I - Tribute
(The following is excerpted from the Forward of A Tribute by Jay Maisel, Barnes & Noble Books, 2001)
I make no pretense of being able to imagine the sorrow of those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001.
This book is a “once upon a time” story: a retelling of a more tranquil, more gentle past, one which will never return. When I first set up my bed 35 years ago in the building in which I still live, I raised it up so hight so that it was level with the windows. The view looks south, downtown.
Every night, before sleep, the last look of the day was at the twin towers. Every morning when I awoke the first look would be to evaluate the light on the towers and figure out, was I going to photograph them? Or had I done it already? I photographed them from all over the city, from New Jersey, Brooklyn, Queens, from the Plaza looking up, from helicopters looking down, and from other buildings.
New Yorkers were at first wary of the two upstart “new kids on the block.” Later they grew to love and accept them as much or even more than the stately classical favorite, the Empire State Building. They were so very quintessentially our symbols, they were double–as in NY, NY. They were in your face all the time, visible almost anywhere you went. You could orient where you were by where they were. They could be seen for miles from places I’m sure I’ve never been to, whose occupants cherished their distant views as much as we in Manhattan did our intimate ones.
They were amazing sculptural forms, ever-changing pillars of infinite color, agleam with reflection of the day’s light. At night their staccato bands of randomly lit floors glowed high in the night sky, dwarfing their neighbors. Sentinels and beacons, they were ultimately easy targets.
This, then, is a memory of the twin towers of the World Trade Center–a sort of extended group of family snapshots of cherished departed friends in days and nights gone by. Lovingly accumulated over the last 35 years, it is an unabashedly and unashamedly romantic and loving memory.