Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Ten Years On

It seems hard to believe it is ten years. I worked in TriBeCa at the time, 10 or 15 blocks north of the World Trade Center. But I was in London on the day, staring in disbelief at the tv.

I arrived back about five days later. There was a strange burnt plasticky smell in the air in TriBeCa. And at the end of Greenwich Street was the vast terrible pile of wreckage. The towers I had been so used to looking at, soaring a few blocks away every day when I opened the office door, when I wandered around on the streets - were gone. The skyline was empty. The world had changed.

I still haven't got over it all. I still find it emotional and hard to think about it. And I am still angry. And horrified.

I wander up to the construction site at lunchtime some days. Nothing can bring back the people. But every floor they add to the new buildings feels good. It is good to see them rising into the sky.

I took these photos of the World Trade Center in 1996, on a business trip to New York before I ever imagined I would live here.

I last visited in August 2001 when my sister was in town. Of course, it felt as if something so magnificent, so vast would be there forever.

Ordinary people, ordinary New Yorkers going about their lives attacked out of nowhere. Families left bereaved.

I became so used to them when I worked nearby. I used to walk down to the Borders bookstore in the plaza area at lunchtimes sometimes. It was so hugely familiar.

I didn't know anyone personally who lost their lives. I can't imagine the distress of their families.

The city is still scarred.

It is good to see the new buildings going up. Here is what the site looked like on Thursday afternoon.

It has taken too long to build, to restore. But now the main tower is 80 stories tall already.

It didn't stop us. We're coming back. Better.

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