A great debate is under way in New York about how to fill the space Osama made. Filling that hideous gap in the world’s most well-known skyline is no easy assignment, to be sure. Several competing philosophies have come to the fore, and are being represented with the usual forcefulness. Some residents want a large memorial to victims and a small group of buildings. Others desire an open space where the wind and memory can work unimpeded. Others want another big building or perhaps a new set of twin towers, plus a couple of ack-ack guns at the top in case the Flying Pissants attempt a sequel.
Those of us who live in the outer regions have our own ideas. This is not to be presumptuous. We may see New York only a couple of times a year, or perhaps only on television or in the movies. But as has been pointed out by scribes great and small, the attack on New York, and Washington as well, was an attack on the nation as a whole. Besides that, the Pentagon has already been repaired, and Washington being Washington (and environs) it looks exactly the same as it did the day before the attack. So we can only advise New York, which is hereby advised to build something very large, and also something that embodies and reflects the official New York motto: Up Yours.
New York’s skyline should never forfeit, in any sense, its duty to provide an overpowering symbol of muscular capitalism — of big dreams, mighty arrogance, mountain-moving greed, etc. One doesn’t overpower by replacing the Twin Towers with a collection of sawn-off office squares and a bunch of wind chimes. If people want short buildings they can go to Washington, where that famous tribe of tax-eating pygmies and their compatriots in the private sector operate out of squat office blocks.
New York is about greater things. Indeed, if New York fails to put at least one major skyscraper in the gap, it will look like the city is ducking. That New York is chicken. That it got slapped down and is afraid to stand up.
So one big building, at least. Maybe a matched set. Then comes the other important question: What goes in the building(s)? Because contents send a message every bit as important as size, this is no small matter. The answer, one humbly suggests, lies somewhere along these lines:
Starting at the roof, a flag would surely be in order, and if the militarists want to put up some anti-aircraft guns, there’s no harm in that. Maybe they’ll come in handy someday. After all, our opponents may be fanatical, but they’re not all that creative. They may well try to fly a few more jetliners into WTC II because that’s all they can come up with.
The top couple of floors might best house a chapel, a synagogue and a mosque. Symbolism is symbolism, and religion surely took on a higher profile after the attacks. Besides that, if the Southern Baptists are correct about the violent streak in Islam, there should be some very good machine-gunners among the Muslim clergy. In case of emergency, just make sure the guns are pointed in the proper direction.
Just below the houses of the holy should begin the world of business. The opportunities are of course vast: counting houses, investment firms, telephone solicitation boiler rooms, Lotto HQ, real estate speculators, a patent office, a machine shop or two, newspaper offices, insurance companies, defense contractors, travel agents, information technology firms, Sears, Southern States, Colt Firearms, etc.
Under that section (which should comprise 50 or 60 floors) would come the section dedicated to our world-renowned culture. There we’d find offices for the National Football League, Major League Baseball, The Weather Channel, Fox News, opera and symphony organizations, Trout Unlimited, McDonald’s, and of course Wonder Bra. In the new spirit of public-private cooperation, there would also be some government facilities, mainly recruiting offices for the CIA, FBI, and Marines. And so, under one roof, would be most of America.
As such, this building might offer a tempting target to our foes. But we have not quite completed the inventory. For the bottom 30 or 40 floors would house the world’s largest Hot Dog Stand/Brewery. While the Islamists are deeply dedicated to their cause, they are going to have some real trepidations about flying a plane into a building where they may end up in the beer or sausage vat — thus condemning themselves to a lifetime in the hot place. Indeed, their aversion to the flesh of swine, and to any type of barley pop, vino, or hooch will surely inspire them to steer way clear of this architecture. They may talk a good game, but the fact is they can be held at bay by a wiener.
It’s also true that any beer brewed at that site would be an instant and enormous success. Partaking would be considered an act of high patriotism. Indeed, the lure of WTC Malt Liquor might be strong enough to drag Dubya off the wagon, after which the fall of Baghdad would not be far behind, and great will be the fall of it.
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