Our Altered Skyline

In late October of 2001, I sent a letter to the New York Times in response to a quote by Ken Burns of New York documentary fame that appeared in an article about Manhattan's changed skyline. The letter was not published; I include it here in its entirety.

Although I have great admiration and respect for Ken Burns, I disagree with his assertion (as quoted in “The Manhattan Skyline’s ‘Phantom Limb’”, Times, Oct. 24) regarding the loss of the World Trade Center: “There’s no question that every tall building is diminished by this; the skyline doesn’t look as tall….” The destruction of the World Trade Center has left a void in our hearts and a gash in our skyline, but not at the expense of other skyscrapers. With buildings, as with people, it has made what we have left all the more precious. I work ten blocks from the Empire State Building; I see it now with a newfound awe; it has never looked so tall. And the Chrysler Building never so beautiful, gleaming like a silver rocket in the sunset. Even to the south, though my attention is still drawn to what is no longer there, I am seeing new buildings I’d never noticed before.

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