk to briefly --
just ask a question I had?
CDI: Well what kind of question?
Jeff: Well I just wanted to know what a term meant in demolition terms.
CDI: Ok, what type of term?
Jeff: Well, if you were in the demolition business and you said the, the
term "pull it," I was wondering what exactly that would mean?
CDI: "Pull it"?
CDI: Hmm? Hold on a minute.
Jeff: Thank you.
CDI: "Pull it" is when they actually pull it down.
Jeff: Oh, well thank you very much for your time.
CDI: 'Pull It' Means 'Pull It Down')
Notice how a lot of other references where the
word "pull" is being used to describe the demolishing of
buildings and how even FEMA uses the word "pull" to describe how the WTC 7
► "The collapse of WTC 7 was different from that of WTC 1 and WTC 2,
which showered debris in a wide radius as their frames essentially "peeled"
outward. The collapse of WTC 7 had a small debris field as
facade was pulled downward, suggesting an internal failure
and implosion." -FEMA: WTC
Study, Chp 5 (05/02)
"The preparation of the
structure for implosion could have been approached a number of ways...it
was decided that CDI [Controlled Demolition, Inc.] could effectively minimize the amount of linear shaped
charge explosives to be used in the structure. By torch-cutting splice
plates on selected upper columns/floors, and utilizing approximately 3,000
feet of steel-core cable on alternate upper floors to help
“pull” the northern and eastern walls away from the fiber optics cables..." -Controlled Demolition, Inc.
"Phase 1 continued to fall,
helping to pull Phase 2
in. Phase 2 was detonated several seconds later and collapsed and fell the
same as Phase 1." -Controlled Demolition, Inc. (01/23/05)
Perfect demolition leaves Dome a fallen souffle
"In a flurry of flashes and booms, the
Kingdome... rumbled to the ground Sunday in 16.8 spectacular
More than 4,450 pounds of dynamite, unleashed over a span of tiny
delays, blitzed one of the world's largest concrete domes -- one day shy of
its 24th birthday.
"The roof did its job, the gravity engine worked. It provided the energy we
to pull the columns inward," said Mark Loizeaux, president of
Controlled Demolition Inc., the Maryland-based company whose handiwork
brought down the Dome.
"The demolition went perfectly," said Tom Gerlach of Turner Construction
Co., which is building a new football and soccer stadium on the site.
"The relief is palpable." -Seattle Post-Intelligencer (03/27/02)
"Stacey Loizeaux, who calls herself "The Demolition
Woman," grew up in a family whose grandfather, Jack, pioneered the art of
implosion, the controlled demolition of structures ranging from bridges to
blast furnaces, from radio towers to buildings. In 1957, Jack Loizeaux, now
81 and retired, was the first person in the U.S. To "implode" buildings in
dense urban settings. J. Mark and Douglas K. Loizeaux, who co-authored an
article, "Demolition by Implosion," in the October 1995 issue of Scientific
American, describe the process of preparing a building for its five-second
takedown as a process of carefully removing all non-essential (non
load-bearing) materials, scanning blueprints, taking samples of concrete to
determine its actual strength (or weakness!) -- and even, in some cases,
re-building parts of the structure
in order to properly pull it down." -University
exceptions, explosive demolition in the early 1960s was concentrated in the
industrial sector, and blasters worked primarily within a few-hundred mile
radius of their respective offices. Many expanded their resumes' with power
plants, warehouses, factories, coal tipples and blast furnaces, and with
each new project they gained valuable experience. Gradually they began to
develop techniques to increase the efficiency of explosive charges, such as
pre-cutting steel beams and attaching cables to certain columns
to "pull" a
structure in a given direction. -ImplosionWorld.com
"In the demolition industry,
is usually trying to pull a structure away from adjacent exposures
and towards an area large enough to contain the debris." -ImplosionWorld.com
"The University of Louisiana at Monroe, Anderson Excavation,
and Controlled Demolition, Inc. (CDI Implosion Subcontractor) of Phoenix,
Maryland announced today that Olin Hall on the ULM Campus will be imploded
on Saturday September 25 at 10 a.m.
Implosion is a process where a small amount of explosives is used to disrupt
selected supports in a building. This allows gravity
to pull the structure
down in a controlled manner. CDI has used this implosion method thousands of
times around the world during the past 52 years to remove unwanted
structures. CDI's safety record is unparalleled." -University of Louisiana
at Monroe (09/20/04)
[Loizeaux] brought a basic knowledge of construction, engineering, and physics
to his new science of implosion. More important, though, he brought the
fascination and conviction of a true believer. Long before anyone else, he
had faith in the power of explosives to help gravity do what it wants to do
anyway: pull things down."
-University of Georgia
"On Sunday, June 10, 2001,
the City of Des Moines subcontracted
the implosion of the
Younkers Warehouse Building
to Controlled Demolition Incorporated
(CDI) from Des Moines
and Metro Wrecking and Excavating,
Inc. from Phoenix, Maryland.
CDI drilled over 500 holes
in the supporting columns in the
building and placed approximately
250 pounds of explosives.
The explosives were detonated
with a delay pattern that
started in the southeast corner of
the building and proceeded toward
the northwest corner in a
matter of seconds. This delay
sequence allowed the explosive
charges to detonate fractions of
seconds apart; reducing the noise
and vibrations to approximately
25 percent of the allowable levels
before damage would occur
to surrounding buildings. This
delay allowed CDI to control the
direction that the building would fall and resulted in the illusion that
melted. CDI planned the implosion
to pull the
building to the southeast and away from the intersection
of SW 9th and Mulberry Streets.
The implosion was very successful. -Front Line/Des Moines, IA
How does an implosion work?
"Not all demolition blast(s) are implosions. The industry often refers to
them as implosions because it is a popular expression. A true implosion is a
case when a structure has been caused to fall inwards on itself.
Smokestacks, towers, bridges and most buildings are not imploded. They are
simply knocked over.
Implosion is used when there is limited area on all sides of a structure
making it impossible to lay them out.
The principles used on an implosion are basically the same whether it is a
true implosion, or if the structure is simply going to be laid out. The
principle tool in an implosion is gravity. The explosives are used to weaken
and cause the supporting members of the structure to fail, thus allowing
pull the structure down or over."
-Dykon Blasting Corp.
► "Stacey Loizeaux, twenty-six
years old, has worked for Controlled Demolition, an international explosives
engineering firm, since the age of fifteen. She learned the fine art of
demolition from her father, Mark Loizeaux, and her uncle, Doug Loizeaux—president
and vice-president of the company.
NOVA: A common misconception is that you blow buildings up. That's not
really the case, is it?
Stacy Loizeaux: No. The term "implosion" was coined by my grandmother
back in, I guess, the '60s. It's a more descriptive way to explain what we do
than "explosion." There are a series of small explosions, but the building
itself isn't erupting outward. It's actually being pulled in on top of
itself. What we're really doing is removing specific support columns
within the structure and then cajoling the building in one direction or
another, or straight down.
NOVA: I understand that you try to use the smallest amount of explosives
possible...Can you explain why?
SL: Well, the explosives are really just the catalyst. Largely what we use
is gravity. And we're dealing with Class A explosives that are embedded into
concrete—and that concrete flies. So, let's say your explosive is 17,000
feet per second—you've got a piece of concrete moving at that speed when you
remove it from the structure.
NOVA: Can you describe the prep work that goes into dropping a building.
SL: Well, it depends on the structure, obviously. We've had chimneys
prepared in half a day and we've had buildings that take three months.
Generally we don't do the preparation work. We are usually an implosion
subcontractor, meaning that there is a main demolition contractor on site,
who's been contracted by the property owner or the developer, and they then
subcontract the implosion to us.
NOVA: Why do the explosive charges go off at intervals rather than all at
SL: Well, if I kick both your legs out from under you, you're going to fall
right on your butt. If I kick one leg out from under you, you'll fall left
or right. So the way we control the failure of the building is by using the
delays. And, again, that varies structure to structure and depending on
where we want the building to go. A lot of people, when they see a
building implosion, expect it to go into its own basement, which is not
always what the contractor wants. Sometimes the contractor wants to lay the
building out like a tree. And, sometime, we need to bring down buildings
that are actually touching other buildings.
NOVA: How do you do that?
pull it away, you peel it off. If you have room in the opposite
direction, you just let the building sort of melt down in that direction and
it will pull itself completely away from the building. It can be
NOVA: What do you look for in an explosive?
SL: Velocity. You have two different types of explosives. You have low order
and high order. A low order explosive is like what they used when they
bombed the Oklahoma City building—that's ANFO, ammonium nitrate and fuel
oil. It's a very slow, heaving explosion. It tends to push more than it does
shatter. The explosive we look for is a shattering explosive. What we want
to do is instantaneously remove the integrity of the columns or whatever
we're working on. That's what we look for in nitroglycerin or NG-based
dynamite. With a steel building, we use something called a linear shaped
charge. It's the same explosive they use to sever the fuel tank off the
Space Shuttle, when they launch.
NOVA: I understand that Controlled Demolition was hired to bring down the
remains of the Oklahoma City Federal Building. Were you out there for
SL: My father and my uncle went out.
NOVA: Do you get a thrill watching a building fall?
SL: Oh sure. I mean you really don't ever lose it. Your perspective changes.
When I first started traveling with my Dad at fifteen, sixteen years old, I
used to be awestruck. But you sort of go from that awestruck feeling to
where you understand how the structure is coming down and you're watching
for certain things—counting the delays or waiting for a part of the building
to kick out or waiting for it to pull forward. So it does change, but
it's always a rush." -NOVA/PBS (1997)
Demolition of Dangerous Building
"City staff have contacted the property owner
by phone to request that he obtain a demolition permit and
pull down and demolish the building, however, the owner has
demonstrated no desire to cooperate.
2. THAT the owners are hereby ordered to
pull down the building and remove the resulting debris and the discarded
materials from the site
within 14 days of the date from a copy of this Resolution being served
pursuant to Section 324A of the Vancouver Charter.
3. THAT in the event that the owners do not
comply with the order set forth in the preceding paragraph, the City
Building Inspector is hereby ordered and authorized to pull down the
building and remove the resulting debris and discarded material from the
site at the cost of the owners and dispose of it by selling to the
demolition contractor any material he may agree to purchase, and delivering
the rest to a disposal site." - Vancouver City Council (01/09/96)
Was it just a coincidence that Larry Silverstein, who
had already owned WTC 7, signed a
99-year lease for the rest of the six WTC buildings just six weeks before the attacks?
World Trade Center homepage
"A private developer little known to the
general public, Silverstein signed a 99-year lease for the twin
just six weeks before the attack.
His lease with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey remains in
place, making Silverstein, 72, a key figure in the rebuilding of the
site." -CBS Interactive
► "In April, the Port Authority
granted a 99-year lease of the twin towers and four other buildings
to Silverstein for an estimated $3.2 billion.
The deal -- which allowed Silverstein to manage the complex and collect rent
-- was said by the Port Authority to be
the most expensive real estate transaction in New York history."
"Upon its completion, Silverstein Properties
will have fulfilled its obligation to restore 10 million square feet of
prime office space lost as a result of the terrorist attacks of September
11, 2001." -
Silverstein Properties Development
► "Larry A. Silverstein
President and CEO of Silverstein Properties, Inc. and is a
member of the New York Bar. He is a Governor of the Real Estate Board of New
York, having served as its Chairman. He is Vice Chairman of the Board of
Trustees of New York University and is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of
the New York University Real Estate Institute. As a Professor of Real
Estate, his "Silverstein Workshop" became one of the best attended and most
informative educational programs in real estate development and investment
Mr. Silverstein is acknowledged for his philanthropic endeavors. He
contributes his time and resources to the
United Jewish Appeal/Federation
of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, on whose board he served as
chairman. Mr. Silverstein is currently Chairman of the Realty
Foundation, trustee of New York University, trustee of the South Street
Seaport Museum, and a
trustee of the Museum of Jewish Heritage.
Mr. Silverstein, 71, is married with three children, two of whom [Lisa
Roger] are executives of Silverstein Properties. He is a classical music
enthusiast, a passionate yachtsman and dedicated New Yorker." -Silverstein Properties Development
► "In an effort to move
forward, developer Larry Silverstein, president of Silverstein Properties,
has turned to Tishman Construction Corp. to rebuild 7 World Trade Center
(WTC). The groundbreaking, Silverstein said in a statement, is expected to
be earlier than September 11, 2002.
The new building, which is expected to take three years to build, will be a
2-million-sq.-ft., 47-story tower. The new tower will be erected at
approximately the same location and with approximately the same
dimensions as the original 7 WTC. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has been
selected to design the building.
Silverstein Properties owned 7 WTC outright. It was not part of
the original six-building complex. While plans for 7 WTC move forward,
the developer is still involved in a legal battle with the insurers
of the others buildings he leased from the Port Authority of NY&NJ. The
controversy is whether the destruction of the Twin Towers was a single event
or two separate event. The final determination will result in the
insurers paying out $3.6 billion or $7.2 billion. Another factor will be
what can or will eventually be built on the Twin Towers site.
Silverstein Properties expects the reconstruction of 7 WTC to go more
smoothly because it is not on hallowed ground. No one died in the
destruction of the original 7 WTC structure, which was physically
separated from the rest of the trade center, connected only by a plaza
and a elevated walkway." -New York Construction News (01/14/02)
► "Silverstein Properties is a
Manhattan-based real estate development and investment firm that owns,
manages and has developed more than 20 million square feet of office,
residential and retail space.
an affiliate of Silverstein Properties built 7 World Trade Center, a
47-story Class A office tower that contained 2 million square feet of office
space, across the street from the World Trade Center complex.
By the year 2000, 7 World Trade Center was 100% occupied by some of
Manhattan's premiere companies, including Salomon Smith Barney, Hartford
Fire Insurance, American Express and the United States Securities and
Exchange Commission. The Mayor's Office of Emergency Management and the
United States Secret Service also leased significant space in the building;
Con Edison held a ground lease from the Port Authority for a substation that
supplied power to a major part of Lower Manhattan and the Financial
In the summer of 2001, separate affiliates of Silverstein Properties signed
a 99-year lease with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey of four
buildings at the World Trade Center, including the Twin Towers." -Brodoff
Frank Lowy is executive chairman and co-founder of the Westfield Group.
He is a member of the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia and a director
of Daily Mail and General Trust plc (UK) and chairman of the the Lowy
Institute for International Policy and the Football Federation of Australia
Limited. He is chairman of the Nomination Committee." -Westfield Group
Zionist Circles Benefit From WTC Collapse
Who benefited when the World Trade Center towers collapsed? Who
controlled access prior to Sept. 11? These burning questions continue to be
ignored by the mainstream media.
Larry Silverstein, lease-holder of the World Trade Center, and
Lewis Eisenberg, the man who negotiated the lease, are key supporters
of Israel who have both held high positions in the largest Israeli
fundraising institution in the United States.
Silverstein and his Australian-Israeli partner, Frank Lowy, are the
real estate developers who obtained 99-year leases on the rental and
retail spaces of the World Trade Center shortly before the catastrophe of
Although their leased property is destroyed, the lease-holders themselves
stand to gain billions of dollars from insurance.
former chairman of the Port Authority of New York
and New Jersey, personally arranged the privatization of the World Trade
Center property and oversaw the negotiations that delivered the leases into
the private hands of Silverstein and Lowy.
Eisenberg was recently appointed finance chairman of the Republican National
How did these well-known supporters of Israel come to control the property?
What actually caused the buildings to collapse? There are two schools of
There is the “official” theory that hijacked planes crashed into the towers
and the subsequent fuel fires caused the twin towers to fall.
The second theory, however, argues that other devices, such as
explosive charges, were used to collapse the towers in a kind of controlled
demolition for which the planes provided a useful distraction.
There remain significant amounts of eyewitness testimony and evidence to
support the theory that explosives contributed to the collapse of the twin
towers and Seven World Trade Center, which fell for no apparent reason
during the afternoon of Sept. 11.
Seven WTC was a 47-story building built by Silverstein on property leased
from the Port Authority.
There are video recordings and photographs which appear to show explosions
occurring at the base of the towers prior to and during the collapses.
In a remarkable three-dimensional image published in the German magazine GEO
EPOCHE, which dedicated the December 2001 issue to 9-11, there are five or
six large and deep craters to be seen beneath the rubble. At least four huge
craters are seen where the twin towers stood and one is squarely at the
center of Seven-WTC. Another photograph shows what appears to be a
sand-colored blast originating at the base of one of the towers and growing
into an immense cloud of dust.
If explosive charges were used to collapse the towers, the question of who
had access to the buildings prior to 9-11 emerges. Silverstein controlled
access to the towers from the end of July when he obtained the 99-year
Who Silverstein is and how he obtained these leases for a fraction of their
value are questions that have been completely avoided by the mainstream
Silverstein is the New York City commercial landlord who built Seven World
Trade Center in 1987. Silverstein won, with Lowy’s Westfield America, a
99-year right-to-lease of the World Trade Center from Eisenberg, the former
chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on July 26, 2001.
While Silverstein controlled the 10.6 million-square-foot office space in
the WTC complex, Westfield leased the 427,000 square-foot retail mall.
Silverstein and Eisenberg have both held leadership positions with
the United Jewish Appeal (UJA), a billion dollar Zionist “charity”
Silverstein is a former chairman of United Jewish Appeal Federation of
Jewish Philanthropies of New York, Inc. This is an umbrella organization
which raises hundreds of millions of dollars every year for its network of
hundreds of member Zionist agencies in the United States and Israel.
Eisenberg, who was instrumental in obtaining the lease for Silverstein, sits
on the Planning Board of UJA/ United Jewish Federation.
Eisenberg was the key person in negotiating the lease for Silverstein and
Westfield, who were in fact the low bidders in the final bidding process on
the 110-story towers.
While the high bid came from Vornado Realty Trust, its path was reportedly
blocked by demands to pay back taxes. In March 2001 the company pulled out
after failing to reach a purchase agreement with Eisenberg. When Vornado
pulled out, the door was opened for Silverstein and Lowy. Lowy obtained the
retail lease in April while it took Silverstein until the end of July to
obtain funding for the down payment.
One lender, GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corp., accused Silverstein of
misallocating insurance money paid out after the Sept. 11 attack. In a
complaint filed on Jan. 14 in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, the
lender, GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corp., asserts that Silverstein used some
insurance money to pay lobbyists in Albany and in Washington to try to limit
his liability to the victims.
Eisenberg is a “New York moneyman” and a former Democrat who supports the
liberal wing of the Republican Party. He has donated hundreds of thousands
of dollars to “pro-choice” Republican candidates. The newly appointed
finance chairman for the Republican National Committee, Eisenberg has also
served as a vice president of the strong arm of the Israeli lobby, the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
When New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman appointed Eisenberg chairman of
the Port Authority in February 1996, Forbes magazine said the formerly
disgraced Goldman Sachs partner “got real lucky.”
“What a strange political appointment,” the magazine said, “considering the
part he played in the sex scandal that rocked Goldman and the financial
community in the late 1980s.”
Eisenberg quit Goldman Sachs after his secretary accused him of sexually
“The truth ended up being that, yes, they had a brief affair, but, no, she
was never harassed,” Forbes wrote, adding, “all charges were dismissed,
though Eisenberg did resign.”
Silverstein is engaged in a lawsuit to double his insurance pay-off and may
win as much as $7.1 billion from the insurance companies by arguing that the
destruction of the towers was two insured events instead of one. The
property was insured for $3.55 billion. Silverstein Properties Inc. had
asked the judge to rule on the one-loss-or-two issue in a lawsuit against 20
of the 22 insurers on the property. District Judge John S. Martin Jr.
rejected a motion for summary judgment in June.
A trial is scheduled Sept. 3, although a request for a delay by the insurers
is under consideration.
While Silverstein Properties, a family-owned business, is “disappointed that
the issue was not decided at this time, they are confident that they will
prevail at trial,” said Howard Rubenstein, a spokesman for Silverstein." -American Free Press, By
► United Jewish Appeal -
Federation of New York
Mission: Caring for those in need, rescuing those in harm's way,
and renewing and strengthening the Jewish people in New York, in Israel, and
around the world.
Our Leadership: Past Chairs, Board of Directors, Larry A.
FAQ: 1. What is the UJA-Federation Annual Campaign and where
does my contribution go?
UJA-Federation raises funds to support an array of services provided by over
100 health, human service and educational agencies in the New York
metropolitan area, as well as in Israel...
4. Is it possible to pay my pledge with stocks or bonds?
Yes. You can pay all or part of your pledge to UJA-Federation with stocks,
mutual funds, or State of Israel bonds.
Lewis M. Eisenberg
"For many years, Mr. Eisenberg was a partner of Goldman Sachs & Co.
In 1990, he founded Granite Capital International Group, an investment
management company headquartered in New York City. Mr. Eisenberg also
served from 1995 to 2001 as Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The Port Authority is also,
of course, the owner of the World Trade Center, and Mr. Eisenberg led the
agency through the first three months of recovery and clean-up after the
terrorist attacks of September 11. He was recently named a member of New
York’s Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Authority, which will spearhead the
rebuilding of Ground Zero.
His community and charitable activities include leadership in health and
healthcare related institutions. He is on the Planning Board of UJA/United
Mr. Eisenberg is a long-time Republican activist and was recently elected
Finance Chairman of the Republican National Committee. He has raised
millions of dollars for the Republican Party and Republican candidates. He
served on New York Governor George Pataki’s transition team and was a key
advisor to New Jersey Governor Christine Whitman." -Republican Jewish
Zionism: "A Jewish movement that
arose in the late 19th century in response to growing anti-Semitism and
sought to reestablish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Modern Zionism is
concerned with the support and development of the state of Israel." -American
Was it just a huge
coincidence—and nothing short of a miracle—that the entire WTC complex of
seven buildings which Mr. Silverstein just leased six months before the
attacks was destroyed with only one non-WTC
complex structure destroyed (a small four-story church) or was the
destruction of the entire WTC complex simply one part of an elaborate scheme
that included purposely destroying the money-losing complex to make a huge
profit from the insurance money payouts?
"The list of collapsed
buildings (as confirmed by the New York Times through Saturday,
all seven buildings of the World Trade center complex — including
WTC 6, the U.S Customs House to the north; WTC 3, the 22 story Marriot World
Trade Center hotel just west of Tower Two; and WTC 4 and 5, the Plaza
Buildings to the east (although satellite images suggest much of WTC 5, the
north Plaza Building, was still standing). Other nearby buildings were
significantly damaged, including the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church,
and One Liberty Plaza, a 54 floor, 743' tall building across Church Street
to the east." -GreatBuildings.com
"It was a boondoggle.
When I hear people refer to it as a "symbol of capitalism," I don’t know
whether to laugh or cry. It was not built by a private developer, but by
government, in the form of the Port Authority of New York and New
Jersey, our local bi-state agency that’s supposed to manage local
transportation facilities...It wasn’t even effective; development in Lower
Manhattan has continued to lag, despite huge subsidies. WTC was a
monument to big government, corporatism, incompetence, and megalomania.
It lost money. Because it was built in blissful disregard of the
collapsing office market in Lower Manhattan, they couldn’t rent all of it
when it opened. More than a million square feet of space just sat there,
empty. The complex would have gone bankrupt if strings hadn’t been pulled
to move state agencies into it. Under reasonable accounting assumptions
and leaving out government subsidies of one kind or another, (such as the
entire thing’s exemption from local taxes due to its being owned by a
it was a financial disaster, partly because its cost overran
estimates by more than 100%." -Front Page Magazine (06/11/02)
"Larry Silverstein and
Frank Lowy—the chairman of Westfield, a huge shopping-mall company
that leased the Trade Center's retail space—believe that their leases give
them the right to rebuild, and the Port Authority has said it intends to
honor them. Silverstein and Westfield are the beneficiaries of insurance
policies on the twin towers that could pay them between three and a
half and seven billion dollars for their loss. If they get the larger
amount—the matter is in litigation—they
will have so much money that they could pay for new skyscrapers
all by themselves, without borrowing a cent, although the L.M.D.C. and
the Port Authority would retain control over the designs." -New Yorker
Nicholas Hellenic Orthodox Church was destroyed together with the World
Trade Center on 11 September 2001.
The church was located across the Liberty Street from the WTC towers,
between the Washington and West Streets." -Wired
(Click photos for source.)
If Mr. Silverstein was part of scheme to rid
the WTC complex and collect the insurance money to rebuild it, there would
have to be a motive for him to do it. Was his motives to destroy the
WTC because the twin towers were always money losers, they were hated by
many New Yorkers and building critics, it would have been too
costly to remove the asbestos in the towers so they could demolish it and
start over, and by destroying them, the government would pay for it's
"The director of the
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that the
agency is releasing an additional $57 million to assist New York City in
debris removal at the World Trade Center site. This brings the total
amount to date FEMA has provided for
assistance to more than $339 million.
FEMA public assistance funds are being used to help the city repair
damaged infrastructure, restore critical services, cover costs associated
with immediate response activities, and the removal, transport and
sorting of debris. FEMA and the state of New York work together to
deliver Public Assistance funds. FEMA provides public assistance grants
directly to the state. The state, in turn, reimburses eligible applicants,
such as the City of New York." -FEMA (11/09/01)
"Though this may be hard for some to believe,
especially in these sentimental times, the so-called Twin Towers at the World
Trade Center were hated by many New Yorkers, who before September 11, 2001
have been happy if the goddamned things had never been built and after September
11th are glad that they're gone.
Built for an enormous amount of money between 1966 and 1970 by the Port
Authority of the State of New York...the Twin Towers were always
money-losers as rental properties and required huge subsidies (tens of millions
of dollars a year) from the State of New York to remain solvent. Because all of
the windows in both towers were sealed up tight...the WTC complex was ludicrously costly to heat and light.
Furthermore, visiting business men and women weren't satisfied to remain within
the WTC's purportedly self-sufficient universe, and wished to venture (and shop
and do business) outside of it. In the 1980s, advances in information and
telecommunication technologies decentralized the financial markets, which in
turn "rolled back" the necessity for foreign institutions to be in close
physical proximity to each other, Wall Street and the rest of lower Manhattan,
which is precisely what the gigantic size and centralized location of the Twin
Towers were intended to provide.
In New York City, obsolete buildings are infrequently saved, whatever their
historical or architectural interest. Most often, they are simply torn down and
replaced. The only thing that saved the Twin Towers from
demolition was the fact that they were filled with asbestos, which would be
released into the air if the buildings were destroyed by controlled explosions.
In 2000, the Port Authority calculated that it would cost $1 billion -- i.e.,
much more money than the Port Authority could afford to spend -- to remove the
asbestos before the buildings were destroyed. And so the Port Authority was
stuck with the Twin Towers, that is, until 26 April 2001, when it found a
consortium of business interests (Westfield America, led by Larry Silverstein,
the owner of the building at 7 World Trade Center) that was willing to lease the
property. Supposed to last for 99 years, the $3.2 billion lease mandated that
the Port Authority continue to pay taxes on the property. "This is a dream come
true," Silverstein said at the 23 July 2001 celebration of the lease's signing.
"We will be in control of a prized asset, and we will seek to develop its
potential, raising it to new heights."
And so, quite paradoxically, the mass-murdering hijackers who destroyed the Twin
Towers by flying fully fueled passenger airplanes into them did Westfield
America an immense favor. Even though Westfield America would obviously have
preferred that both the planes and the buildings were unoccupied (save for the
hijackers themselves) at the time that the former were used to destroy the
latter, the terrorists got rid of the towers quickly, efficiently -- the towers
fell down instead of over -- and in such a way that
Westfield America didn't
have to pay for any of it, including the asbestos, which was "removed" from the
site by the wind, the rain and the search-and-rescue teams employed by the City
of New York in the months after the buildings exploded, collapsed and gave off
thick clouds of toxic dust.
There has been a lot of speculation about the facts that both towers collapsed
and were utterly destroyed by the airplanes. Most of these "conspiracy theories"
are weakened or completely undermined by the ignorance of their authors.
If there is any "conspiracy" here, it concerns the fact that then-NYC-Mayor
Rudolph Giuliani ordered the speedy removal and burial in a landfill of all of
the structural steel members found at the site. Giuliani's motivation for this
highly unusual and very suspicious action was simply to prevent fire
investigators from proving that the collapse of 7 World Trade Center -- which
wasn't struck by one of the planes -- was in fact caused by the explosion of the
fuel tank that Giuliani ordered installed in the building so that his prized
"Emergency Command Center" on the 23rd floor could function, even in the event
of a "disaster" that might cause the building's electricity to be cut off." -New York
Psychogeographical Association/Not Bored (11/30/01)
► "DEAR ANN COULTER:
...in your article supporting the rebuilding of the World Trade Center as it
was before, you overlook a dirty little secret about the towers that
we New Yorkers, mindful of the world’s sympathies, have managed to keep:
Almost everyone hated them.
I realize that the WTC has become a symbol of everything good about America
that those bastards were out to destroy. But lest anyone be puzzled about
why we almost certainly aren’t going to rebuild the WTC the way it was,
let’s recall the reasons why on September 10, 2001, no one would have
been terribly upset if it had been peacefully replaced by something else:
It was ugly. It may have made a great exclamation point on the
skyline for tourists to look at, particularly after the neighboring World
Financial Center was designed specifically to make it fit in better with the
rest of Lower Manhattan, but approaching it on foot from the street, it was
ugly. Most people don’t realize that those two towers were surrounded by
a cluster of ugly brown metal buildings less than ten stories high.
These were what you saw close-up on ground level. The towers themselves
weren’t particularly attractive from the ground, just vertiginous and a
little intimidating. They had banal and unimpressive entrances. And the
effect on the skyline is debatable: when WTC went up, its square bulk
overshadowed the marvelous old ornamented and needle-tipped towers that you
can see in old photographs, like 40 Wall Street, the Cities Service
building, and the National City building. And it wasn’t much better on the
inside: it had narrow recessed windows you couldn’t see out of, resulting
in mediocre views. Its lobbies and public spaces were decorated in a
kind of high-‘70s pseudo-glamorous kitsch, with white marble, giant
chandeliers, and chrome plating everywhere. It was a boondoggle. When
I hear people refer to it as a "symbol of capitalism," I don’t know whether
to laugh or cry. It was not built by a private developer, but by
government, in the form of the Port Authority of New York and New
Jersey, our local bi-state agency that’s supposed to manage local
transportation facilities. Of course, in the ‘60s, when this thing was
conceived, they had gotten bored of doing such things and had branched into
real-estate development while letting the transportation facilities crumble.
It was built as a result of a corrupt deal between liberal Republican
governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York and the state of New Jersey,
in exchange for the Port Authority’s taking over the money-losing Hudson &
Manhattan Railroad. Its other purpose, no better, was to prop up real
estate values in Lower Manhattan, an act of absolutely no benefit to the
public and geared solely to enriching local property owners at taxpayers’
expense. It wasn’t even effective; development in Lower Manhattan has
continued to lag, despite huge subsidies. WTC was a monument to big
government, corporatism, incompetence, and megalomania. It lost money.
Because it was built in blissful disregard of the collapsing office market
in Lower Manhattan, they couldn’t rent all of it when it opened. More
than a million square feet of space just sat there, empty. The complex
would have gone bankrupt if strings hadn’t been pulled to move state
agencies into it. Under reasonable accounting assumptions and leaving
out government subsidies of one kind or another, (such as the entire thing’s
exemption from local taxes due to its being owned by a government agency)
it was a financial disaster, partly because its cost overran estimates
by more than 100%. And it never had more than 5% of its tenants in "world
trade" related businesses, its intended market. It wrecked the street
grid of Lower Manhattan. WTC replaced all that with a vast superblock
like something from Brasilia, which disrupted traffic flow and made New
York’s notorious traffic jams even worse.
It was shabbily constructed. The inadequate fireproofing that has
been reported is just the tip of the iceberg. It is no accident that
tower #7, which was actually further from the impact, collapsed,
while the older New York Telephone building next door did not. It didn’t
have enough fire stairs. The elevator shafts were enclosed in no more than
sheetrock in many places, helping the fire to spread. It was a pain to do
business in, because it took twice as long to get in and out of as any
other skyscraper in New York. Due to that huge plaza, you couldn’t take a
cab up to the door, but had to slog through rain, snow, or sweltering heat
just to get to the front door. Then you had to take not one but two
elevators to get wherever you were going: a bizarre combination of a "local"
and an "express" elevator that I’ve never seen in any other building. It was
so tall your eardrums hurt if you didn’t continually swallow on the way up.
At street level, it was surrounded by a huge concrete plaza that was
alternately sweltering (as it was completely unshaded by so much as a
sapling) in summer and windswept (due to the vortex effect of the towers)
in winter. The rest of the time, it was an open-air zoo of homeless people.
The American Institute of Architects Guide to New York City rightly records
that the shopping mall underneath it "drains the plaza of any meaningful
activity." This mall, which brought the sophistication of
Paramus, NJ to the world’s greatest city, killed the retail life of the
streets of Lower Manhattan by siphoning off purchasing power. Pigeons
got more out of it than people did. To build it, they had to demolish
the old Electronics District of New York, destroying thousands of jobs and a
good number of homes. It diverted billions in public investment from New
York’s real infrastructure needs like the subways and the airports.
It failed to provide easy connections between the different subway lines
that ran beneath it. It was energy-inefficient. Its windows were
untinted glass, leading to huge solar heat gain. It was built with
inefficient pre-oil shock technology throughout.
It is no accident that when WTC was in effect expanded by the construction
of the World Financial Center next door in the ‘80s, just about every design
principle was reversed:
Sick irony or no, al Qaeda has given New York a chance to correct one of
its great urban-planning mistakes. If they had blown up our wretched
Penn Station, we would not be demanding that it be rebuilt as it was. It
would be a pity to waste this opportunity rebuilding something that we know,
in our heart of hearts, was a mistake top begin with.
Note: Here’s what New York’s premier architectural critic at the time, Ada
Louise Huxtable, had to say about the World Trade Center when it opened:
"The towers are pure technology, the lobbies are pure schmaltz, and the
impact on New York... is pure speculation. In spite of their size, the
towers emphasize an almost miniature module... The module is so small, and
the 22-inch wide windows so narrow, that one of the miraculous benefits of
the tall building, the panoramic view out, is destroyed... These are big
buildings but they are not great architecture. The grill-like metal facade
stripes are curiously without scale... The Port Authority has built the
ultimate Disneyland fairytale blockbuster. It is General Motors Gothic."
(excerpted from Stern, Mellins & Fishman, New York 1960.)" -
Front Page Magazine (06/11/02)
► "The World Trade Center
represented the essence of American financial power, but critics hated
the towers and the public never embraced them.
The towers were acknowledged as a wonder of modern engineering, yet were
riddled with quirks, like the way pencils rolled off desktops on the top
floors when the wind began to gust. Real estate developers in the
'60s and '70s derided the World Trade Center as government-sponsored
folly. Yet this past summer the twin towers morphed into the most
valuable piece of privately run real estate in New York.
And while the twin towers were embraced worldwide as the symbol of New
York's grandeur and prowess, locals, not to mention merciless critics,
were cool to the sprawling complex, if not outright contemptuous of the
"Even though New Yorkers didn't necessarily love the buildings, they
will be remembered with such pain," says Carol Willis, founding director of
New York's Skyscraper Museum."
In the 1950s David Rockefeller, co-chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank, had
recently opened up headquarters downtown and wanted to stimulate the
surrounding real estate market. Concerned that most businesses flocked to
midtown, and even financial professionals deserted downtown after work,
Rockefeller envisioned a world-class complex that would be the center of
With his brother Nelson serving as New York's governor, Rockefeller lined up
support from the bi-state, New York/New Jersey Port Authority agency. A
wealthy, quasi-public commission (voting members are appointed by each
state's governor), the Port Authority was created at the turn of last
century and given "full power and authority to purchase, construct, lease
and operate terminal, transportation and other facilities of commerce."
For the most part, that meant operating Hudson River crossings as well as
Newark's airport. But at the urging of the Rockefeller brothers, the Port
Authority agreed to build the World Trade Center. In the 1970s, critics
suggested the towers No. 1 and No. 2 be called by their true names, David
Midtown's real estate developers adamantly opposed the project,
afraid the new complex would glut the market with too much new office space
and open the floodgates to a downtown migration.
Displaced local businesses located along a now-forgotten downtown
section of the city known as Radio Row also protested. But the
Port Authority enjoyed the power of eminent domain, giving it free rein
to raze buildings for construction. (This was at a time when neighborhood
objections to construction were routinely ignored by government-sponsored
When the towers were officially opened in 1972, New York Gov. Rockefeller
again came to the towers' aid, solving a widespread vacancy problem by
housing tens of thousands of state employees in the buildings. The state
paid just $10 per square foot in rent. When vacancies began to shrink in the
mid '80s and new tenants were paying office rents in the $30-$40 range, New
York state opted to move its employees out, conveniently freeing up valuable
space for the Port Authority to lease.
Although the twin towers were never seen as one of the city's most
prestigious business addresses, by the '90s early shipping and merchant
marine tenants from the '70s had been largely replaced by multinational
banks and investment brokers such as Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. At the time
of the attack the towers' occupancy rate was a robust 98 percent. Few if any
of its remaining tenants had any real connection to port trade.
How best to remember the World Trade Center? The irony is that over the
years many critics wished the towers were never there to begin with.
Writing for the New York Times, architectural commentator Paul Goldberger
often referred to the twin towers as "banal," and once suggested the World
Trade Center represented "New York's most disliked building."
Hardy instead opts for "arrogant." Arrogant in the way the bullying,
flat-top towers "gave no recognition to the skyline" around them; "arrogant
in their placement." Hardy suggests it wasn't until the nearby Cesar Pelli-designed
World Financial Center office complex was constructed in 1985 that the lower
Manhattan skyline again began to jell.
The World Trade Center's off-putting, five-acre concrete plaza, created to
set the towers off as two jewels, also never made much sense. "The plaza
has always been alienating," says skyscraper historian Willis. "It's so
vast, so out of scale with human beings. They would try to populate it
during the lunchtime hour with outdoor dance performers and set up a stage.
But inevitably the stage would look like a toy. Plus, there was always
heavy wind swirling around. It was not an oasis, but more like a tundra.
It was not the type of place that drew people to it."
And then there were the unusually narrow office windows that robbed tower
inhabitants of what should have been an indisputable perk: the view.
Yamasaki was afraid of heights and decided in order to make everyone feel
secure while they worked in the offices, the windows, set between columns,
would be just 18 inches across, narrower than Yamasaki's own shoulder span.
The problem with Yamasaki's window design, says Willis, is the towers
offered "no sense of the spectacular panorama" for the workers inside,
which is why she, like many professionals, declares the towers' interior "a
failure, aesthetically." The irony is that one of the tower's selling
points was its unique floor construction of prefabricated trussed steel,
only 33 inches in depth. That allowed everyone a chance to look out the
windows because the massive office space was uninterrupted by columns, a
modernist ideal of the day.
In the end, the views, due to poor design, were a bust.
Not only were the towers obscenely tall, but massively wide as well. The
towers' floors were 40,000 square feet, offering up an acre of space per
floor; 220 acres between the twin towers.
Together, they boasted 10 million square feet in office space. That's larger
than the Pentagon and more space than some entire American downtown business
districts, such as St. Louis, Miami and San Diego.
Record-breaking skyscrapers built today, many of them in Southeast Asia, are
taller than the twin towers, but much narrower and nowhere near as massive
all the way around.
"The professional critics of architecture were never really brought around.
They say the towers were boring and unadorned," says Gillespie,
who can't point to a single prominent critic or architect who over the years
came forward to defend the twin towers.
The World Trade Center reached its financial summit this summer when the
Port Authority privatized the complex, selling a 99-year lease to local
developer Larry Silverstein for $3.2 billion, the most expensive real estate
deal of its kind.
Preparing to take over the lease this summer, Silverstein, suddenly New
York's largest commercial landlord, told the New York Times, "I've been
looking at the Trade Center for years, thinking what a great piece of real
estate, what a thrill it would be to own it. There's nothing like it in the
"The twin towers were not
beautiful, or poetic. They had not the art deco grace of
Manhattan's Empire State Building nor the Chrysler Building. The towers were
sheer power expressed in steel, concrete, aluminum and glass, bearing in
their staggering ascension a certain arrogance, too.
These towers -- part of a seven-building complex -- were two gigantic
boxes, forcing themselves upon the quirky rhythms of the Manhattan
When the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey leased the towers in the
spring to a Paramus, N.J., real estate firm for $3.25 billion, the biggest
such deal ever, the New York Times ran a piece headlined: "Learning to
Love the World Trade Center."
It had never been easy.
From the beginning, the towers were considered
an unfortunate example of urban renewal, an unsightly answer to the
question of how to improve conditions in a shabby section of lower
Manhattan. Sixteen acres of neighborhood were sacrificed to the project.
According to the Times, the towers disrupted flight patterns of birds,
which crashed into the towers by the dozens and fell dead to the pavement."
-Baltimore Sun (09/12/01) [Archive]
Was it just a coincidence that Silverstein
Properties executives were going to have a meeting inside the 88th floor of
one of the towers the night before the attacks to discuss the risk of
terrorism to the twin towers, but then cancelled it?
► "Less than three months
after Silverstein bought the 99-year lease for $3.2 billion, terrorists
crashed two hijacked airliners into the twin towers. The 10-million
square-foot complex and his 2-million-square-foot building to the north
burned and collapsed. The July transaction was the biggest real estate deal
ever involving a single property.
The New York Times reported,
without citing sources, that Silverstein Properties executives
canceled a meeting Monday night
to discuss the risk of terrorism to the towers, because one person
was unavailable. The meeting was to have taken place on the 88th floor of
one of the towers." -Bloomberg (09/12/01)
Was it luck that Mr. Silverstein and two of
his children, who all work on the 88th floor of the north tower, were not at work on 9/11?
the morning of September 11, 2001, Silverstein was in his Park Avenue
apartment, squabbling with his wife, Klara, about how he had to get to work
on the 88th floor of the north tower, where he was moving his
Klara gave him an icy stare.
Silverstein had a
dermatologist’s appointment—after a lifetime of boating, he has a
history of facial carcinomas—and there was no way he was missing the
appointment." -New York Metro (04/18/05)
Mike Sees City Taking Control At Ground
"After a last-minute breakdown in the
front-running bid, Mr. Silverstein’s team won by a hair. His son, Roger,
and his daughter, Lisa, were working for him in temporary offices on
the 88th floor of the W.T.C. north tower. Regular meetings with tenants
in the weeks immediately following their July 26, 2001, takeover of the
building were held each morning at Windows on the World.
But on Sept. 11, Roger and Lisa Silverstein were running late.
Meanwhile, Mr. Silverstein’s wife of 46 years had laid down the law: The
developer could not cancel an appointment with his dermatologist, even
to meet with tenants at his most important property. If the * *attack had
happened just a little later, Mr. Silverstein’s children would likely have
been trapped at Windows. As it was, Silverstein Properties lost four
employees in the attack, two of whom had just recently been hired." -
York Observer (03/13/03) [Reprinted:
How much in insurance claims did Larry Silverstein
try to collect after the attacks and has he
profited from his WTC complex being totally destroyed?
WTC Developer in Search of $7.2 Billion
"The developer who had control of the World
Trade Center at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks
is seeking $7.2 billion from his insurers, double his $3.6 billion in
World Trade Center leaseholder Larry
Silverstein is asking Congress to protect him from potentially billions of
dollars in lawsuits from victims according to reports in Reuters and the
Silverstein commented that the two planes - an American and a United
flight from Boston to Los Angeles that hit the towers - were each
representative of a separate attack which would entitle him to a pair of
Silverstein and his partners completed a 99-year lease on the buildings from the
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in a $3.2 billion deal. Silverstein,
who built 7 World Trade Center, has vowed to put up four towers, ranging in size
from 50 to 60 stories each. Under the agreement of the lease, the group must pay
more than $100 million each year in rent despite the fact the buildings have
It was also reported that liability claims could jump to nearly $15 billion.
Silverstein has business-interruption insurance, above and beyond his
property-damage coverage, to cover his rent payments as well as the debt service
he owes, according to the report. He was said to have about $1 billion in
insurance to pay lawsuits but is asking that the federal government protect him
from paying out more than that. The Port Authority, which is also a potential
target of lawsuits." -
Insurance Journal (10/15/01)
"Reports from several sources
indicate that Silverstein Properties may use part of the proceeds
from an imminent insurance settlement to buy out bondholders on the
mortgage of 7 World Trade Center.
The 47 story office building, which was home to numerous businesses, among
them the NY Office of the Securities Exchange Commission, collapsed several
hours after the twin towers, and is not part of the lawsuit between
Silverstein and a group of insurers headed by Swiss Re.
Industrial Risk Insurers is set
to pay around $861 million to
Silverstein for the lost building, which the company has owned since
the 1980's, long before it acquired the master lease on the WTC. The debt
on the property is around $383 million, much of it securitized as
mortgage bonds." -Insurance Journal (06/07/02)
Note: $861 million insurance settlement - $383 million debt
on WTC 7 = $478 million dollar profit!
Rebuilding Begins for 7 WTC Despite Unanswered
"The last building to collapse on Sept. 11 is
slated to be the first to rise. Work crews have begun to dig the foundation
of a tower to replace 7 World Trade Center, a 47-story building across the
street from the Twin Towers, which fell the evening of that tragic day.
But before the building can rise further than
the substation, major financing issues have to be resolved by Larry
Silverstein, who controls the long-term lease on 7 World Trade Center as
well as the World Trade Center complex. The good news for Mr. Silverstein is
that the company that insured 7 World Trade, Industrial Risk Insurers, has
indicated that it will make
a full payment under its $861 million policy. But it's not clear
whether Mr. Silverstein can use those proceeds to start building without
first reaching an agreement with the mortgage holder on 7 World Trade
Center, Blackstone Real Estate Advisors.
Originally, when Mr. Silverstein developed the
property in the 1980s, $449.4 million in debt was provided by Teachers
Insurance and Annuity Association. In 2000, Blackstone bought the debt from
TIAA, financing the purchase by selling $383 million in bonds in a
private placement that was lead managed by Banc of America Securities LLC.
Even if insurance proceeds are paid as
construction moves forward, Mr. Silverstein could replace Blackstone by
borrowing against these anticipated payments. There's also another advantage
to finding a new lender: By taking advantage of the liberty-bond program
that was approved by Congress to help New York recover from Sept. 11, Mr.
Silverstein would wind up paying a lower interest rate than he's paying
Blackstone. Given the large amount of equity Mr. Silverstein will put in the
project with the insurance proceeds, he might be able to borrow money even
before he announces major leases." -
Wall Street Journal (07/10/02)
Why bonds for builder? Who knows?
expects to receive some $861 million in insurance payments for
the destroyed 7WTC. He said a new 52-story 7WTC would cost $700million.
He intends to use $489 million of the insurance payments to cover an
existing mortgage and already has used $65 million for other debts and
costs. That leaves only $307 million for construction. Silverstein hopes to
cover the shortfall with the bonds." -New York Daily News (01/14/03)
"The World Trade Center leaseholder has won a court victory over his
insurers as he attempts to rebuild the site.
A New York jury has decided that the 11 September 2001 attack on the two
towers constituted two separate events.
The US District Court ruling means
Larry Silverstein could now get an
extra $1.1bn (£0.56bn) from nine insurers to finance reconstruction.
He has been fighting the insurance companies, arguing he was owed $7bn
(£3.6bn) - double his $3.5bn policy.
Mr Silverstein said in a statement that
was "thrilled" with his victory.
"The decision means an additional billion dollars of insurance proceeds will
be available, which, together with Liberty Bonds, will ensure a timely and
complete rebuild of the World Trade Center," he said.
"I strongly felt, and the jury agreed, that the destruction of the twin
towers by two separate airplanes at two separate times was two separate
occurrences and that these insurers have an obligation to pay their fair
share to help make Lower Manhattan whole again." -BBC (12/07/04)
► "A federal jury has decided
that the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center was two occurrences for
insurance purposes, meaning
leaseholder Larry Silverstein stands to collect up to $4.6 billion.
The trial, which ended after 11 days of deliberations, was the first in
which jurors were asked to decide whether the terrorist attack that killed
2,749 people could be considered two attacks since two planes hit two
The verdict Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan was the latest twist
in Silverstein's efforts to file separate claims for $7 billion, or two full
payouts under the $3.5 billion worth of insurance coverage he took out on
the trade center complex.
Silverstein lost a first trial on the issue earlier this year, but a
separate jury said Monday that Silverstein is entitled to collect a
double payout from nine insurers who accounted for $1.1 billion of the
In a statement, Silverstein said he was thrilled with the verdict and cast
it as a victory for all New Yorkers because it secures additional money to
rebuild the trade center complex.
"I strongly felt, and the jury agreed, that the destruction of the twin
towers by two separate airplanes at two separate times was two separate
occurrences and that these insurers have an obligation to pay their fair
share to help make Lower Manhattan whole again," he said.
The insurance companies involved in the case were: Travelers Indemnity Co.,
Industrial Risk Insurers, Royal Indemnity Co., Allianz Insurance Co., Tokio
Marine and Fire Insurance Co., Twin City Fire Insurance Co., Tig Insurance
Co., Westfield WTC LLC and Zurich American Insurance Co.
In her closing argument, lawyer Carolyn H. Williams argued on behalf of the
companies that the hijacked planes were like guided missiles and that the
insurance payout should not depend on whether terrorists used "one or two or
10 or 100 weapons."
On behalf of Silverstein, attorney Bernard Nussbaum said there was precedent
in the insurance industry to find the terrorism was two events. A California
case concluded that four separate insurance events occurred when an arsonist
set four separate fires, including two six minutes apart in courthouses 200
yards apart." -Forbes/AP (12/07/04)
"A jury Monday said New York developer Larry Silverstein, who held the
commercial lease of the World Trade Center, is entitled to
$2.2 billion in insurance.
The jury's decision came after 11 days of deliberation and was double the
insurance coverage provided by nine insurers at the office complex.
Silverstein leased the center six weeks before it was destroyed by
terrorists Sept. 11, 2001.
The New York Times reported Silverstein, who plans to use the money to
rebuild the office buildings, said in a statement he was "thrilled" with the
verdict, and that it would "ensure a timely and complete rebuild of the
World Trade Center."
A $1.5 billion, 1,776-foot-tall Freedom Tower is planned for the trade
center site, but it's expected to cost more than $9 billion to rebuild the
Silverstein argued the two jet planes that slammed into the twin towers
entitled him to a double payment of the $3.55 billion policy, or $7 billion.
The jury's decision, involving nine insurance companies, provides $1.1
billion of the $3.55 billion worth of coverage. If the verdict stands,
companies would be required to pay $2.2 billion." -Washington Times/UPI
"And it's throwing the
spotlight on Hub law firm Ropes & Gray.
The respected Boston firm, which has offices across the United States,
represents the worldwide insurance companies fighting off multibillion
dollar property claims over the terrorist destruction of the World Trade
Yesterday, Ropes attorneys asked a federal court to throw out the latest
$2.1 billion demand from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey,
the trade center's original owners.
It has already been in the thick of the battle since October 2001, battling
claims made by New York property developer Larry Silverstein. He took over
the Twin Towers just two months before the attacks.
Silverstein is reported in some quarters
to have spent as
much as $200 million on lawyers, as he pursues demands for as much
as $7 billion from his insurers.
Silverstein had insurance on the WTC worth $3.5 billion per incident. He
argued he was entitled to $7 billion, as the two planes amounted to two
After two trials, the courts appear to have awarded him $4.2 billion,
but that is subject to appeal.
In the latest twist, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has
joined the fray, demanding an extra $2.1 billion.
The authority originally owned the WTC and leased it to Silverstein.
It has already received $950 million for damage to other buildings. Now it
wants additional money for damage to the towers themselves." -Boston Herald
Developer gets mixed ruling on WTC case;
Court affirms some, but not all, jury decisions viewing 9/11 as 2 'events.'
"A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday
handed World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein a mixed verdict in his
ongoing battle to collect billions of dollars in claims from the complex's
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit affirmed previous jury
decisions which forced some insurers to treat the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks as two
separate events, but allowed others to treat it as a single event due to the
wording of their policies.
The ruling means that
Silverstein could collect some $1.1 billion in additional damages from insurers
including Allianz, Zurich American Insurance and Travelers Indemnity Co.
But others, including American International Group Inc.'s (Charts) Lexington
unit, Swiss Re, and Lloyd's of London, will pay on the single-event basis.
Wednesday's decision leaves Silverstein with less than $5 billion to
redevelop the complex, which anchored Manhattan's financial district,
instead of the $7 billion he wanted." -CNN (10/18/06)
How much might Mr. Silverstein's new "Freedom
Tower" project cost and who paying for it?
New Trade Center tower design unveiled
"Called the Freedom Tower, the structure will be a
"soaring tribute" to the fallen heroes of Sept. 11, 2001, and to freedom, Pataki
Silverstein has put the cost of the entire
redevelopment project at
up to $12 billion
over 10 years. Previous estimates had put the cost at between $4 billion and
$7 billion. The tower itself could cost $1.5 billion.
Silverstein expects $7 billion to come from insurance proceeds -- an
amount that is the subject of a bitter lawsuit between the leaseholder and
insurance companies. He has said $5 billion would come from government
A cornerstone would be laid on the “Freedom Tower” by Sept. 11, 2004, and it
would be finished by the end of 2008 or the beginning of 2009, he said." - MSNBC
Silverstein Rests in Trade Center Insurance
"The trial is the first of three potential proceedings, with separate
juries, that will decide how much Silverstein will get to rebuild the 10
million square-foot office portion of the trade center site, including
the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower, which is to be the world's tallest
building. Silverstein has estimated construction costs for the entire
may reach $9 billion." - NYSCPA.org (04/13/04)
Towers' Insurers Must Pay Double
"The jury's decision, which came at the end of 11 days of deliberation and
represented a major development in the rebuilding effort, almost certainly
ensures that the proposed $1.5 billion, 1,776-foot Freedom Tower will be
constructed at the trade center site, although appeals are likely and it
may be some time before all the insurance money is paid out. It also ensures
that Mr. Silverstein, who leased the trade center only six weeks before it
was destroyed, will remain in control of the rebuilding effort for some
yesterday's verdict survives the appeal process, that would leave about $4
billion for a
reconstruction effort that might cost $9 billion." -NY Times