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Reason.tv: 9/11, The World Trade Center, & New York's Next Skyline

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On September 11, I'll be thinking less about the World Trade Center and more about my father and the relentless – probably unique – ability of New York City to bury its dead and move on without a backward glance.

My father was born in Manhattan in 1923, in a tenement building off Columbus Circle. A few years later, he moved to Brooklyn, a borough that was considered the country back then, a place that had more horses than cars. By the time he left there for good in 1966, it wasn't the country anymore, that's for sure.

He worked for Sea-Land, a shipping company that was one of the World Trade Center's original tenants, and one of my very earliest memories is of my older brother and me playing in the company's unfinished offices in one of the towers before the complex opened to the public in 1973.

Like many, probably most, New Yorkers, my father hated the Twin Towers at first, preferring the Chrysler and Empire State buildings, which had gone up during his childhood.

He'd seen King Kong when it came out in 1933, he explained, and he just couldn't see the big ape climbing the towers. By the late '70s—after Philippe Petit tightrope walked across them, George Willig scaled them, Owen Quinn parachuted from them, and King Kong himself had been shot off them in a 1976 remake—he'd come around.

On a trip to Manhattan around then, he asked me if I wanted to see where he'd been born. He hadn't been to the old neighborhood since before the war and was feeling nostalgic. We walked toward the Circle only to realize that not only the building he'd been born in was gone, but the entire street—paved over sometime in the '50s or '60s in the rush to build Lincoln Center, a place he'd never think of entering.

As the realization sunk in, he shrugged, turned to me, and said, "Well, do you wanna go see a movie instead?"

There's nothing that will lessen the horror of 9/11 or do justice to the murdered souls interred forever at Ground Zero. But in a strange and beautiful and terrible way, New York – and America – will honor them most by pausing only briefly to pay our respects.

Written by Nick Gillespie and produced by Meredith Bragg.

Gillespie is the editor in chief of Reason.tv and Reason.com, and the co-author with Matt Welch of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With AmericaBragg is a producer for Reason.tv and a 2010 finalist for a digital National Magazine Award for best video.

About 2 minutes. For downloadable versions of this video, links, and other supporting materials, go to Reason.tv.

For more Reason articles and commentary on the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, go here.

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NEXT: Remembering 9/11: The Eternal Fallout Shelter, How Art Failed Us, & The Day Everything Continued to Change

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  1. The square, empty concrete holes with water flowing, look to me like either water or sewage treatment plants. Archie Tekt, wasted millions on that ‘art’.

    1. They remind me of the monument to Benedict Arnold in “His Powder’d Wig, His Crown Of Thorns”.

    2. I really like it.

  2. Nice job, Nick. I’d write more, but I’m busy and have to get on with my day.

  3. I think your daddy has been telling you tales. My mother was born in Brooklyn two years after yours and it was most definitely not the country, even then.

  4. Is it me or does it sound like Nick is auditioning to be one of those narrators on NPR’s This American Life?

    1. +1. I was thinking more like some random blurb they do in between other unrelated segments, but yeah.

  5. Can someone give me a one sentence summary of all this 911 crap. Or why Reason thinks their readers want to read it?

    1. It’s a ten-year anniversary and we humans are obsessed with the number 10; distracted by the dramatic conflicts of crime and punishment, sin and redemption; enthralled with pageantry and pathos and punditry; and we’re bored.

  6. http://thetruthaboutguns.com/2…..y-bullets/

    NY Cops kill bystander with one of the 71 stray bullets they fire at a suspect. They hit him twice. Nice shooting there Tex.

    1. BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALK…er…JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHN!!!!

    2. Not surprising. I’ve known NYPD officers, and one of the things I noticed was that they never went to the range. That’s not to say none of them do, but these people would bitch and moan about having to go to the range just to take a re-certification test. Which was laughably easy in its own right.

      Yet they still treated anyone owning pistols as somehow dangerous, as if you might suddenly show up with it and start shooting.

      NYPD culture is fucked up.

      1. How do fire 71 times unless everyone just completely panics? It shows a complete lack of training and professionalism. My God, a bunch of 8th grade girls would panic less than that.

        1. It’s called “we spray and pray because we will not be punished for collateral damage, so why be careful?”

          1. I can see that. The problem is that you are just as likely to get shot by another cop. No way in hell would I want to be anywhere near one of those clowns with a weapon.

            1. Well we agree here….asshole!

        2. Gunfire is contagious, particularly among the untrained or minimally trained. Cops aren’t the only ones who fall prey to this, but they do fall prey to it often.

          1. Yes cops are minimally trained if at all. That is a bit of a problem.

            1. It’s sad when I am I feel safer with someone who admits tob having a ccw, than an armed officer. The guy with the ccw probably can shoot straight.

    3. Obviously, video games are to be blamed for this death. Unlimited ammo and all…

  7. THEY HATE US FOR OUR FREEDOMS!!! TUK RRR JERRRRRRRBNDD DURKA DERR!

    http://www.detnews.com/article…..re-America‘s-future

    1. Don’t worry that dude’s 10 year daughter will solve all.

  8. Nice job Nick

    I’d like to see 9/11 honored by what made NYC great to begin with, the trappings of people working hard to achieve their own greatness and happiness.

  9. Gillespie has a different voice when he’s not talking about the [spit] government.

    Like Nick’s old man and the towers, it will be a while for me to accept the new thing they’re putting up.

  10. Good job, Nick. You are one of the people in the public eye that is making this country a better place to live. Keep calling like you see ’em.

    Peace,

    Joe E O

  11. Well done, sir. I plan on only giving a moment of silence this Sunday and every 9/11 after this. Just like Dec 7 deserves.

    @Colin Disagree. I live just 10 miles outside the beltway and even the DC/Arlington crowd calls that ‘out in the sticks’ City dwellers are all geographicists

  12. There’s nothing that will lessen the horror of 9/11 or do justice to the murdered souls interred forever at Ground Zero. But in a strange and beautiful and terrible way, New York ? and America ? will honor them most by pausing only briefly to pay our respects.”

    Well said!

    1. He’d seen King Kong when it came out in 1933, he explained, and he just couldn’t see the big ape climbing the towers. By the late ’70s – after Philippe Petit tightrope walked across them, George Willig scaled them, Owen Quinn parachuted from them, and King Kong himself had been shot off them in a 1976 remake – he’d come around.

      refer to http://www.aimengcrystal.com

  13. Subtly poignant, short and sweet.

    I see that Phd done you some good Nick.

  14. “We walked toward the Circle only to realize that not only the building he’d been born in was gone, but the entire street – paved over sometime in the ’50s or ’60s in the rush to build Lincoln Center, a place he’d never think of entering.”

    Another victory for Urban Renewal.

  15. It is a nice sentiment that we should not miss a step. The problem is that it has taken over 10 years to rebuild.

    Good grief.

  16. I worked for Sea-Land in the World Trade Center from 1981 to 1986 (approx.). The reason I left this company which paid quite well was because of the 200 bomb threats a day received in the World Trade Center and the fact that during a fire drill it took nearly 30 minutes to go down 27 flights of stairs.

    You could not enter or exit the building without bumping into FDNY coming or going.

    I am saddened to see that my nightmares were realized.

    My prayers for everyone who perished that day and in 1993.

  17. The memorial makes me think of loss and failure. The lives lost there should have been raised, not lowered. The holes look like we are cowarding instead of raising our heads high. Many of my friends and I fel that the twin towers should have been rebuilt to be the tallest buildings on earth with the floors that were hit as being the memorial locations. These people worked to rise high and make the world an economic marval. Their memeorial should have been up there where they worked – not in a hole!

  18. Why not seek what the towers were named after, “World Trade” as a memorial?

  19. Makes total sense.

    9 + 11 + 2001 = 2021
    2 + 0 + 2 + 1 = 5

    9 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 0 + 0 + 1 = 14
    1 + 4 = 5

    In Numerology, number 5 stands for Planet Mercury: CHANGE “we can believe in”. Nine-Eleven definitely marks the fall of the American Empire and the takeover by China as the world superpower.

    Now it remains to be seen if the US can be peacefully transformed into a North-American Union under UN’s agenda: with no internal borders (Canada, the United States and Mexico), ID cards with biometric security (iris recognition, …), mandatory social security, mandatory Vaccines, centrally planned education (Civics) , gun confiscation, State-restricted parenthood, a North-American currency (Amero) and a central bank, a federal value added tax (VAT), a wealth tax, luxury tax, endowment tax, cap and trade taxes on carbon, sectoral industry agreements on wages, the NAFTA superhighway, Travel Agency, Equality Agency, and a permanent super committee in Congress. Setting the path to the new aristocracy: the Bureaucrats.

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