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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
FYI: This was published Thursday, May 2nd re: OTA reception in the New York City area. Any thoughts/comments from AVS members?

A towering proposal for the N.J. waterfront


The Liberty Science Center in Jersey City could become home to the world's tallest free-standing structure - a 2,000-foot-tall television transmission tower, complete with a sky-high restaurant and observation deck.

The tower, which would provide a vantage point as high as the World Trade Center's observation deck, is intended to replace the transmission antenna that sat atop the north tower.

"You'd get a view of New York that's pretty spectacular," said A. Eugene Kohn, one of the architects.

Broadcasters have temporarily relocated their antennas to the Empire State Building. But that location isn't high enough and doesn't allow for a signal strong enough to reach the entire metropolitan region, and federal communications regulations require that any new tower be located within 3.2 miles of the World Trade Center site.

The science center, a private nine-year-old museum, is about 2.5 miles away in Liberty State Park. Another possible site is Governors Island in New York Harbor, a former Coast Guard base that the federal government is handing over to the State of New York.

Which site is chosen depends not only on the broadcasters, but the willingness of political leaders in New York and New Jersey to host such a structure.

Although the Metropolitan TV Alliance, representing all 10 New York stations, has discussed the tower proposal with the museum, it has not presented New Jersey officials with any plans, said Al Ivany, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

The broadcasters association and the Liberty Science Center confirmed Wednesday that the museum is being considered as a site for such a tower, but would not provide any details.

The architectural firm of Kohn Pedersen Fox, which was hired by the broadcasters, designed an hourglass-shaped, open-air tower encircled by crisscrossing 10-inch steel cables, conveying both strength and lacy delicacy.

"We want it to be a cheerful, elegant, uplifting kind of image," Kohn said.

Governors Island, he said, is a "great location" because of its position in New York Harbor and its proximity to the skyscrapers of lower Manhattan.

"It seems to be a great symbol there," he said.

But the design also would be suitable at the Liberty Science Center, he said.

"As a New Yorker, I would prefer it to be in New York," he said. "But its intent is to serve the New York region."

Originally, the broadcasters asked for a pared-down structure that would be solely a transmission tower, Kohn said. But the vision was expanded to include a restaurant and observation deck at about 1,300 feet and retail shops around the base, in the hope that tourist revenue could help repay the tower's $200 million construction cost, he said.

Kohn thinks the tower could become an attraction akin to the 1,815-foot-tall CN Tower in Toronto, which is the tallest free-standing structure in the world. Most of the tower is hollow, but the base and top include two observation decks, restaurants, retail shops, an arcade, and a movie theater.

The world's tallest occupied building is the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at 1,483 feet. The World Trade Center's roofs topped out at 1,360 feet, and the antenna on the north tower reached to 1,728 feet.

The new tower must be so close to the original antenna because moving it farther than 3.2 miles could interfere with broadcasting in other nearby cities.

The design of the proposed tower was circumscribed by the lack of available land within that radius. A basic tower of that height, supported by guy wires, would need about 16 acres of land. So the architects designed a narrower, free-standing structure that takes up only six acres, Kohn said.

Besides conforming to federal communications regulations, the new tower can't disrupt air traffic patterns.

Since the destruction of the World Trade Center, five stations lost their digital broadcasting capability, which had allowed for high-definition pictures. The broadcasters also estimate that 350,000 homes in New York City still have no reception or an unclear signal.

Staff Writer Brian Kladko's e-mail address is [email protected]

Copyright © 2002 North Jersey Media Group Inc.

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NY Times

May 1, 2002

Broadcast Tower Is Urged for Governors Island


A 2,000-foot-tall tower with a restaurant and observation deck on top, modeled on the Space Needle in Seattle, is being pushed by television executives as a replacement for the broadcasting antenna that was lost when the World Trade Center towers fell, broadcasting executives say.

Television executives who are concerned about the loss of millions of viewers and the advertising dollars they attract are pressing forward with a proposal to build such a tower on Governors Island, which returned to the list of potential sites for an antenna last month after President Bush promised to return it to New York for a nominal fee. Station executives have circulated drawings of a design by Kohn Pedersen Fox, an architectural firm in Manhattan. The plan is for a $200 million tower that would be considered an architectural asset and would include retail space at the bottom.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Gov. George E. Pataki have proposed turning Governors Island into a campus for the City University of New York, which would have to come up with a way to pay the annual cost of maintaining the buildings on the island, at an annual cost city officials have estimated at $20 million to $30 million. CUNY officials have expressed interest in the broadcasters' plan, which would include the stations' sharing the cost of the island's maintenance and starting a journalism or broadcasting school there.

The loss of the antenna knocked out reception of many channels to about one million households in the New York market, mostly in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. Since the Sept. 11 attack, about 219,000 additional households have signed up for cable, while others have bought satellite dishes. Television executives had looked at other locations but were blocked by airline flight plans, bird migratory patterns and the need to avoid interfering with other cities' signals.

Governors Island had been taken off the table as a possible location because Congressional Republicans had said that they planned to sell it to the highest bidder. With President Bush's decision, the stations must now obtain support from Mr. Pataki and Mr. Bloomberg.

The mayor's press secretary, Edward Skyler, said yesterday that the city was willing to work with the stations to find a suitable site but that the current proposal was "inconsistent with the mayor's vision for the island." The governor has said he supports the stations' efforts to build a tower quickly, but he has not committed to a site.

Still, a vice chancellor and spokesman at CUNY, Jay Hershenson, said the university was open to the idea. "There is just enormous potential for entrepreneurial thinking and almost anything is on the table," he said.

If they are unable to persuade Mr. Bloomberg, the stations said, they would turn to the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, a site some executives prefer. Science center officials have expressed interest in the tower — but only if it makes an architectural statement, attracts tourists and generates revenue.

Several city politicians who are expected to be involved in the development of Governors Island support the idea.

"The bottom line is that if we go with the proposal for an educational institution, as the governor and mayor have suggested, we have to have some kind of revenue to pay for it and this could be it," said the Manhattan borough president, C. Virginia Fields. She added that she planned to bring the issue up this week with the deputy mayor for economic development, Daniel L. Doctoroff, and said she was concerned about losing the antenna and the accompanying jobs to New Jersey. "My call to the mayor is to look at the issue and not dismiss it outright, " she added.

Executives at the parent companies of the stations most affected by the loss of the antenna have pressed federal officials to assure Mr. Bloomberg that the tower would fit within the president's definition of "public use." Walt Disney owns WABC (Channel 7); Viacom, WCBS (Channel 2); the Tribune Company, WPIX (Channel 11); the News Corporation, WWOR (Channel 9) and WNYW (Channel 5); and General Electric, WNBC (Channel 4) and WNJU (Channel 47).

In a recent conversation with Governor Pataki, Dennis Swanson, the president and general manager of WNBC, made a passionate argument that most of the 2.6 million people affected by the loss of the antenna were blacks, Hispanics, poor or elderly, according to an executive familiar with the conversation.

"Most dramatically affected are the elderly and the economically disadvantaged, who depend on free over-the-air signals for their television," Dr. William F. Baker, the president of WNET (Channel 13) and chairman of the alliance, said in a speech last month at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas. Despite the talk of public service, Dr. Baker did not ignore the financial implications, adding that, "with every day, the losses mount."

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Ken. Looks pretty cool! Lets just hope we get OTA in the New York City area well before those 2010 Olympics. I thought it very interesting that they need to construct the replacement for WTC within 3.5 miles of the Original site. If constructed, this will be the World's Tallest Structure. I would think the publicity from that may help put HDTV on the front page for the masses!
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