Friday, August 26, 2011
First, Last, and Only Patient
Time flies, and nothing better illustrates that in New York City than the realization that it has been 10 years since 9/11. It seems much more recent.
I go to Ground Zero very infrequently - progress and visible change have been very slow. The entire project of rebuilding was mired in controversy and battles, right from the initial design phase. Authority and control of the design and construction have been jockeyed around. Through various negotiations and contortions, the reconstruction is now overseen by architectural firm Studio Daniel Libeskind, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Silverstein Properties, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.
I visited recently on a drizzly, foggy evening and saw the current state of One World Trade Center, which will rise to 1362 feet, the height of the original South Tower. An antenna will rise to the height of 1,776 feet, symbolizing the year in which the United States Declaration of Independence was signed. The completion date is 2013.
Like many, I have my own distinct memory of what I was doing on the day and time of the attack. My home has unobstructed south views to the tower, but I did not look out my window that morning, as I was rushing to a dental appointment for a root canal.
On my way to the subway entrance at Waverly Place, I saw a number of people staring south. As I looked down 6th Avenue towards the World Trade Center, I saw smoke pouring from the North Tower minutes after it was hit. Not knowing the severity of the disaster, I descended to the subway. When I arrived at 57th Street and my dental procedure began, I watched the horror on a TV monitor which my endodontist had mounted for his patients. I occasionally tugged on his shirt to direct his attention to the TV screen as various incidents in the disaster unfolded.
Soon, it was evident that this was a monumental, unprecedented event in American history. Remarkably, my dentist remained focused on the exacting procedure throughout, including when the Pentagon was hit. When I suggested that perhaps many patients would cancel, he told me that his staff had already cancelled all appointments for the day. I was his first, last, and only patient…
Related Posts: Veterans Memorial Pier, It Behooves One, Post-9/11 World, Little Lady Liberty, FDNY