Anita Brown

 
 

Anita's Old Blog

Remembering

The World Trade Center's Twin Towers and Plaza was a place I shared many memories with many friends. Music, laughter, sight seeing, parking nearby and just hanging out by the river... The towers were a beacon, the ballast of the skyline. They were our compass, differentiating south from north; icons of New York, hailing from Battery Park. As a child, I watched them go up...one floor at a time, while living in Teaneck, NJ and coming into town frequently to go to my uncle's shop, where Mom worked at E.28th & Lex, and while visiting my Aunt Mary's at E. 38th & 3rd. I remember, as a 7 year old, being a little sad that they would trump the height of The Empire State Building. I remember how noisy that construction was and that every floor looked the same. Week to week one could observe the progressive increase of height. Once they were built, most of us thought they were an eye sore until some years passed. They filled my windshield from top to bottom, every Monday night as I drove down 7th Ave. to The Village Vanguard to hang with my friends; a spectacular view in 3-D that I never took for granted, as was the laterally complete skyline view as one drove into Manhattan from the Long Island Expressway, just before entering the Midtown Tunnel. Another wondrous view in the most incredible 3-D, Twin Towers at extreme left. Watching them fall after I ceased readying myself to drive into New York for appointments with my attorney was a horrific moment in my life. Without TV service at that time I learned of the "accident" of a plane hitting Tower One by my mother's phone call. Not having seen the imagery, I just thought, "Eh...whatever. It will be fine. I'm not meeting Don at his office (1 block from WTC), I'm meeting him in midtown. Gotta get rolling..." I thought. A few minutes Mom called back. "I don't think you should go Anita. Turn on the radio." Suddenly news of an additional plane in DC and another in PA came through. I ran over to my neighbor's house and we watched the rest of it on TV until about 2:00pm. Worse than watching that was learning that the wonderful man and father of three of my private students, whose family I adored, an attorney for Cantor Fitzgerald, was lucky enough to survive but was burned over 80% of his body. Had he not stopped for a breakfast purchase before entering the building, he might have already been at his desk instead of in the elevator when the plane hit. As it was, the elevator doors opened and he faced a fireball of jet fuel which he inhaled as it burned off his wardrobe. He spent many months in the burn unit of Cornell-Weill and survived to celebrate his youngest daughter's Bat Mitzvah, which fell to the calendar, interestingly enough, on September 11th some years later, which I attended. His friends and family are all grateful for his amazing recovery. During the week following 9/11/01, when I made a wrong turn, I found myself forced to go over the Triboro Bridge. As I approached the span I could see the ominous cloud of dust lit from below, wavering and morphing slowly, like a ghost representing all the lives lost and crippled. I was crying uncontrollably while driving; not something I recommend. I turned around in Dave Pietro's neighborhood in Astoria and had to return, this time with a better view, much to my dismay as well as my curiosity. Everybody drove curiously and courteously slowly without use of horns, and WITH use of turn signals for at least one week. The stench of this cloud lingered and even made its way up the river to the vicinity of the George Washington Bridge. I sat down to write on September 14th. The sketches I have are strong and cut deep into my soul. The piece has been conceived and has a title. I had hoped to garner a commission from West Point to see it through but that didn't happen. It's all for the better, as I am still not ready to face those sketches. I wasn't going to post a blog today, but seemed to start to do so in response to Mark Dubinsky's post on my Facebook wall. A comment didn't seem enough. I hope everyone will do something nice for someone today. That's about all we can do. And live well my friends, live well! --AB