I think it is fair to say that this entry was prompted by the 15th anniversary of the description of the Twin Towers in New York. However, this is not going to be about September 11, Or the horrors of that day. This is going to be positive, not negative, though I must admit there is still a deep sadness, and even a hatred that burns inside me because of the events of September 11th, but, I promise, that is the last I will speak about 9/11.
It was not until we had to leave our apartment at 290 W. 12 th street and move to our new apartment in the Robert Fulton housing projects on 418 W. 17th St. that the twin towers entered my life. There is much to say about this move from W. 12st but, I am leaving the details of that to my brother who has already planned and entry about that big event in our lives. Suffice it to say for out purposes here, our new apartment had a magnificent view of the twin towers in lower Manhattan.
My earliest recollection of the twin towers can be summed up in one word: awesome. They were taller than the Empire State building and that fact was mind-boggling to me. Add to that the wonderful view from our 23rd floor apartment and I was awe. That view was actually one of the few things I liked about the new apartment. The twin towers quickly became part of our every day lives.
When my brother and I woke up in the morning and went out to the kitchen for our cereal, we gazed out our window to view the towers. There they were in the early morning light ,standing proudly in New York’s harbor. The Statue of Liberty loomed to the right. If the morning was one of those beautiful crisp ,cool mornings the sun would reflect upon the windows of the towers and they seemed to simply glow. If it was a bleak and damp and cold morning, the towers stood gray and ominous in the distance. When we came home from school in the afternoon and dropped our books on the kitchen table, we gazed out the window and there they were, welcoming us home. In my mind, I heard them ask, “How was your day?” When we had dinner at the small table in the kitchen: Mom,Dad, Rob, and I; there they were :the twin towers. Before we went to bed at night and came to the kitchen to say goodnight to mom and dad ,again ,there were our friends, with spotlights gleaming across the night sky, assuring us that they would keep watch while we slept.They were always present and always beautiful. My dad was so, so intrigued by them. He,being a New Yorker through and through, was very proud of the twin towers. I remember on many occasions seeing him stare out of that window and saying to no one in particular : “they are amazing aren’t they, only in New York. ” Dad associated them with his city and everything he was proud of.
The towers were an important part of many special memories. At Christmas time ,when Dad would break out Sinatra’s Christmas album and turn out the lights in the living room with only the lights from the small Christmas tree, the New York sky line and ,of course ,the towers to slightly light the room.I remember the music ; I remember the mood the towers always present seeming to epitomize Sinatra’s New York.
I reflect upon visits to The Towers : the magnificent view from the observation deck ….clouds would actually be below you.
My dad, long gone now, first danced with my soon to be wife to the sounds Sinatra and backdrop of the towers in this small apartment at 4:18 W. 17th St. On her first trip to New York, she was in awe and of ,course ,one of the first sites that she witnesses as we came across the Hudson river on route 46 , where the beautiful twin towers.
I associate the world trade towers with the beginning of the end for my mom. Let me explain: on that same trip where dad first danced with my future wife we decided that we would take a walk down to the world trade towers. (Yes they were in “walking distance of our apartment) . As we walked , Rhonda and I noticed something unusual, mom was breathing very heavily. Now ,this was a woman who could out-walk my brother ,my dad and me without any issue :even in high-heeled shoes…and here she was seemingly struggling to catch her breath. We exchange nervous glances. I know my dad noticed it, but he said nothing. We enjoyed our trip to the towers and viewed the beautiful night skyline of New York from the observation deck and walked home. Mom eventually went to the doctor to find out why she was having such trouble breathing and It was diagnosed as the flu. It proved to be a wrong diagnosis, and this was the beginning of a long battle with cancer which eventually took her life.When I think back on that walk on that cold evening in New York, I remember the long battle mom was getting ready to face, but I also think of her smile, as she viewed her city from above the clouds.
I took a photo of the twin towers an eternity ago when I was young I still have that photo today .it’s on my mantle over the fireplace in the same cheesy frame I first put it in. It sits next to a photo of my family because in many ways those towers were part of my family. When I look at that photo now I think of all the good things associated with the :beautiful songs by Sinatra on the darkened apartment. Leaving and coming home from school with my brother, Christmas tree lights and the gleam of the towers, and of course that first dance the dad had with my future wife. These are memories that can’t be taken away even though the towers no longer stand.They will always stand in my heart they will always stand in my mind. When I look at the New York skyline they will always be there and I’m grateful for that.