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Twenty-two years … 9/11

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In a recent conversation with my dear friend Achim whom I had not seen in many years, I was reminded of the impact 9/11 had on all of us who called New York City our home.

He lived in the West Village in those days a couple of blocks from the Hudson River. His memories were filled with the shock of the experience, but also of how community had grown. He’d walk with neighbors to the West Side Highway to cheer on the workers making their way to the still smoking pile of concrete, glass, twisted steel; the tomb of the people who’d never made it out of the towers. His particular group moved to exuberance through their tears as turning back in silence, duty done, they’d walk back in a funereal silence.

Watching the towers as they collapsed was a waking nightmare in real time. Experiencing the incredulity that something so mighty as the twin towers could evaporate in seconds, one after the other, imploding as an accordion pancaking in on itself. The mind playing tricks, thinking, “What will it be like to have only one tower?” before the second one collapsed a mere thirty minutes later.

I saw it from my daughter Izzi’s window on Sackett Street in Brooklyn to the south west of the towers. My view of the tip of Manhattan unobstructed where the pair of buildings had always stood as an edifice of my New York.

There are days when I cannot fathom much of the world that has grown in the space of the buildings’ absence. What I am grateful for is to still be here along with my fellow denizens of New York who call the City our home.

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