Saturday, December 09, 2006
Austin Tobin Plaza
My personal memories of the original World Trade Center's plaza are hazy to nonexistent. I remember seeing the towers from a distance many times, but up close, all I can remember is riding an escalator up from the PATH train to the shopping concourse, and then an even fuzzier recollection of actually staring up from the street level, if not the plaza itself -- or I could be wrong, maybe it was any number of other skyscrapers. Still, I love pictures that are spooky because of what your mind connects with them. Polis has one such photo, in black and white. It's not scary or anything, but there's something about the wind-blown papers, the relative emptiness and what we know would come that adds up to a mildly chilling snapshot. What's even weirder about this photo is that it doesn't seem like one most people would take -- the composition isn't stunning, there's not much of a focal point. To me, it becomes truly beautiful only in retrospect, in the way that so many hum-drum pictures of a lost time or civilization -- the microcosm that was the WTC, say -- become things worth viewing and admiring for their innocence or perhaps obliviousness.