The Buildings May Be Gone

Photo Copyright © 2020 by Gerry O’Brien

September 11th, 2001 was Primary Election Day in New York, and I was nowhere near the Towers that day.

But I worked part time at the World Trade Center on and off for about a year in 1980, as an elevator operator for a security firm that oversaw WTC maintenance.

I ran the 50 car — sub basement 6 to the 108th floor in about 95 seconds.  The elevator repair crew performed maintenance on it nearly every week, and claimed its speed would accelerate unless they tweaked it regularly.

They were magnificent buildings. But they can be replaced. Some were.

The people we lost that day can never be replaced.

One was a young man on his second day at work as an assistant engineer at the Towers. We had worked together on a political campaign earlier that year.

Another was the Mom of a dear friend I did not meet until a decade later.

And another was a high school classmate, a captain in the FDNY.

Good people. Gone in an instant.

Their memories will live on, a testament to the impact they had on family, friends, co-workers.

Forever.

 

 

From The Archives, 1981: Tom Cuite

Photo copyright © 2021 by Gerry O’Brien

Tom was your classic old-time pol: a World War II veteran who served in New York’s State Senate, lost a bid for Congress the year I was born, and was rewarded with a seat in the New York City Council. He rose to Finance Committee Chairman, and in 1969, Vice Chair and Majority Leader — today’s equivalent of City Council Speaker. In 1977, I was his 18 year old opponent in the General Election. It wasn’t close. I took this photo of him at the Montauk Club in the summer of 1981.

From The Archives, 1979: Flatbush Avenue Dog

Photo copyright © 2021 by Gerry O’Brien

From The Archives, 1980: Cape Broyle, Newfoundland

Photo copyright © 2021 by Gerry O’Brien

From The Archives, 1985: South Dakota Valley

Photo copyright © 2021 by Gerry O’Brien

From The Archives, 1980: A Shadow Across Prospect Park West

Photo copyright © 2021 by Gerry O’Brien

From The Archives, 1993: Carpet Kitten

Photo copyright © 2021 by Gerry O’Brien

From The Archives, 1985: The Badlands

Photo copyright © 2021 by Gerry O’Brien

From The Archives, 1980: Newfoundland Blockhouse

Photo copyright © 2021 by Gerry O’Brien

From The Archives, 1983: Mayor Ed Koch

Photo copyright © 2021 by Gerry O’Brien