Rex Sorgatz
Sep 11, 2014 · 15 min read
The view out my apartment window, looking down over Ground Zero, in November 2006.

Thirteen years after 9/11, the World Trade Center
is undergoing a massive transformation.
What has life been like above the site?

Given the option, I would not have chosen to live above The Hole.

“That’s sad.”

It was sad. But tragedy often pairs with farce, and here it was, 35 floors in the sky: a wide-angle view of the world’s most kinetic city, but directly below, an inert plat of earth.

World Trade

“A hundred times have I thought New York
is a catastrophe, and fifty times:
It is a beautiful catastrophe.”

― Le Corbusier

The view out my window in August 2014.
A comparison of the World Trade Center grid, before and after 9/11.

Fantasy Land

“New York will be a great place, if they ever finish it.”
— O. Henry

The real estate across the street from me.


The fonts may change, but the fantasy stays the same.

One World Trade, aka “The Freedom Tower,” rises 1,776 feet (408 of which is the spire), which stacks up to 104 stories.

Dream City

“Memory’s images, once they are fixed in words, are erased.”
― Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

More construction signage around the neighborhood. “Le District” will be like Eataly but with French groceries supplanting Italian.
Battery Park City was appended to lower Manhattan in the early ’70s, using the earth from the original Twin Towers site.

The Looking Glass

“To be a tourist is to escape accountability.”
Don DeLillo, The Names

Liber-Tees, Memorial Tees, and many other gift shops compete for tourist attention.
The victims’ names run along the perimeter of Reflecting Absence. The trapezoidal 9/11 Museum and WTC1 are in the background.
Reflecting Absence at night.
WTC4 reflects the
spire of WTC1.
The 9/11 REMEMBER tray, available in the 9/11 Museum Gift Store.


“At home, he feels like a tourist.”
— Gang of Four

Towers of Freedom

“What is a city if not a space of maximum license?”
Rem Koolhaas

BASE Jumpers leap from the Freedom Tower. (The first jump happens at 2:30; a second, at 2:50.)
If Ferguson had an excessive display of militarized policing, lower Manhattan has an excessive display of militarized surveillance. These NYPD surveillance “SkyWatch” cranes all over.

you are being watched, right now, sir

The ultimate paradox is that this conversation happened at the base of the Freedom Tower.

Rear Window

“Tell me exactly what you saw, and what you think it means.”
― Grace Kelly to James Stewart, Rear Window

This scene from the 25th Hour has the same view as my apartment. (The film’s opening title sequence also has stark images of this post-9/11 scene.)

The Message

A Pandaemonium Revolver Collection. Season 2 stars @anildash @alanalevinson @ftrain @hipstercrite @itsthebrandi @jamielaurenkeiles @vijithassar @yungrama @zeynep. Season 1 available on DVD shortly.

Thanks to Kate Lee, Joanne McNeil, Kendra Vaculin, and Quinn Norton.

Rex Sorgatz

Written by

creative technologist, author, entrepreneur, designer, consultant

The Message

A Pandaemonium Revolver Collection. Season 2 stars @anildash @alanalevinson @ftrain @hipstercrite @itsthebrandi @jamielaurenkeiles @vijithassar @yungrama @zeynep. Season 1 available on DVD shortly.