9/11 My Remembrance

I had just started my hedge fund with my three good buddies, I had worked in the World Trade Center for about three years on the 87th floor just prior to opening my firm. We literally moved down 10 floors to the 77th floor when we launched the fund. We had 800 square feet and we were proud as peacocks. It was a magnificent, almost magical day, 70 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. It was a “crisp” 70 degrees and I remember loving the feeling and breathing the air, autumn was in the air and things were good.

I didn’t know what to expect that day, I was more concerned at succeeding at my new venture than anything else, it’s amazing how large we make such small things, money, success, recognition, these things drive us all and were important to me at the time, they seem so less important to me now.

The World Trade Center was much more to me than just the place that I worked, it was my backyard, I lived across the street in Battery Park City for ten years, it was my view when I woke up in the morning and went to bed at night. When my wife and I married, we lived there for five years, both of my beautiful children were born just across the street from the Trade Center. At one point in my career,( I worked on Broadway in lower Manhattan), I could see my apartment through my office window, and one time I could even see my wife with binoculars, we always laughed about that and still do today.

The area that I lived in was shadowed and almost protected by those two giant structures, no matter where you turned you felt their presence, it was nice, they were “our” buildings. I ate lunch at the deli in the Trade Center every day, used the Duane Reade downstairs, and grabbed beers with the guys in the most disgusting dive bar downstairs that you ever saw, we called it the Boulevard of Broken Dreams, countless broken dreams, and lost souls drank there, but we loved it, it was our dive.

The ground shook violently that morning, if you live in LA I guess that is what a really powerful earthquake feels like,  paintings came off the wall and everything felt like it shifted, it felt like the earth shifted. My building was the North Tower, One World Trade Center, it was the first to get hit and the second to fall. The plane hit about 15- 20 floors above me.

Sheer panic ensued, oddly, people still did not know what was going on, all communications, including cell phones, were fried.

The neighborhood I was from spawned two groups, the first group were collectively cops and fireman, the second were Wall Street kids. The irony and sheer sadness of this, was the actual real dynamic of brother saving brother that day. The fireman went up to save lives and the Wall Streeters ran down to safety. Eerily, some knew each other well, as they crossed paths on the stairwell. Up meant death, down meant life. The guys going up were heroes, a much-overused word after the attack, not everyone who wears a uniform is a hero, many are cowards, I hated the use of the word after that day, the heroes were mostly dead, and were the men and women that went up those stairs.

I lost friends that day, my wife lost many more, it took us both a while to recover. I returned home that day hours later, my wife thought I was dead because we couldn’t communicate through the entire event. She hugged me tight at that moment, tighter than she ever did. She has never held me like that since, and probably never will again. Those hugs are dedicated only to weddings and near-death experiences, it’s just the way it is. I hope I have both out of the way.

The real shame is that there is still a gaping hole in the ground eight years later, greed and bad politics, as usual, have stepped in the way of progress, a really atrocious statement on the state of N.Y.C politics.

If you weren’t there you will never know, just like I will never know what it’s like to fire a weapon in combat.

Just try and remember and appreciate what is really important, I know I do. God Bless.

In Memory Of John Moran FDNY, Walter Heines FDNY, Charles Heeran, Michael Andrews, James McAlary, Patrick Murphy and Harry our trader, see you on the other side.



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