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September 11, 2011 / Robert Ross

A lost view


Souvenir brochure and ticket stub

I tend to tuck things a way. I was reorganizing some books and came across a photo album from long ago and far away. Glancing through the pages, I found my self reliving events that had fallen far away from my active memory. One of these memories centered around the Fourth of July weekend of 1989. That weekend found me as a tourist in New York City. It was the trip that forever convinced me that a 3 day  holiday weekend in the summer is the perfect time to visit the city.  It is hot, but much less crowded.

Street view approaching the towers

One of the major goals of that trip was a trip to the top of the World Trade Towers. Say what you might about their design, no one can deny their iconic power. The twin towers soared twice as high as anything else in the city and gave me an appreciation for the effectiveness of simplicity.  They were there.  From the street, they gently shimmered against the sky. From a distance their beveled corners elegantly reflected the sunlight, naturally highlighting their spare forms.

a much younger me and the view!

After an express elevator ride to the top (58 seconds according to the brochure), you entered an exhibit space on the 107th floor before taking your final trip by escalator to the viewing platform above the 110th floor, weather permitting. The day I was there the weather was glorious and the view from the top incredible. You could see for 55 miles. That is what I remember most about the trip. The view from the top of the World.

This country changed the day the towers were lost. Our national optimism that celebrated itself by building such towers vanished. Everything became clouded by a filter of fear. Our view of the world and our position in it was undeniably altered. Ten years later, I think that is what I miss most. The lost view.

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