Only In America . . . TM

Copyright © 2002 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.


Hundreds of design proposals for the memorial to be built at the site of the old World Trade Center Towers have been submitted by architects from all over the world. But, according to Eldon Rice, Chairman of the NYC Tower Selection Committee, all of these proposals are either "overly pretentious, garish, or just plain impractical."

"The best of the designs looks like the tallest Crystal Cathedral in the world," Rice told reporters gathered for the announcement of the winning design, "and the worst of them looks like a Sesame Street alphabet on steroids."

It would seem that the American public – despite its highly-touted tastelessness – was more perceptive than the architects who probably submitted these designs hoping to immortalize themselves and their firms in piles of publicly-funded concrete and steel. The public's opposition to those designs caused them all to be rejected and resulted in the formation of the current NYC Tower Selection Committee to solicit new designs and select the eventual winner.

"It's like everyone thought they were supposed to design some elaborate headstone," Rice said, "and that they were in competition with each other to see who could produce the biggest and gaudiest monument. Some apparently even thought that the more towers they included in their design, the better. The result was a multiplicity of outre' buildings."

It should come as no surprise that the architects disagree with Rice's assessment of their designs. Arnold Antpile, spokesman for the Alliance of American Architects, said that the real problem is the "untrained eye" and "unsophisticated taste" of the Chairman of the Tower Selection Committee, and demanded that he be replaced immediately with a someone with more "adequate" training and an "artistic" eye.

"Well, Mr. Antpile has his opinion and I have mine," Rice replied. "In any case, I am the one tasked with selecting the new design – not Mr. Antpile or any of his architectural cronies – and that is exactly what we are go to do here today."

"It seems that the best ideas came from grade school children," Rice told the crowd. "They submitted a number of designs so elegant in their simplicity that it was difficult to choose among them. But, after much consideration, we finally selected the design sent in by Robert Smith, a sixth grader from Iowa."

"Mr. Smith's design is a little different than most of those submitted," Rice said, "in that he didn't even submit a picture or a model – just a written proposal. Once I read you what he wrote, you won't need a picture either."

Dear Design People:

    I have seen the pictures of all the buildings people want to put up in place of the old World Trade Center Towers, and I think they all suck. Why do we need all those goofy-looking buildings, anyway? Why not put everything back just like it was? That would be the best thing we could do to remember all the people who got killed there. It would be like that bird that burned up with its nest and then came back to life in the fire. I hope you don't try to replace them with anything else.


   Robert Smith, Age 12

Copyright © 2002 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.