I Am Not Running For President, by Mike Gold
I was in Manhattan last week, joining Martha Thomases and Glenn Hauman for a ComicMix mini-staff meeting. We were at a nice little diner in Greenwich Village, which is always a pleasantly nostalgic experience. I had to meet my wife and daughter in Newark for the Devils / Islanders game; I, of course, am a Blackhawks fan but it’s always swell to see Martin Brodeur in action.
I had a bit of time to get to the new stadium, so I took the E train down to the connecting PATH train to Newark. This happens at the World Trade Center station, and I wanted to go there.
Yep. The station’s still called “World Trade Center,” despite the fact that the World Trade Center (stop me if you heard this one) was blowed up on September 11, 2001. Sadly, the site is still a big ugly hole in the ground. The subway stations were in a deep structurally-protected basement and have been shorn up to allow tens of thousands of commuters to continue to get to work. Sadly – and to our national embarrassment – it is six and one-third years later and the World Trade Center is still a big hole in the ground.
Certainly, things have been delayed because of the input from the victims’ families who, understandably, are not of one mind. But that’s not even the tip of the iceberg. The insurance companies held things up while they tried, somewhat successfully, to weasel out of their financial commitments. The politicians need to figure out how they can cover their political bases and maximize their opportunities. The bureaucrats have to do their thing – imagine a thousand Hermes Conrads interfering with every phase of development.
Worst of all, from time to time everything had to come to a halt to recover more body fragments, woefully abandoned in the area by the one New Yorker so hated he was actually booed at a Yankees game… twice. A man who acts as though he owns the trademark on the phrase “September 11th.” A man who has been running for president of the United States on the graves of Al Qaeda’s victims. America’s greatest fraud, Rudy Giuliani.
When I walked from the E train to the PATH train, I was walking through this gaping, unattended wound to America’s soul. Obviously, I hadn’t been in that passage since the attack, although I had been to the WTC and its environs many times in the past. I think Peter Sanderson and I had even been to a Dark Shadowsconvention there, of all things. Seeing the debris from close-up, seeing the open air that had been filled with steel, concrete and people… even in 2008, it’s something else.
The damage lasted well into the PATH train tunnel. I was on a subway car filled with people who were understandably nonchalant. It was an amazingly emotional experience for me; I was really moved. I felt like I was visiting East Berlin in 1952.
That hole must be filled. I know there are all those plans and studies and stuff, but hell, there’s really only one appropriate way to do it: rebuild those same exact towers, as ugly as they were. Build them stronger, build them earthquake proof, build them greener, build them better with all the knowledge we’ve gathered about building such structures during the past four decades. But build them one storey taller. And do it now.
Both the NYC subway station and the PATH station continue to be named “World Trade Center.” I was always in favor of that. It’s been the only memorial at ground zero.
Now? More so.
Mike Gold is editor-in-chief of ComicMix.