Remembering 9/14 (that's right, 9/14) with the one and only Mitch Waxman, who muses on "the American way"
Mitch writes: "When I was out wandering around on the 11th in Long Island City, it was somewhat forefront in my mind that I wanted to get an uncommon shot of the Freedom Tower from Newtown Creek, which is why I was wandering around in spots which are normally avoided due to fear of arrest for trespassing. The shot above overlooks the DB Cabin railroad bridge and the mouth of Dutch Kills, incidentally." Note 1 World Trade Center -- once, but no longer, aka the Freedom Tower -- popping out of the Manhattan skyline in the background. [All photos by Mitch; click to enlarge.]
Especially since my Wednesday-Friday-Sunday DWT schedule had me posting on 9/11, I gave a fair amount of thought to some sort of 9/11-themed post, only to decide that, even with a deadline looming, I didn't have anything sufficiently post-worthy to pull it off -- not even in the week when I finally paid a visit to the One World Observatory, occupying the top three floors of the finally-open-for-business One World Trade Center (which somewhere along the way lost its original designation of "Freedom Tower." I gather the point along the way was when the developers figured out that it would be a lot easier to rent out a building called One World Trade Center than one called Freedom Tower.)
So I've had a ball today with the Newtown Pentacle post by my intrepid NYC-gadding pal Mitch Waxman, titled "fear him," which features an assortment of predictably sensational photos he took on a rare Sunday of solo gadding on this 9/11. (He explains that, while he does frequently get to wander solo during the week, more often than not on the weekends he's leading tours or participating in other public events.)
It turns out that on Sunday Mitch was assailed by a quasi-biblical plague:
I was attacked by friggin Grasshoppers while in pursuit of some of the images in today's post. Grasshoppers, as in a biblical plague like swarm of giant bugs flying at me with murder on their minds -- a gang of grasshoppers in friggin Long Island City. . . .For a reason I'll explain in a moment, today Mitch has taken to looking back at what we might call This Day in History, 9/14, sprinkling these remembrances through the post:
It was while I was crouched down to get the shot above [which you can click on to enlarge -- Ed.] that the Grasshoppers grew angry at me, and hundreds of chitin clad bullets suddenly erupted from the brush. While I was flailing about in the buzzing crowd, a cramp developed in my left arm and one of my "spells" came upon me. I must've been laying on the tracks crying for a good half hour, cursing the fact that I hadn't decided on studio photography rather than urban landscape. The horror...
On this day in 326 A.D., Emperor Constantine the Great's mom Helena (Helena was the Augusta Imperatrix) is said to have recovered a piece of the True Cross in Palestine, as well as finding the site of the burning bush and a few other odds and ends. She's a Saint now, the Augusta Imperatrix.So what's got Mitch chronicling all those 9/14s past? Here again let me put together two paragraphs from Mitch's post, which you'll not take him back to 9/11 itself:
In 1741, George Frideric Handel's oratorio "Messiah" was completed on this day.
In 1812, an antichrist named Napoleon marched the Grand Armée of France into the City of Moscow on September 14th.
In 1901, President William McKinley died. The President was shot by an anarchist on Sept. 6th, and it was gangrene that ended up doing him in. McKinley's Vice President, Theodore Roosevelt, succeeded him.
On Sept. 14th in 1959, a Soviet built probe called "Luna 2" crashed into the moon, making it the first man made object to reach the satellite.
In 1715, the French monk Dom Pérignon died on September 14th, and in 1836 - so did Aaron Burr. In the United States, September 14th is "National Eat a Hoagie day."
It occurs, since these shots were largely collected on the 11th of September, that there are certain calendrical markers which loom large in the collective mind. Unfortunately, these events tend to reflect recent history, whereas other moments which were once considered to be of maximum importance are forgotten. September 11th will be remembered for the events of 2001, of course, but what about September the 14th? . . .Yessir, that's the American way. And at the 15-year mark, Mitch's vision seems to be taking shape pretty much on schedule.
Even on the day of the attacks, I mentioned to the little gaggle of refugees who had gathered at my home office in Upper Manhattan that it would be just a matter of two to three decades before Sept. 11th became a legal holiday of national remembrance like Labor Day. Within five to six decades, it would lose its significance, like Labor Day or Veterans Day have. Future generations would figure their vacations around the week between Labor Day and what will likely be called Remembrance Day, and there would be sales at retailers. It’s crass, but that’s the American way.
A new take on a favorite Long Island City-scape of Mitch's: Below grade in the foreground, a Long Island Rail Road train emerges from its tunnel under the East River, while overhead the subway viaduct waits for no.