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Intelligencer: May 9-16

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Don’t Blame The NYPD
Freedom Tower was already in lockdown.
Was the NYPD just a convenient scapegoat for tearing up the plans at ground zero? A source close to Governor Pataki says that, notwithstanding the politically irresistible rush to have a groundbreaking last July 4 for the 1,776-foot-tall skyscraper, before the Republican convention came to town, the Freedom Tower has been dead for some time. Weeks before the security issues came out publicly, World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein had as much as said so to the governor, pressing to eliminate the structurally unworkable off-center spire (a legacy of Daniel Libeskind’s original design) and David Childs’s Utopian tower-top windmills. The rest wasn’t a surprise. “Ray Kelly upped the level of security he wanted late in the game, but we all knew there were problems with West Street,” says the source, referring to the potential for terrorists to sidle up the highway with a bomb. “Nobody will insure it.” Now that the whole plan has collapsed, the legacy-challenged Pataki is feeling the most pain. “The governor would like to have this building on the way, and he’s frantic about it,” the source says. “But it’s the governor’s own fault. It wasn’t buildable.”


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