A man with lots of women really has no woman. All you need is one, the right one. Having many will never replace one, the one you need. Trust me, I know, I have had many and often did not know when to stop. This is what I was thinking on a Spring afternoon walkabout while peering casually into storefront windows along Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue. That is until I stumbled upon a pair of Persol Sunglasses. The tortoise framed glasses instantly transported me back to that place where I was reminded of the scent of her hair, the smell of the beach, the iridescent smile that radiated from her Persol ensconced face and the warmth with which she filled my spirit during some of the most memorable days of my life. I closed my eyes and for a brief moment, I was once again instantly in the company of this old friend laying under the stars on the beach in Southampton, giggling, drinking Sam Adams. Our future never certain, all we had was the present but the fact is that she was simply the most fun I have ever had, fully clothed, with a woman in my life.
I opened my eyes and was once again back in the present. As I walked away from the store front window, I thought about this Good & Plenty society that we live in, where too often people mistake quality of life for quantity in life. Filling up one’s plate at the buffet table is a rather lame attempt to fill one’s soul. In the end all such gluttony does is make you tired and fat. The perfect slice of life is better than the whole pie. Try to remember that when you wonder, if you really have enough. I once had more than enough and was not sure whether it was enough. Truth is she was certainly more than Good & Plenty and will be forever etched on the soundtrack of my life. Whenever I want you, all I have to do is dream.
Under existing plans, before we will have any meaningful symbols of Democracy or free enterprise arising out of the ashes of 9/11 or what amounts to a legitimate World Trade Centerat Ground Zero, if the madness is to be believed, will have a Mosque and 9/11 Memorial. However wonderful the thoughts behind these projects may be, it will insure only that Lower Manhattan shall become what amounts to a place to what one writer has labeled a Disneyland of Death. This is hardly a rebirth nor does it present the symbol of free enterprise that this country was founded up and that served as the inspiration for development of ‘The World Trade Center”, by Architect Minoru Yamasaki, to begin with.
People will come to see where capitalism lived and died circa September 11, 2001— and they can also buy a hat, t-shirt and a poster, bow and pray and celebrate Ramadan.
The so called “Vision thing” haunted President George Herbert Walker Bush. Despite excellent international diplomacy skills for which he was revered and respected by many, it was the lack of “the vision thing” that made him, well to be blunt, not Ronald Reagan. His legacy is largely one devoid of any meaningful symbols. That does not mean like many Presidents that 41 does not have accomplishments to be proud of for his 4 years at the helm of the United States of America. America has a great many leaders who’s greatest failing is their lack of “the vision thing.” It does not mean that these politicians are bad people per se but you have to wonder of their Raison d’être, if their grand purpose is to stand symbolically for nothing other than not being the guy from the opposition party while courting favor and developing a coalition of interest groups to keep them in office.
This brings me to aspiring Presidential Candidate and former New York Governor George Pataki, a man who stood at the crossroads of human history and literally blinked (by acting in his political self interest and not the interest of American Citizens, New Yorkers and the future of our metropolis) in a manner that may impact New York for literally generations to come. Truth is that if you don’t have the vision to know where the policy you seek to implement is headed you really ought to remove yourself from the dialogue. Pataki did not do that but instead immersed himself deeply, with a seriously misguided vision, in the politics of rebuilding at Ground Zero. The overall site plan was infused with compromise from the get go, not exclusively, although predominantly by Pataki & Co. Certain family group and individuals were put forth as representative of the overall desires of all victim’s families, and yet the composition of those groups was compromised for political purposes as Pataki’s folks took control. To this day it has left a hole in the city’s heart and perhaps as an unintended consequence have indirectly inspired the madness that would allow for a mosque and a Disneyland of Death to be built before any meaningful symbols of free enterprise arise at Ground Zero. It is not too late to reverse course from the Pataki debacle. While Pataki is certainly not entirely to blame, his compromised vision has contributed directly to the lingering malaise in Lower Manhattan. Its almost as if Rip Van Winkle remains at the helm to this day even as he seeks an even grander return to center stage. No offense to Monica Iken or George Pataki, but as I have said before, this ain’t IKEN-PATAKITown. It is New York City, the center of the free world. So with all due respect to your loss and/or political ambitions the future of our metropolis and generations to come out weigh or must at a must at least be counterbalanced with your individual agenda(s) or hopes for this particular location. No one individual’s vision will or can be considered the perfect or exclusive one.
Now this man wants to be your President. Some very powerful and influential folks seem to be teeing him up; either for 2012 or 2016. Do I hate the man? No. Do I think he sucks personally? No, he is actually a rather personable and friendly individual, however, similar to another Yale Skull & Bones Alum who made all the right moves and had all the right connections and powerful undisclosed associations, his experience illustrates an absence of a long term vision beyond remaining in power for three terms; perhaps making him more famous for making all the right compromises to insure his 50% plus popularity in the polls, and not the right moves to move our metropolis and our country forward.
WHY IS THIS RELEVANT NOW? It is relevant now because of existing plans to build a mosque two blocks away from Ground Zero in the former Burlington Coat Factory building, pursuant to collaboration between the American Society for Muslim Advancement and the Cordoba Initiative. That a $100 Million Mosque and Muslim Cultural Center has been green lighted at or near Ground Zero by local Community Board, is a troubling development regardless of the merits of Islam as whole to our society. Ironically said Mosque would be completed and open on September 11, 2011 well in advance of the completion of the rebuilding efforts. With all due respect to my American Muslim friends, while I recognize the need for an ongoing interfaith dialogue, this is not the place to politicize your religious movement. This is true even if the morally and politically compromised plan of “rebuilding”, if you can even call it that, at Ground Zero has enabled that possibility. To this day, it is as if the agenda of fringe historical players has over ruled the will of New Yorkers and Americans as whole and we are living subject to the flawed vision of those who are hardly Urban Visionaries but nevertheless had the power to execute horrific plans and impose them on New York for generations to come.
One of the only politico’s to put forth what amounts to this day as a visionary plan was the current Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo who was a gubernatorial candidate back in 2002 who unlike the man who held the emperor’s coat saw the opportunity to build a new utopia rather than just a few pleasant high rises, a memorial or a cemetery. According to the Gotham Gazette:
Although Andrew Cuomo ultimately dropped out of the race, his rebuilding plans were some of the most creative of any of the major candidates. He saw the rebuilt downtown area as a sort of high-tech capitalist utopia: New York City cultural landmarks, a relocated World Bank, an integrated transportation system, a developed waterfront with a harbor economy, and a newly commissioned World Institute of Health, doing valuable research while also creating a biotechnology economy.
Yes, even though many may consider me a liberal (albeit one who supported Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Mario Cuomo, Mike Bloomberg and Barack Obama), I am referencing a Conservative Pro-Business Think Tank in the Manhattan Institute, because their Pro-New York agenda did not allow them to be hoodwinked by a grandstanding political opportunist like Republican George Pataki, who came to the rebuilding process with an agenda (devoid of a long term vision) that was contrary to the will of the people, those people being New Yorkers, Americans and freedom loving people world wide. This guy was instrumental in the mess at Ground Zero, now he wants to run for President. God help us and god help us even more if he has actually been the front man doing the work that more powerful folks want him to.
Some say Manhattan is becoming Paris on the Hudson. I say, even Parisians would have rebuilt the Eiffel Tower had it been destroyed by terrorists. Enough is enough with political correctness. Rebuild The Twin Towers with all lesser plans be damned. And do it now!!!!
To do otherwise is to cut out the heart of our American spirit and the heart of capitalism itself. The mess at Ground Zero has been created by compromised values without any meaningful long term vision about the future of our metropolis and our country as a whole. This shall and must be rectified. We need to rise up and force them to change course immediately. Twin Towers or bust!!!!!!
About the author: Christopher London is a self avowed Bridge & Tunnel New Yorker, who grew up in Queens and Brooklyn before emigrating to Manhattan after graduate school. He is a citizen with a love for the metropolis second only to that for his family. In the wake of 9/11, the Ivy league educated lawyer channeled his latent skills as a writer and photographer to create an Independent Citizen Media known as ManhattanSociety.com to document the the Philanthropic under current in New York City. He is a former resident of Battery Park City and a lover of all things downtown, despite now living a rather modest existence in Morningside Heights.