Reelin’ in the Years

Back in ’89 I was a young, a bit introspective, college student attending School of Visual Arts in New York City, majoring in Illustration.

My Sony Walkman, my reference hifi system at the time and one of the sole items that got me through long nights working on school projects, was never too far away on my desk or backpack.  Despite deteriorating foam covered headphone and cassette door that never fully closed, it served me well.  Listening to it was a reprieve from the outside world, while I commuted daily between Long Island and NYC on the LIRR.  I grew up, btw, in Baldwin, NY, in the town of Hempstead.

In fact, nostalgia I guess, I sometimes long for those simpler days of analog reels of cassette tapes, many I mixed myself while listening to the various cool radio stations in NY (do any exist anymore?).  Student’s budget (or lack there of), I couldn’t afford many records or CD’s, so I spent a lot of time recording tunes from the radio.  What I owned was on my back, never in need or want of more.

Morning class had just ended (9-12am, Graphic Design) and I had plenty of time before my next class (3 pm, Oil Painting, my favorite).  The entire city as my campus, I decided to enjoy a solo mission, hop the subway to downtown Manhattan, and visit the World Trade Center indoor observation deck.

The WTC was a helpful beacon of sorts, seemingly noticeable from anywhere in the city,  as you strolled the shadowy caverns of Manhattan.  Like the Empire State Building, it helped maintain your bearings.  They also called on me to visit ever since I started commuting, on a regular basis, to Manhattan earlier that year.

These are a few 3 x 5 photos from that day in time, taken with my trusty Minolta SRT100.  I was relieved to find them, as I waded deep through many pre digital era boxes of photos I have accumulated.

Today, especially, I wanted to take a moment to post these bittersweet photos.

2 thoughts on “Reelin’ in the Years

  1. Thanks for the great personal retrospective Matt!

    In ’89 through much of the early 90’s, I worked two blocks away from the WTC and spent many lunch breaks sitting in a bank lobby inside the Twin Towers listening to a fine pianist play wonderful tunes to anyone who wanted to take a seat. He was an employee there and spent much of his own lunch break performing. At the then age of 25, all the folks around me, the roughly dozen or so, all of whom seem like regulars, were two and a half to three times my age. The piano man it seemed was an artist and the piano an artform best remembered and treasured by people who grew up listening to The Romeo of Radio, Russ Columbo, in the heady days of the early Depression: 1929 – 1934.

    So these post 911 days, when I am saddened by pictures of the WTC, I close my eyes, and hear the tinkling of keys, the sweet lulling of music cascading off the high ceilings, and I’m transformed to an age and place of serenity.


  2. Thank you for posting these pictures,as they are in the least “bittersweet” and,to me,frightening for the memories they unavoidably stir up. I’ts a given that every photo ever taken in,at,or near the WTC somehow had it’s fiber altered forever. Not to the eye,but in the heart-an eternal reminder of our fraility. Your desire to share the images takes this blog to another level,while still reminding one of the redemptive power of music. Somedays,it’s all you can hold onto.

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