15 June, 2021

On Losing Altitude

In the '70s, we'd push our firstborn in a pram to the plaza—the towers kept pace with my baby's growth.

On Losing Altitude
illustration by Saurabh Singh My daughters cannot imagine New York without the World Trade Center. I don't need to imagine—I saw the twin towers being built in the 1970s when I moved here. Sunday afternoons, we'd push our firstborn in a pram to the wtc Plaza, in the financial district on the southernmost tip of Manhattan, where the rise of the towers kept pace with my baby's growth. Like many others then, I was sad to see the stately Empire State Building, the tallest edifice on our skyline, overtaken by these brash upstarts so stark in their modernity. But gradually, these towers won our hearts. Distinctive landmarks, they welcomed us on every return home.

The year they were completed, my husband took me for dinner to Windows on the World, the five-star restaurant on the top floor. The food was bad (it would improve dramatically, years later); one paid for the spectacular view. From the 106th floor, we saw the brilliant lights of Manhattan through huge, wraparound picture windows. To see the...

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