The unofficial supporting character in My First, My Last. The Twin Towers were characters in my story that needed no character development. They came fully packaged and with a compelling backstory. The Twin Towers were a sight to behold in its prime. It shaped the New York City skyline beautifully and could be seen from miles. If you walked the Brooklyn Bridge or rode the train over it like I did, you marveled at its height. It towered over the surrounding buildings. It was iconic. Period.
This photo’s view was sometimes my view when I would visit the department store, Century 21, or ventured out the WTC train station, that was housed below the Twin Towers, to grab a turkey burger with my mother at a nearby hole-in-the-wall spot which was a walking distance from the buildings.
Inside, was even bigger.
In an underground concourse connected to the Twin Towers, on the lowest of the levels, there was a shopping center, restaurants, and a passageway to the PATH train. My mother and I would take the PATH at least once a month to Newark, NJ, where my aunt and grandmother lived. The escalators in the underground concourse were super long that led from the R train to down into the WTC station and riding them felt like they took forever to get to the ground floors.
Besides the many stores, restaurants, etc., above ground, there were businesses that housed their offices in the top floors of both towers. It wasn’t until 9/11 that I cared to know this. It escaped me as a child and eventually a teenager that people worked up there until that infamous day. There were many lives lost on September 11, 2001. A lot of parents, spouses, somebody’s son and daughter went to work that morning and didn’t make it back home. And it was this thought that was one of my motivations (for lack of a better word) behind including 9/11 in the storyline for My First, My Last.
Every New Yorker remembers where they were when they heard the news and was changed by that day’s tragic event. Because 9/11 wasn’t just a day. That moment in time lasted for days… many, many days. And this story depicts that. My First, My Last is a layered story and the Twin Towers and their role in the story is pretty big. There is a lot to unpack. And this here is one of them.