My World Trade Center Photo

After years of searching for it, some time this spring, I finally sumbled across this photo that I took of the World Trade Center north and south towers in the fall of 1981. I was 18 years old and the picture was shot with the first camera I ever bought, a Minolta 135 mm SLR.

A few months after high school, I got a job with a sporting goods retailer in lower Manhattan. The main office was right behind City Hall. Many days, we we’re traveling to stores in different boroughs of the city, but when we we’re in Manhattan, the above was the view of the towers from our offices.

As you can imagine, I saw those towers under just about every condition you could see them. I saw them in rain and snow and fog so thick you couldn’t see the upper third of the buildings. But I can not imagine what it must have been like to see them burning on the morning of September 11, 2001.

The people who decided to destroy those two buildings were not just intent on striking a blow on two of the most visible symbols of New York City, but at the sense of strength and security that those two mammoth structures provided. New Yorkers who have lived and worked in the shadows of those for years must miss those buildings as much as you can miss two inanimate man-made objects. But they were more than steel and concrete.

Last fall, I took a drive back to the city for the first time in 26 years. On a beautiful late Saturday afternoon enroute to visit family in New Jersey, I found myself sitting in traffic on the George Washington Bridge. While waiting for the hundreds of cars trucks and buses to move, I got the chance to look over at the striking Manhattan skyline. The Empire State Building was visible as were other notable buildings. But the two most notable structures were no where to be found. Looking at this picture again, it’s still hard to imagine that they are really gone.

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