I've been thinking a lot lately about my days in New York City. My favorite buildings there, other than the Flatiron (once the tallest building in the city), were the twin towers. I remember growing up on the North Shore of Long Island and seeing the towers go up in the distance. When I was in school at Columbia I would sometimes go way downtown to the financial district. I never went to the top of the towers, though -- I always just looked up at them from the plaza. No one who has never been to NYC can understand how enormous the towers were. Much as I always loved them, I always felt intimidated standing under them. Unlike most skyscrapers, which have strong horizontal elements, the outer steel beams of the World Trade Center emphasized the vertical like no other buildings I have seen. To me they will always be the essence of reaching for the sky.
I once flew into Newark Airport on a cloudy day, one of those days when the sky is filled with an unbroken mass of something between fog and cloud that produce a form of precipitation which is neither rain nor mist but a little bit of both. As we approached Newark we descended closer and closer to the tops of the clouds, and I looked East out the window to take in the last rays of the sun before plunging into the clouds. Off to my left I suddenly noticed that not all of New York City was veiled in mist -- the highest ten or fifteen stories of the World Trade Center jutted out above the cloud-tops, for all the world like two solid white islands in a sea of rolling grey vapor. I'll never forget that sight, and as I was waking up this morning I wrote a haiku about it (which I immediately added to my Urban Haiku):
A sea of silver
Clouds below -- except the tips
Of two white towers.
Peter Saint-Andre > Journal