Remembering what was lost September 11 2001
Below is a picture someone took from an apartment located not too far from where I used to live. My view was so much better.
From September 1998 to October 2002 I lived in what can only be described as a dream apartment in New York City. It was right on Washington Square at the corner of Washington Square West and West 4th. It had a beautiful awning above the entrance and a host of doormen to make your comings and goings pleasant. The apartment itself was gigantic with two large bedrooms, two large baths, a kitchen the size of my current bedroom, a stately entryway, a living room nearly as big as my entire apartment today (and bigger than my subsequent apartments in NYC) and a working fireplace. The best thing about that apartment though, was the view.
I lived on the 7th floor in a corner apartment with views to the south and to the west. The view toward New Jersey was somewhat blocked by the steeple and carapices of the church next door. The view to the south was wholly unobstructed as my apartment was just above the roofline of all the surrounding buildings extending down to the financial district. A large window took up the entire southern wall of the living room giving a most perfect view: the twin towers of the World Trade Center stood tall. The view was so spectacular that the sofa was placed with its back to the tv set to give a direct line of sight across the room and out of the window. The TV just could not compete with that view.
Every morning I collected my coffee and sat looking out at the towers as I planned my day. Night-time, however, was the best. The twins would be lit up with alternating bands of lighted and darkened floors. A grouping of 4 here, 6 there, only 2 above that, then 5, sometimes just a single office or set of offices on a floor, making a patchwork quilt of sparkles. It reminded me of my lightbright set I loved to play with as a child. I used to sit and wonder why were these floors were lit up and others dark...were these the floors on which young computer scientists and financial analysts worked far into the night to get ahead or maybe the cleaners were busy on these floors getting things ready for the next day? I used to sit lost in thought wondering about the lives of those who worked there. Sometimes a light in an office would suddenly go dark, sometimes an entire floor, but always there were many that were lit. Beside the twins the big red neon Travelers Umbrella completed the scene.
After the terrorist attacks, the vibrant light-filled towers were no more. The view from that window now looked out on an alien landscape --just low buildings and no skyline. And you couldn't really see those low buildings anymore because such a layer of thick, brown dust covered the window that you could barely make out the building across the street. When I moved from that apartment in October of 2002, the window cleaners had not yet reached my floor.
The terrorist attack left not just a hole in my view but a hole in my heart. And now I am left to think of the vibrant people, the industrious young analysts, the hardworking managers, the cleaners and all the others who used to work in all those offices that at night made brightly coloured bands of light and who disappeared along with the towers. That hole is much bigger than the towers themselves.