@f00l Thank you for this. My husbands department sent down one Engine company and one Rescue company. My husband was one of the ones that volunteered and was selected to go. I was pregnant at the time so I worried a lot. He still won’t talk about his time there so I don’t ask.
@f00l Thank you for thanking him. He is very close with the guys who he went down there with. Unfortunately, one of the ones who volunteered to go found out his teenage son was killed in a vehicle accident while he was gone. We couldn’t reach any of them by phone while they were there and he found out when they returned. He quit the fire department two weeks later. Another has since died after a battle with lung disease he developed after he got back from being there. I tried to get my husband into therapy but he won’t- he says that when it bothers him he talks to the guys who were there. After our son was born he got better until I was diagnosed with my disease. Now he has to take on more than he should have to but our son is now old enough to help. I always feel shame that my son had to grow up so early and I added to my husbands workload.
I know you live there and I can’t imagine what you went through and possibly are still going through. Same to anyone else who was/is a New York resident during and after the incident. My heart goes out to them and you my dear f00l.
I did live in Manhattan for about 6 years. It was there most incredible place to be young. People could be poor students and live there then. They were still affordable places fairly close in. Now Manhattan real estate … I can’t imagine.
There’s so much going on there that even someone dedicated to seeing everything cool could only see a zillionth of the good stuff.
Manhattan is a place everyone loves to complain about. This town’s in tatters! (Rolling Stones) And then, if people ever get to live there, they do not want to leave, ever.
NYkers love their city and are fiercely proud of the distinctive character. Various places may belong to this corporation or that zillionaire, but the city itself, with all its landmarks and memorable or special spots, belongs to everyone who calls it home.
And so the WTC belonged to all of us.
I was only up top a very few times. I liked the views better from the bridges or the ferry when I was hungry to see the city laid out before me.
I remember they had the most incredible enormous amethyst geodes up there, below the observation deck. I think as part of the entrance to Windows On The World.
It still pains me to think that the morning restaurant crew was undoubtedly on duty at 8:45 am, preparing for lunch. I don’t know if they served breakfast.
I don’t think the WTC is considered to be an architectural triumph? I don’t know. But I always really liked looking at the towers. Something about the silvery exoskeleton look of the towers made them look light and airy to me, perhaps as tho the towers were some sort of city symbol instead of being actual buildings.
I still missed them. One nice thing about them - they were so tall, that if you got turned around, you just went to the corner of a big N/S Avenue and looked around. You could often spot them, and get your bearings. Also everyone kinda leaned the star at various distances. So if you were in a long walk north it sorry, a quick glance at the towers would give you some idea of the distance covered.
I haven’t lived in our visited Manhattan since the 1980’s, but I still miss it.
NYkers feel a keen since of ownership and love of the notable spots in the city. When the towers were attacked, people felt they had lost something very personal, even if they knew no one who was connected to a person in the towers, or knew no recovery person or first responder. That attack was very very personal to everyone in the city.
And the people. Kitchen workers, officer workers, rich people, maintenance people, people with businesses in the building. Lost. 1st responders injured and damaged. Friends. Family. Parent, grand-parents, brothers, sisters. Someone’s children.
NKers were incredibly moved by everyone who came to help, and to those who contributed, and to those were hurt as tho they lived there.
It was gratitude, but much more also. Everyone - esp people like your husband - became a NYker. Forever.
Became a family member, so to speak.
NYkers have not forgotten what people have of themselves. They will not forget.
If the two of you are ever able to visit there, and you let slip that you were part of the recovery effort, you will see people be deeply moved in ways they may not have words for.
(I include both of you, since you took up the slack at home; they are many human parts of offered service and donated struggle.)
If you ever visit, tell people. They will want to know. You all went thru those painful days and months together.
I still remember them talking about going to the commuter parking lots at the bus and train stations to see which cars were still there. A few of my co-workers lived in NYC and they talked about how the smells lingered for weeks.
For me, it was how QUIET it was when no planes were allowed to fly and how scary it was when they started flying again.
If you can bear it, you can find the recordings of the Howard Stern Show out there for Sept 11, 2001.
Poke around on the web or YouTube if you are interested. I haven’t looked for them recently.
They were talking about Pamela Anderson right before the news hit. Of course.
And then they did a memory-worthy show.
They stayed on the air for more then 6 hours? The station told them to stay on the air for as long as they felt they could. They had spotters calling in with news, and visual descriptions, from fairly close-in. And persons who could identify the military aircraft that were in the air over Manhattan.
The show reported all the insane rumors of that day, (they reported these as rumors!!). Remember when, for a little bit, people thought many many more airports and airplanes (than 4) were under attack?
Remember how there were rumors of armed and organized ground attacks against military bases, infrastructure, and airports?
There was so much confusion. And, more than that, shock and horror at the terrible human cost, and a conviction to go forward.
@f00l Not very fond of Stern. May look for it later, but I’m still remembering the show on Decades yesterday. It was a full hour of descriptions from the reporters, photographers, and first responders who were actually at the scene. Particularly what was happening as the towers were falling and when people were jumping out of the buildings to avoid burning to death. I spent most of the hour in tears. Especially when they talked about doing whatever they could to get to the scene, because that was their job.
FWIW, The Walk was a pretty good movie and an homage (at times) to the towers themselves. Considering they were still under construction at the time of the infamous highwire stunt, it really adds additional perspective.
I think Petit thought he had to do the walk while the towers were under construction, or the security might be too great later on.
I always loved that his crew used a crossbow attached to a leader line to get a connection from one tower to the other, so they they could setup Petit’s cable.
Petit has, for years, lived in Woodstock NY, where he practices 3-4 hours every day.
He has an interesting personal work philosophy.
(From a Daily Beast article)
Petit, who defines himself as an “Art Criminal,” kind of like a Street artist but with a higher level of physical risk, had wanted to make it an illegal walk. Not! “You know trying to do this in New York City would be impossible right now,” Kathy O’Donnell, Petit’s partner and manager for almost three decades, says. If he were to do something illegally he would be shot these days. “It wouldn’t be like then. Let’s wait for the guy for 45 minutes to come in off his wire. It would be bye-bye!” Doing a legal public walk was a no-no, too. “Anything over 20 feet you have to have a safety belt. Or a bubble underneath. You know, an airbed.”
“Well, I don’t have television,” Petit says. “And I don’t really read the papers, which is ridiculous I’m sure. Basically I am an alien. I live in the clouds for my art. I do not understand anything in politics. I am a street juggler. I have an illegal existence. I have to get a permit, I have to get permission. That’s not me, I go with my unicycle and I juggle anywhere. To me the world of politics is like rain. If it’s raining, well, face the rain or steal an umbrella. But don’t try to fight the rain. So I do not comprehend and cannot talk about politics.”
My question was not about politics, I said. It was about 9/11 and the future.
“Aha! Well, I am a very optimistic pessimist. I just think of human beings, they are slaves to their little machines, they put things in their ears, they put things in front of their eyes, they don’t smell anymore, they don’t touch any more, they get hit by a bus when they cross the street because they are not alive, they’re not looking. I am not happy in the 21st century. I live in the 18th century, I live in the Middle Ages.”
And the Towers, I persisted?
“They are human in my heart. They are my friends. So when people say what did you feel that day when the Towers were destroyed, I cannot answer that question. Because how can I talk about the loss of two architectural marvels when thousands of human lives were taken that day?”
“Three hours a day I practice. And they say, ‘But what are your limitations?’ I say, ‘No, I am better at 65 than when I was an arrogant little bastard at 18, trying to prove myself.’ Now I don’t need to prove anything. And the more you know, the more you realize you have to learn. Not to prove but to improve is really where I am at. And I think I am at the top of my life as a wirewalker. I think the 50 years of learning has put me in a position where I am really in command. I do not have the suppleness of 20 but I have something much more important… And you see that when you see the show. You’ll see the transformation when I do the first steps, you will see the transformation. I get younger, I am so happy!“
A couple of years after Petit’s wonderful work of performance art, George Willig, a toy designer and mountain climber from Queens climbed the South Tower using equipment of his own design ahead manufacture. It took his about 3-1/2 hours.
These performances romanticized the buildings. They made the building far more popular, and may have made them a more obvious symbolic target.
Here is some contemporaries TV news footage.
Willig wasn’t fined $250k. Just $1.10, a penny per floor, so long as he never did it again, never assisted anyone else, and never publicized his equipment design.