90 West Street New York -- The Little Building That Never Bowed To Terrorists

Caroline Trentini In The ‘New New York’ By Mikael Jansson For Vogue US February 2015

Seeing model Caroline Trentini photographed by Mikael Jansson in ‘New New York’ for the February 2015 issue of Vogue US left a deep impression on me. The editorial is shot from Vogue’s new offices at 1 World Trade Center.

The migration of about 3,400 Condé Nast editors, writers and ad executives to new offices at 1 World Trade Center signalled not only the healing of a major wound at the World Trade Center site. The New York Times writes that:

“Condé Nast’s arrival puts a stiletto in the heart of the outdated notion that Lower Manhattan is stuffy and gray,” saidJessica Lappin, president of the Downtown Alliance, a local business organization. “They will accelerate the transformation that’s well underway and create additional demand-side pressure for more cool restaurants, art galleries and bars.”

The emotional response was very real for me — seeing the building at Caroline’s elbow — the little building that survived the September 11 blast and my home for several years. This picture of 90 West Street in New York comes as marchers in Paris united against radical Islam’s attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris and Queen Rania addressed yesterday the Government Summit in Dubai. Queen Rania stressed the need for other countries in the region to support Jordan in its role of leader in the new attacks against ISIS in Syria and surrounding regions. 

90 West Street — The Little Building That Could

I moved to 90 West Street from Jersey City in 2005, wanting to live close to the rebirth of the World Trade Center Area. The events of September 11 had affected me deeply, standing at a municipal building in Jersey City watching the Towers fell. Three of the terrorists lived a few blocks from me, although my beautiful loft was an oasis of its own and I didn’t interact a lot with my community.

My heart was very heavy on September 11, 2001 as I gasped at what was happening. Many people cheered when the World Trade Center towers fell.  They weren’t terrorists — at least I doubt it — but the moment was one of understanding just how complex life had become in America. This complexity has only become more difficult in America and globally in the last decade and a half.

Still, 90 West Street was always a symbol to me of the little building that stood when the towers fell. Its standards of architectural construction excellence prevented fire from sweeping its floors unlike the more modern World Trade Center, with no significant air passages — basically dead space — between its floors. The financial value of that dead space had grown far too significant in the business of Manhattan real estate.

My life at 90 West Street involved still more tragedy with the August 19, 2007 fire that broke out at the Deutsche Bank building next door, closed after the attack and under renovation. The names of two more New York City firefighters Robert Beddia and Joseph Graffagnino were added to the list of those who died at the World Trade Center site. 

Hopefully, Anne of Carversville carries in its heart and soul the spirit of 90 West Street. In telling women’s stories from fashion to flogging, AOC tries to make sense of women’s lives at home in America and around the world.

In returning from my sabbatical in early September 2014, I felt AOC was no longer up to the standards of 90 West Street. We had too many mediocre fashion stories and not enough connection to women’s lives internationally. I’ve worked hard to regain that voice — the one from 2009-2011. Looking at the state of our world, it seems that my decision to illuminate the voices of Smart Sensuality women like Queen Rania, Angelina Jolie, Shakira and all of our original muses came not a minute too soon. 

It’s good to be back in actionl. ~ Anne