Not since I peered over the Berlin Wall from West to East in 1987 has the contrast between capitalism and socialism been as stark as it was last week in Manhattan.
On the north side of Vesey Street, real-estate developer Larry Silverstein led the joyous, May 23 grand opening of 7 World Trade Center—a sleek, sparkling, 52-story high-rise that replaces its namesake predecessor. That building collapsed in flames at 5:20 P.M. on September 11, 2001.
On Vesey’s south side, Ground Zero remains a grim, gaping cavity where the Twin Towers proudly stood until al Qaeda agents demolished them with passenger-filled missiles.
Four years and eight months after Islamo-fascists disfigured this country, Silverstein, a private entrepreneur, delivered a skyscraper that elegantly says, “The barbarians crashed the gates, but we repelled them, with our beauty and prowess intact.”
Yards away, a tangle of politicians and bureaucrats—dizzyingly misdirected by New York’s blundering GOP governor, George Pataki—has stalled, squabbled, and spun in circles. The distinction is staggering: Above, a palace of commerce; below, a canyon of tears….
As Silverstein said March 15: “I am a builder. That is all I want to do. And when the Port Authority has not stood in the way, that is exactly what I have done—without any delay.”