In the moments after midnight here in NY, the two blazing spotlights have been lit sending their blue beams heavenward, marking the 7th anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11/01.
I haven’t discussed this much here, but some personal reflections.
First, I think if you interviewed NY’ers, those that spend time in the area, the emotions of those day would still be right on the surface.
It is still a common discussion among us to talk about where we were that day and what we were doing.
But that discussion would be followed almost immediately by incredulous expressions about the cost of housing in the area.
Battery Park City, where I lived until just before the attacks, has multiplied like a rabbit in heat and the rents and prices in the area around the Trade Center have risen faster than anywhere in the city.
And to another positive. The foundation for the freedom tower and some of the other new buildings to go up there were laid some time ago. But just last week, the first beam for the Freedom Tower was laid. The goal is to have the tower completed by the tenth anniversary of the attacks.
To NY’ers, that would be amazing. Particularly to those of us alive before the Twin Towers were built.
I remember discussions about building the world’s tallest buildings almost from my first memories. And watching the towers be built, seemingly for my entire youth. They were such iconic parts of the city it seemed as if they had always been there.
During my days there, I often spent afternoons walking through the mall (there was a full shopping mall underneath the Towers) with my infant daughter.
During morning rush hour, the mall was perhaps the most crowded spot in the city with all of the New Jersey Commuters coming out of the PATH station, and the subway riders exiting at the the terminus of their lines to make their way to Wall St. and the World Financial Center.
It is why I was shocked when I began to hear the numbers of killed and injured. I can’t ever know the numbers, but there must have been over 100,000 people at all times during rush hour in the immediate vicinity of the towers, in addition to the employees in the buildings themselves.
I had moved out a short time before the attacks, and if you look at the picture I have posted here, you can see my apartment building. If you see the two towers with the green conical roofs, and then the much shorter one in the middle, my building was immediately to the left. So you can imagine my reaction to the attacks.
On that day, I was in my office in White Plains, and we had a clear view down to the inferno. CNBC plays continuously in brokerage offices, and their reporters were obviously right there. The CNBC anchor at the time, was the first to say it must have been a terrorist attack. As we stood there alternately looking out the window, and watching our sets, panic slowly took over us. Particularly as we stood in a tower that stuck out in the Westchester (the county north of the city) skyline only 15 or so miles from the Twin Towers.
When the United 93 went down in Shanksville I remember thinking, “They’re getting them all. When will it stop? When will the last plane come down? Are we safe here?”
What are your memories of that day?