MY_WTC #604 | Carl 1980s

Growing Up at the World Trade Center

By on September 9, 2011

[…] Several years earlier, on a bright winter Sunday afternoon, I had my first experience in taking in that incredible, overwhelming view of Manhattan, Staten Island, New Jersey, Long Island, the East River, the Hudson River, the Brooklyn Bridge.

My father took color photos of every view; they still seem to capture a sunny but bitter cold winter Sunday just before the sun sets.

Both of my grandmothers had joined us that Sunday. Usually both easily indulged us in conversation about memories of their earlier lives. One grandmother loved sharing with me colorful stories about New York life in the Teens and Twenties. This time, however, I noticed how intently she gazed at the shining, magnificent engineering atop the other tower. She didn’t seem to want to talk, just to look and think. Now, I think how astounding the experience must have been to see not only how much the New York of her youth had transformed, let alone seeing it from so high above.

Later, gazing at Ellis Island with my other grandmother, I questioned her in detail for the first time about her feelings about coming to the United States, about seeing her father again after several years. It had all been so, so long ago, when she was young. She shrugged and piped up as she turned away to look out again, at the sea beyond, ”It’s best in America.” […]

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