What Up Yo…
In May of 2001, the first Spider-Man film was a year from coming out and Columbia/Sony Pictures released a fantastic teaser for the film.
Opening with a bank heist, the robbers escape by helicopter with money in tow.
The getaway is clean. They think they have made it, free and clear, as they race through the concrete jungle of Manhattan’s skyscrapers in the chopper on their way towards freedom until…
The chopper stops mid-flight, then begins flying backwards somehow…back into the city they have just escaped from.
They are in a state of compete panic. The money they stole is flying out of the out of control helicopter down to the streets.
They are no longer in control.
Then the chopper stops suddenly.
The camera goes tight on the blades, they are unable to rotate, they instead jerk forward a bit and repeatedly only to go back to the stop position as they are all suspended in mid-air.
The camera backs out, we see they are caught in a massive spiderweb.
The camera pulls back further to reveal that the spiders-web is thick, like electrical cable. They are sitting in the dead center of a spider web.
The camera backs up again, one final time, to reveal to us that this web is secured in the center of the twin towers.
The World Trade Center in downtown New York City.
And then a few months later, in September, that fucking day.
Suddenly, because of the trauma it might induce, film companies began pulling images of the Twin Towers out of film adverts, trailers, The Sopranos Opening Credits and the films themselves.
Even though I knew, as cynical as this may sound, that many executives in the industry were making plans for the film version of that horrible day immediately.
After Cameron showed us all how much money people are willing to spend to watch a big budget cinematic version of the tragedy when enough time had passed,
Imagining how Cameron had pitched Titanic to the studio as a love story:
“We throw a massive love story in the center of the film, cut between the love story and the ship sinking. One of the lovers has to die. We get that DICaprio kid as the lead, woman love this kid after “Romeo + Juliet…”
I think as soon as the attacks were being broadcasted live across the world, some of the suits were watching in horror, some…
Some were salivating.
I could feel Hollywood not looking at this like us New York were,
I’m speculating here, and i’m not talking about the industry talent…
I’m talking about the corporations that run the film industry:
But I imagine the discussions the day of the attacks in their lavish Hollywood offices to sound something like:
“Ok Perry…How long before we can do this film?”
“I’ve done the numbers Mr. Spielberg, we are looking at a 15 to 20 year window before it’s safe. Projections indicate if we do this right, we clear 3 to 5 billion worldwide easily in the films theatrical release.”
Having discussions about that day in and around New York are still difficult I’ve noticed.
It was such a massive event that I knew the day that it happened that most people would know somebody directly affected by this or would be directly affected by this because we live here.
Our families commute to work in the city.
And our friends and our friends families commute to work in the city.
I was very aware that this would directly affect all the people around me in a horrible way one way or another.
There was so much love in and around New York City that day and in the weeks that followed.
Those there that day, in the towers, helped each other without hesitation.
They walked home over the Brooklyn Bridge together.
No one pushed and shoved.
People took the ferries across the river to get to safety and to their families as soon as possible.
The “rage” people assume are in all New Yorkers was nowhere to be found.
Only love. Concern. Compassion.
You have to remember that cell phones were still relatively new to our culture.
There was no iPhone yet.
No text messaging. could not make phone calls in New York, in the Five Burroughs or in the tri-state area.
Phone calls wouldn’t go through, cell phone calls wouldn’t go through. If you could get a phone call through to the people you love, if they could get through to you, the call would drop mid-conversation.
The switchboards couldn’t handle the phone & cell traffic.
And you didn’t know if it was going to happen again for the next few days. Weeks.
Something that immense, the vast amount of souls lost, the firefighters and police who stormed the towers and sacrificed their lives for tons of people.
The people who’s lives altered radically in a matter of 45 mins.
One of the people I knew was a friend I met through the bar I worked at, The Dodger in Huntington, Strong Island.
At 7am on September 11, 2001…he and his wife had a son and a daughter. He has his brother and his brothers family. And they were all very close.
At 9 AM on September 11, 2001. he lost his brother, his brothers wife and became parents to his brothers kids. After seeing and talking to him every week five times a week I didn’t see him for two years after that day.
It wasn’t about the New York City skyline changing.
Manhattan island is a very small island.
It’s 12 miles long by 2 1/2 miles wide.
However it houses 8.5 million people.
That’s not counting the hundreds of thousands if not millions of people that commute there for work every day from New Jersey, Long Island, Connecticut, upstate New York and elsewhere.
We all either commuted there, were married to commuters, had children who commuted, parents, siblings, grandchildren…family. Friends.
It’s actually a very large and tight community.
I was driving around on with my friend John on September 12, 2001…everyone was driving slow.
No horns honked.
People letting people pass each other on the road.
Everywhere you went, raw compassion for each other. All our friends were asking each other:
“Are you ok? Is everyone ok?”
We didn’t know what the number of people killed was yet. We wouldn’t know the extent of the damage and the massive amount of casualties for weeks.
Those buildings could potentially hold 100,000 people each.
I was terrified the number of the dead would be in hundreds of thousands.
In the end, because of the hour of day, the quick response of the New York City fire departments and New York City police departments…
Because everybody turned and help the person to the right and left of them…
We lost 2% of that number that day.
2, 996 people.
Then they began to search, and they searched for fucking weeks, praying we would find people.
We found 20 people.
The fires from the buildings burned for 99 days.
We had police departments and fire departments from Boston, New Jersey…anywhere that people could come from to help.
When ever that day is mentioned now, in 2016, people still bow their heads here.
It’s a day of horror.
Sony and Columbia Pictures did pay that day respect. And “The Next Titanic” has not come out yet…but it will…mark my words.
The original one-sheet for Spider-Man featured the twin towers in the poster:
As quickly as the events unfolded that day, the trailer was pulled and the key-art for the film was changed:
Finding the trailer online after that was impossible.
But now, 15 years later, it’s not as difficult to locate.
I wanted to share it incase you never saw it.
“Long live the World Trade”
To the lost.
To the fallen.
We Will Never Forget.