The World Trade Center has always been controversial. Despite objections that the towers would ruin the skyline, disrupt television reception and strain city services, the project was approved and Port Authority began excavation and construction in 1966. The 16-acre site included Battery Park City and the WTC plaza itself. The north tower was opened in December 1970 and the south tower in January 1972.
Our first warning occurred in 1993 when terrorists drove a truck packed with 1100 lbs. of explosives into the WTC's basement parking garage. Although the blast was huge, miraculously only six people were killed, and the towers reopened in less than a month.
At that time the government didn’t take terrorism seriously, and New York City had never had a crisis it couldn’t handle. But our national naivete ended on 9/11/01 when two airplanes dove into the twin towers followed by a crash on the Pentagon. The news was 24/7: footage of flaming smoking towers, people jumping to their deaths, others fleeing the site panicked and ash-covered. Entire areas were cordoned off and citywide security was ramped up. People came in droves from all over to pay their respects at "Ground Zero," a fenced off area of enormous craters and scrap heaps where thousands had died. Perhaps for the first time New Yorkers were embraced as vulnerable creatures who suffered like everyone else.
But this sensitive period lasted about two weeks. City developers decided "we'd show them," despite objections from the community and victims’ families. A proposed memorial of twin beams of light turned into a full-scale rebuilding project. Now there’s a new controversy that could easily be resolved. If we’re going to build a mosque, why not also a church and a synagogue? There’s plenty of room! In any case, prayer and spirituality is definitely preferable to commerce. Aren’t we pushing the envelope by reoffending Al Qaeda et al with new money-making skyscrapers?
Doctor’s prescription: Allow the wound to heal properly. Apply moss, not metal.
About the author
Born in Bronx, New York, Marilyn started writing poetry at age 6. As a young adult she moved to Manhattan and supported herself as a typesetter and proofreader while continuing to write poetry, fiction, essays and drama. She participated in the East Village performance scene during the '80s and '90s and wrote for local arts publications. In 1996 she published her poetry book entitled
She Must Have Been a Giant. More mature now but still rebellious, Marilyn is working on several New York-related projects.
Marilyn Recht is a contributing writer for NYCfoto.com