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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Remembering Sept. 11 ~ Mahakavi Barathiyar and ... One World Trade Centre

It claims to be the tallest skyscraper in US – it’s rebirth has long revolved around creating a centerpiece of unsparing symbolism: a skyscraper 1,776 feet tall, its height an homage and a bold statement about looking forward. Even  as the final two sections of the 408-foot, 758-ton spire were installed, people gazed up the structure and were in glee.  What is in a building – one might ask ?!?!?

The skyscraper, expected to open next year, is the focal point ever since Dec 2002 and US has been looking forward to it.    It is “One World Trade Center (also 1 World Trade Center or 1 WTC, formerly known as the Freedom Tower)”  - the primary building of the new World Trade Center complex in New York City's Lower Manhattan. The 104-story supertall skyscraper stands on the northwest corner of the 16-acre  World Trade Center site.   Construction on below-ground utility relocations, footings, and foundations for the building began on April 27, 2006; the  tower's steel structure topped out on August 30, 2012 and on May 10, 2013, the final component of the skyscraper's spire was installed, making One World Trade Center the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the fourth-tallest building in the world by pinnacle height.

It’s claim to stardom is not on its height alone, more on its location – as it stands where the Twin Towers once stood. The construction is part of an effort to memorialize and rebuild following the destruction of the original World Trade Center complex during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  The September 11 attacks, as the World would not forget,  were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks launched by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda upon the United States in New York City and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

On that day, 4  passenger airliners were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists so they could be flown into buildings in suicide attacks. Two of those planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were crashed into the North and South towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center complex in New York City. Within two hours, both towers collapsed with debris and the resulting fires causing partial or complete collapse of all other buildings in the WTC complex, as well as major damage to ten other large surrounding structures. A third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, was crashed into the Pentagon (the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense), leading to a partial collapse in its western side. The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, was targeted at Washington, D.C., but crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after its passengers tried to overcome the hijackers. In total, almost 3,000 people died in the attacks, including the 227 civilians and 19 hijackers aboard the four planes. It also was the deadliest incident for firefighters in the history of the United States.

The destruction of the Twin Towers and other properties caused serious damage to the economy of Lower Manhattan and had a significant effect on global markets. Cleanup of the World Trade Center site was completed in May 2002, and the Pentagon was repaired within a year.

Sept. 11 -  World over might be remembered for various reasons – to us this day marks the remembrance of the greatest of Poets and a revolutionary Freedom fighter.  His life was short– he lived for only 39 years and passed away on  this day 90 years ago (11th Sept 1921)

At the age of 22, he became the Assistant Editor of a daily newspaper called "Swadesamitran".   In 1906, he was editor of a weekly magazine called "India". By 1912, he was already a legend in South India and his political meetings were attracting multitudes of young patriots, ready to join the  movement for attaining freedom from the British rule.  He was not a just Writer--  a person whose writing stoked the passion of freedom struggle.  He was on the run for most part of his life as British rulers foisted cases on him and incarcerated him.  No amount of pressure would keep his spirits in wrap.  He was a real genius, a great reformer and a very great Social Revolutionist with fiery ideas.

Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathiyar passed away on September 11, 1921, at the young age of 39.

Trivia :  newspaper reports suggest that rights to ‘World Trade Center’ name were sold for $10.  It is stated that the public agency that owned the World Trade Center sold its naming rights to a nonprofit more than two decades ago for $10. The Port Authority pays $10,000 a year to use the words “World Trade Center,” including on merchandise it plans to sell in the new World Trade Center.  Here is something from seattletimes.com :

For more than four decades, the World Trade Center — whether standing majestically over Lower Manhattan, lying in the ruins of a terrorist attack or awaiting resurrection in a new form — has been one of the world’s greatest public landmarks. But in a quiet deal nearly 30 years ago, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey sold off the rights to the buildings’ name to a nonprofit organization established by one of its executives. The price was $10.

The former executive, Guy Tozzoli, who died this year, earned millions primarily by licensing the name through the group, the World Trade Centers Association. The Port Authority is among the hundreds of licensees around the world paying thousands of dollars each year for the privilege of using the words “World Trade Center.”  Now, with the Port Authority hoping to sell branded souvenirs and merchandise next year after the new One World Trade Center skyscraper opens, the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) is requesting free office space worth more than $500,000 a year in exchange for use of the trademark.

After that lowly sale, for the next 24 years, and over that time, the trademark became a real-estate marketing tool. Today, the association advertises on its website that the World Trade Center name can bring landlords higher rents and occupancy rates, citing studies it has commissioned. And the 9/11 attacks have made the brand more recognizable around the world, a promotional video on its website says.  In return for allowing the Port Authority to sell merchandise that carries the organization’s inherited trademarks — including “World Trade Center” and “WTC” — the association has requested about 9,000 square feet of rent-free office space in one of the new gleaming towers the Port Authority is financing, documents obtained by The Record show. At the going rate of $65 per square foot, that’s worth about $585,000 a year. The Port Authority estimates merchandise sales could bring the agency $23 million to $28 million annually.


With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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