In was in the late fall of 1967, I had just turned 17 years old when my father took me to the job site of what would be called the World Trade Center. New York City was in the midst of a building boom. The 1964 World’s Fair had just finished a few years back and it seemed everywhere you walked, drove or took the train, something new was being built.
When my dad and I arrived at the WTC site, I still remember seeing this monstrous hole in the ground. I can still remember looking down at this hole through the ‘peep-holes’ of the plywood barriers. The men working deep in this pit looked like ants in a colony. I must have asked my dad a thousand questions from “how did they get the cranes in the hole and how will they get them out” to “how high is this thing going to be?” Looking uptown, my dad pointed towards the direction of the Empire State building. “Taller than the Chrysler building, even the Empire” was his response. It was hard to imagine anything so tall. “How do they get water to the bathrooms at the top floor? Why are they building two?” were another series of questions I asked him.
When I returned from Vietnam in April of 1970, I can recall seeing these towers from my airplane window rising as we were landing at Newark airport. The North tower would be done around December of that year and the South tower in July of 1971. I had dinner at the Top of the World restaurant in the early 90’s. I don’t remember much of the people I was with as much as I remember the view at sunset; especially watching the outbound aircraft traffic from Newark airport. You felt like you could wave good-bye to them as the airplanes seemed so close.
On a 9/11 website I recently looked at, there is a hole in the ground with construction workers once again looking like ants. I’m a month away from being 60 and I’m thinking of calling up my sons to make a visit to this site. In the late fall, of course.