Since today was 9/11, I wanted to share a few thoughts on the iconic Twin Towers and their place in the psyche of the city. I can’t claim to be able to say an awful lot, but I do have some grounds for comparison.
I was working in central London on 7 July 2005, when suicide bombers attacked our transport system. I remember it well. It had just been announced the day before that London had been awarded the 2012 Olympics. This summer, as athletes from across the world competed in London and our capital had its hour in the sun, at times I recalled this with sadness. That day we lost lives, but we didn’t lose an iconic landmark in the process too.
Since moving here, what has struck me most about the attack on the Twin Towers was just how visible they were from many parts of New York. From my apartment building in Hell’s Kitchen, I can see the new One World Trade Center very clearly (see above). From New Jersey to Brooklyn, from the West Village to Midtown, many New Yorkers would have had an unobstructed view of the tragedy. They wouldn’t have needed to watch it on television.
I can’t imagine what the impact of having such a visible icon permanently removed from the city skyline must have been like. The Twin Towers featured in countless movies and TV shows as a proud symbol of the city. Given the scale of the tragedy, one of my flatmates (a native New Yorker) refuses to go to Lower Manhattan or visit the site to this very day. It’s just too emotional.
Tonight, as has been the case for the past few years, a vertical Tribute in Light was projected from One World Trade Center into the night sky. Still shining as I write this into the early hours, it’s a poignant reminder of the icon that once was, as well as the lives lost that bright September morning.