Whenever the country commemorates September 11, 2001, like most Americans, I remember where I was, how I felt and how we, as a nation, went forward, forever changed. Yet there are some thoughts that don't necessarily have a tie to that exact day, but well up inside, every time the calendar draws near.
I am a native New Yorker who never visited the World Trade Center until I was an adult. Years ago I'd had known a friend who worked on one of the upper floors. I tried taking some business classes at NYU near to the site. I was between jobs and working a temporary position at a corporate office inside the towers. That having been said, despite being (what I thought was) a jaded Manhattan resident, I walked into the lobby of the landmark one morning circa 1986 and caught my breath. I had never seen anything quite like it.
As a prideful New Yorker, looking at the skyline of my city never got old. Of course, it has changed over time when adding and accommodating new construction. But when 9/11 happened and there was air and space where the towers once stood — it was like witnessing an emptiness our collective hearts could feel. And although the blue lights, creating endless towers reaching to the sky was a wonder, I never had the chance to see them first hand.
Then when One World Trade Center (the Freedom Tower) was finished in late 2017 there was a new look to the horizon. Suddenly there was a beacon, a proof of renewal. A new structure touching the clouds. Our New York skyline will never be like it was, but when I have the good fortune to be on the Hudson River and sail past it all, I will remember, I will honor, and I will take it all in: the magnificence of the city that I love.
A contributing writer to the Herald since 2012, Lauren Lev is an East Meadow resident and a direct marketing/advertising executive who teaches advertising and marketing communications courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology/SUNY, LIU Post and SUNY Old Westbury.