September 11th, 2006


Five Years

It's hard to believe it's been five years already.

I used to be able to see the twin towers of the World Trade Center if I looked out my window at a certain angle. I can still remember the tall plumes of smoke, the tang of burning metal in the air, the half-burnt pieces of paper that floated on the wind all the way across the East River to Brooklyn. I remember seeing the first tower fall on the news, in the background while a reporter was interviewing someone. I remember walking over to the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights a few days later, the place I'd always gone for the best view of the Manhattan skyline, and finding myself among hundreds of others who had the same thought. Someone hung a picture of the towers on the railing so we could see exactly where they used to be (there are no landmarks for finding the towers' location in the skyline - the towers were the landmark).

I had separated from my wife and moved into a new apartment 10 days before the attacks. I was already dealing with some dark, depressing stuff, and what happened that day felt like more than I could bear. It broke me, but the pieces I put back together formed a better, stronger whole than before.

The World Trade Center took seven years to build back in the late 1960s and early '70s. We're now only two years away from matching that, and thanks to all the in-fighting between architects, contractors, politicians and Larry Silverstein, who owns the lease, there's still nothing there but a hole in the ground. Great job, guys. It's not like rebuilding would have helped heal our emotional scars or anything.

You want to become Mayor of New York, or Governor? All you have to say is this: "It's outrageous that rebuilding hasn't started yet. If elected, I'll fire everyone involved in the proposed Freedom Tower and start construction immediately on rebuilding the twin towers just as they were. We've waited long enough. The towers are coming back. The skyline is coming back. New York as we knew it is coming back." I guarantee you'd be elected in a landslide.