September 11, 2006

Phantom Towers

In honor of today's anniversary of New York's biggest tragedy, here's a repost of a piece I had up on an old site that, like the towers, also no longer exists.

The day before my birthday a year ago, on 11-11-05, I was sitting in a small McDonald's in midtown, eating my cheeseburgers and McNuggets, when I looked up at the door and caught a glimpse of the neon sign on the wall behind me reflected in the door's glass.

The twin towers of the World Trade Center were lit up in brilliant white, emphasized in the mainly red sign, and the image floated like a spectre in my view of 47th St. When anyone opened the door, a cold blast of air came in, and the image vanished, only to slide back into place when the door swung closed again.

It was eerie and disquieting, this apparition of the towers, a leftover echo of a skyline past, and the sight of it pained me like the ache of a phantom limb.

go into the light
There must be hundreds, maybe thousands, of these memento mori floating around the city; signs, paintings, photos, snowglobes of the city as it was before the towers came down.

Funny how these moments of mourning and loss can wash over you years later, instigated by something as banal as a reflected neon sign in a McDonald's door.

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