A Perfectly Clear Day

This photo was taken in November, 2001 in the West 4th Street station. Clearly, at that particular time the E train was not running to the “World Trade Center at all times.”

Earlier in the day, I had been at a photography exhibit and benefit for families of September 11 victims. I did purchase a print, a stark image of the ruins of the distinctive steel structure with the Woolworth Building in perfect alignment behind it. I took the print out of storage today – it is quite beautiful in its way, but not something one can hang on the wall. It has fallen out of place in its frame and now appears tilted. Things like that can happen in ten years.

A couple of days ago, I came upon an interactive feature at the New York Times describing the World Trade Center plaza as it had been. The narration by David Dunlap ended with the phrase “the plaza sometimes seemed every bit as barren as it appears in this re-creation…and yet, I miss it so very much.” The statement, attaching emotion to the stark ultra-modern space truly resonated with me.

Ten years ago, I was about as far away from New York as I had ever been – not necessarily in geographical distance, but emotional and personal distance. My life was spiraling downwards precipitously, and would in many ways get worse in the months to come. That morning was a huge jolt in the middle of it. The violence destruction in New York left me with a huge sense of guilt, of not being there, and of being so disconnected from myself and what I wanted in life. The trip to New York in late November 2001 was necessary and important – it was part of long circuitous journey to find my way back. It is still a work in progress.

Meanwhile, the “work in progress” at the site continues:

I was happy to read that the new building has now has its correct name, simply “1 World Trade Center” and not that obnoxious jingoistic name it was originally given. I was little bit disturbed to read this story about the construction process, however.

The new plaza does not have the starkness or detached modernist ideals of the original, but we live in a different time, and it serves a different purpose, of honoring the victims and their families and of reconnecting the site to the surrounding community.

We will see how it unfolds in the coming years.