Friday, November 18, 2016


With the final defeat
of Robert Moses' plans 
for the village area, the
later destruction, in much
the same way, of a great 
swath of neighborhood  -
Lebanese, Middle Eastern,
electronics, hit me like a
punch in the face. It was
the very same thing, this
time done on a small,
ignored population of
immigrants. Forget whites.
It was OK, things all were 
torn down, and the people
sent away, so the World
Trade Center site could be
developed. It was a massive
undertaking, and by 1967, 
well underway. When I
saw all that going on, I
was pretty flabbergasted. 
There was endless, 24-hour
work underway, buildings
coming down and new 
things going up. Klieg
lights and massive trucks,
delivering, all through the
nights. No different than
the days. For a few years,
the yellow protective work
cover went up, on each
tower, as work went higher
and higher  -  exo-skeletal
and structural work, and
then all the interiors and 
fittings  -  heat, vent, etc.
When it finally did get
to some point of completion,
it seemed done, though
it never was, really, It 
was never really 'occupied' 
either. The dearth of 
rental and all the vacant 
office space was enough 
for the Rockefeller people 
to take the space over  -  
State of New York this 
and that became tenants. 
Entire lower floors of 
'Depts. of This or That'.
an office carnival on 
wheels, with the
swiftest elevators  -  
back then  -  in the
world. Something like
60 mph, at full tilt.
Remember what I said
two days ago: 'what 
goes up must come 
down.' The higher floors,
eventually filling, were
finance and brokerage
back-office things. And
the big, fancy restaurant
at the top where everyone
wished to be. Eating $12
steaks, for $60 each.
Moses had been foiled,
but this went on anyway.
When it did eventually
all come down, I think
that added to the shock  - 
for me, anyway. In the 
world's own, very weird 
way, they had reiterated his
efforts and done the work
for him. But it was loss/loss,
certainly not win/win. Go
home at night, everyone 
dies. After the towers fell,
I realized all life is a tragedy.
A tragic game, an end game,
a check-mate. and we are
all, each, just waiting for
it to happen. Even the
happy ones among us  - 
same result, they just 
see it differently.
In Summer, 1967, part 
of my entry into this 
strange new world, 
for myself, as an 
18-year old newcomer, 
was to see all this. I 
went there constantly. 
I had my bicycle, 
and a friend, Judy 
Tenenbaum, the 
previously mentioned 
art student with me,
the fruit-stealer, the
eater of cauliflower 
like an apple. We'd 
be riding along, she'd 
pluck fruit from a 
stand, and we'd keep 
going. She was pretty 
good at that. Anyway, 
the all-night crews 
were always at it, 
jackhammering and 
building, whatever 
they did for that  -  
I guess not riveting, 
that was too old-style. 
But, who knows, maybe 
that too. It was, all of 
it, my strange introduction 
to this new, bizarrely lit, 
always busy, incredibly 
altering, constantly 
replacing itself, place 
I had stepped into. 
I was awed. I was 
shaken. I go there 
now, there are Burger 
Kings, chain eateries, 
Subways, and all the 
rest. Back then, there 
was nothing like that  
-  just the slow, 
dim-witted and grime 
infested all-night 
diners and coffee 
places, and bars and 
taverns, where people 
sulked. If a Ronald 
McDonald clown-type 
ever had shown up. 
then, he (or it) would 
have been shot dead 
on sight. Believe me,
modern world, that's 
how different
things were.

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