Today, New York City is in all of our thoughts. New York in my mind will always look and feel like two separate cities. The first is the city of the 1930's and 40's, with beautiful brownstone homes, tenements, news kiosks and coffee shops, the Empire State Building (with King Kong on top) -- all in atmospheric, shadowy, beautiful black and white. The second is the New York of the movie West Side Story. The opening prologue of West Side Story begins with a representation of the New York skyline in vertical pencil lines, highlighted by shifting colors, while the glorious music plays. At the end of the prologue music, the pencil lines are replaced by an unforgettable picture of the city from high above.
The World Trade Center was not yet built when West Side Story was made, so it is not in that picture of the skyline. Now the skyline once again is void of the World Trade Center. I watched this scene from West Side Story this morning, thinking of the same thing we are all remembering today. Once those fabulous buildings did not exist. They stood for a time. Now they exist no longer. For all of the people who suffered and died there on this day 10 years ago, for all of us who watched helplessly, for our country which was changed forever after that day -- I am offering the opening prologue of West Side Story, for the music, for the haunting pencilled representation, and for the final glorious birds-eye view of the skyline. This link will take you to the prologue -- I hope you will go there to experience what I felt this morning, pausing on the picture at the end and thinking of our mortality and our eternal spirit:
God be with us all...