Words By Jada G.
Seven years later, I find myself still here, still in love with New York City. My hometown. The both of us still standing.
Thanks to a gorgeous view from my window the Empire State Building is the first thing I see in the morning, and the last thing I see at night. After seven years, this portrait of the skyline seems almost normal without the Twin Towers. It’s become one of those things that we know is never quite right, won’t ever be the same.
Seven years ago, I was here.
I will always remember walking out of the subway at West 4th Street and seeing people lined up facing downtown, aiming camera phones at the Towers engulfed in smoke, with blank expressions and disbelief. I will remember passing two buildings on my way to chemistry class and leaving an hour later to see only clouds of blackness where the towers had always been my entire life. I’ll remember hearing that there was a “massive loss of life” and wondering where my Dad was. Calling him on the phone and getting no answer. Walking West 3rd and running into my best friend and only getting out the two words I spoke for most of that day without a cloud in the sky – “My dad.”
I’ll remember my classmates coming to the NYU gym covered in smoke and the long line at the payphones just to hear the other two words of the day – “I’m ok.” I’ll remember a woman smashing a photographer’s camera, telling her she would not let her profit from her misery. And I’ll remember a man giving out hugs to people passing by. It was pretty much all we could do. Missing posters covered the subways for months after, and then were slowly taken down when it was known that no one would be found at the nearby hospitals, in the debris. No one else would make it home out of the rubble.
Seven years later, WTC is still the last stop on the E train, although an empty lot has replaced the towers. And it seems, that no matter the weather, there’s a white light that reflects from the huge windows and the walkway is always reverently silent, something completely uncommon to a loud, fast-paced city of millions.
Seven years ago, a moment rocked our core and changed the course of history, changed the skyline of one of the centers of the world. I’m a New Yorker, born and raised, with pride as vibrant of a roaring crowd at Yankee stadium. We are the mecca of fashion, culture, and my other love hip hop. New York is the island that continues to be a symbol of hope for those with little more than a dream.
Tonight, the view outside my window with have a special addition – two white beams of light where the towers stood for my entire life. We’ll reflect.
We’ll remember. We’re still here.