Saturday, September 11, 2010
Windows on the World
For many New Yorkers, it's still tough to look downtown and not see them rising up towards the heavens. They were beautiful, those Twin Towers. Golden and gleaming like mirrors one minute; steely and silvery sleek as clouds passed by the next.
Some New Yorkers never got used to them and the giant footprint they left on the city's skyline. But we loved them. They were just too cool, so in-your-face New York, center of the universe.
We liked to shop and hang out there. A new neighborhood, Battery Park City, grew and grew up around the Towers. We'd spend amazing days along the Promenade where you could walk, jog, bike and roller-blade to your heart's content. Yes, in Manhattan. And each time we'd look up and see them looming there all proud and purposeful, we were filled with that same feeling – so happy to be alive, in that moment, in the greatest city in the world.
The dizzying elevator ride that took you up to Windows on the World was an adventure in itself. No amount of hype readied you for the bar, immodestly called The Greatest Bar on Earth, and absolutely nothing prepared you for the view that awaited you from the 107th floor.
Windows and the Trade Center held sweet memories. We'll never forget the day we treated the parents on their anniversary and watched their faces fill with amazement as they sat down to their glorious table with a view. Business dinners brought delicious food and unforgettable wine on nights when sky-high Windows helped make deals happen. Another night brought a first taste of Chateau Montelena. And there was best friend's excitement over her Windows wine course, an investment that repays her with regularity to this day. Down on the street, hip- and smart-looking men in dark navy suits took their strolls at lunchtime – as did an ocean of gorgeous go-getter women in impossible high heels.
It was another world, too beautiful perhaps for many of us to appreciate at the time. A peacetime world, at least for Americans on our native soil. Before Portraits of Grief haunted us, before bombings in places we couldn't find on a map, before everything turned not nice at all, maybe forever.
Tonight we'll enjoy our wine, our friends, each other's company and every breath and blessing we have. Just like those moments at Table 32, when the view from those windows on the world seemed so spectacularly majestic, endless and calm.