Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Heaven is a place

Wow. Right?

So this is one of many travel brochures I found in my "Gillian wants this" box, though I don't remember seeing it when I did my last big sorting eight years ago. I probably would've taken it then if I had.

I kinda remember the day I visited the observation deck of the World Trade Center, though not nearly as well as I remember watching the towers burn from a stalled D train on the Manhattan Bridge. I remember it was another piercing blue-blue sky day in New York City, but it was sometime in the early ’80s. I'd been invited along with my friend Rob and his family on a day trip to the city. First we toured the UN and then we headed down to the WTC. Funny, I usually have such sharp memories about this sort of thing, but I don't remember if a special occasion warranted this trip, and I don't remember anything about the elevator ride to the observation deck. I just remember that it was cold and sunny; that the deck was very open, a little scary for someone who's a little bit afraid of heights, that it wasn't crowded, and that Rob and I just hung out on a bench, chatting, till his parents said it was time to go.

And here's the evidence of that little field trip, saved for more than 30 years. After 9/11, I kinda remember seeing images and stories about brochures like this, as well as other WTC souvenirs, which seemed so "ironic" and "creepy" and "prescient" in hindsight. I poked around on the internet yesterday and see that there's a bit of a market for 9/11 and WTC mementoes on ebay. Folks selling brochures and matchbooks and observation deck ticket stubs. Tickets issued on the days just prior to 9/11 seem to be fetching the highest price. Some sellers were asking for $20 or $30 for a 9/12/01 issue of The New York Times. I have several newspapers saved from that week, including that one. They're in a box in one of my big closets, of course, which is where this brochure and stub are going to end up. You have to wonder who's buying the 9/11 memorabilia; it seems a little twisted. Maybe people just want something tangible to make them feel like they were part of it, like they were there. I dunno. But with the 9/11 museum in NYC turning out to be as much of a clusterfuck as everything that's transpired in the redevelopment of downtown, ebay might be the only place we can commune with the relics of that dreadful event for some time to come.

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