When I lived in Manhattan I didn’t do any touristy things. I had gotten them out of my system when I was much younger because I had lived only about 1 hour north of the city then. Yet, several times a year I’d make my way up to the observation deck of the WTC. You were so high up, I swear you could see the horizon fall away from you as if you could see the earth begin to curve down. I can still see that image in my mind.
When I was about 12 years old, my uncle John took my mother, my sister, and me to Windows on the World for lunch. The restaurant was still pretty new then and the whole WTC was less than 10 years old. I can remember looking out the window to the streets below and thinking that the New Yorkers walking around looked smaller than ants and the taxis looked smaller than my MatchBox cars.
Many years later when I was well into my trading career, I’d meet my friends in lower Manhattan for lunch or after work for drinks. One day I was going to have a sushi lunch with my childhood friend TJ who had a large brokerage operation on the floor of the NYMEX. The day was very overcast and there were some low-hanging clouds. Not low like fog, but low so that they appeared to blanket Manhattan.
While I was waiting for TJ outside, I looked up the side of the North Tower — which up close was a massive and hulking presence — and it just disappeared into the sky. It was not going to take any sh*t from any low hanging clouds. I couldn’t see the antenna over the edge of the roof and I remembered being in awe of the building, the people who built it, the folks who worked there. And I remember it occurring to me that I was fairly insignificant in the whole scheme of things.