September 11, Forget You Never
I'm going to write about my own experience with the epic World trade Center.
I can go back to May of 1989, when curiosity struck my mind. My ride started at the Elizabeth, New Jersey train station.
When arriving into Newark Penn Station, you had to commute into the PATH system, that would take you straight under the Hudson River. Your final destination would take you six floors under the World Trade Center, back then.
I made it there around 10 a.m. The first thing that impressed me was the long ride up those Escalators, after getting off from the PATH. As soon as you made it out there you'd end up on these galleries, where jewelry, fashion and art would welcome you to the very first floor of one of the towers. If you saw the movie about September 11(WTC) with Nicholas Cage, you'd recreate the very first floor with its own mini Gallery mall. Saks, Fifth Avenue, Calvin Klein and other cool and "chic" stores would distract your invigorating view. The next thing you would see was the big entrance lobby
Next thing was this humongous tapestry from different world artists, that were displayed on the majestic walls before the first steps to go up the building. If you ever saw the wall decorations at JFK airport, you will understand what we were talking about. For security reasons the first floor elevator was not allowed for visitors. You would have to buy your ride ticket and jump into that wide elevator. So we would have to stay in line over the first steps to the second floor in order to enter the elevator. Through the big windows we would notice the plaza and that Masterpiece globe at the little park across the building.
You'd be able to see business people and all kind of nationalities. Just picture "the secret of my success" with Michael J. Fox. You had to take the elevator which was about the size of four SUV's together, now you have an idea. The ride would cost (then) 3.75 dollars. The time to get up there, I still remember, was 59 seconds. You would see white collars office people and sometimes the cleaning crew service, or the mailman. Now you follow us? I was there as it was yesterday!
After exiting on floor 107, you end in a cool restaurant and souvenir's stands. Exactly! Like the ones all around any mall. Then you'd notice that you just made it to the floor before the last one. If you hated heights, then it was impossible for you to go near the windows... because the world was in front of you. Being there was like being behind the glasses of a big aquarium.
The big building far away, that I recognize was the Empire State building...walking to my right hand a few steps, I was able to see the Brooklyn Bridge..then... when I looked further East, I was able to recognize the Verrazano-Narrows bridge. And to my speechless awe, I saw little ferries taking people to "The Statue of Liberty" which I barely recognized on the distance. I still can see people surprised by the look. Back in 1989 there were no digital cameras. So, disposable cameras were available (Fuji, Kodak). There were small souvenirs stands that would sell you all kind of things that would include a picture of the twin towers, mugs, t-shirts, key holders or Hallmark cards.
After 20 minutes, we were offered to go on the top roof. We were warned of being exposed to the open air and were told to put away earrings or valuables that could ended up flying away.
And after walking up the steps..the last steps to the top of that small deck.. we faced the observatory deck. We were shown New York city and practically the World. It was windy as hell; they told us that our ears would have to get adapted to sudden air pressure.
Because of people that jumped to their dead before, our roof was fenced-in and we were no allowed to the very edge of the top. We coudn't because the deck was strategically design to be smaller than the whole diamond area. Far in the horizon, I would recognize New Jersey and the Hudson valley area. At times felt like we were kissing the clouds, for that unstoppable wind.
Not that I was afraid of heights, but I was getting dizzy at times. Was really in shock by feeling myself among this improvised United Nations: Japanese tourists, Indians, Irish, Nordic; I mean all nationalities mingled there, to admire this "sky is the limit" monument. 35 Minutes later, I was done. My 35mm Nikon camera was full with those golden 36 shots, and was time to leave. On Tower South we noticed a big antenna for the networks; no wonder we weren't allowed there.
About 2 p.m. on that sunny and mild day of May, I was coming down to face my own world and time... and keep in my memory those unforgettable moments.
In memoriam to the ones that never made it down...
“Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” MARK 13, 1 NIV