Friday Night Lights

Publisher’s note: The following article is the sole opinion of Chuck Taylor and not of the Brooklyn Heights Blog, its publisher or Brooklyn Bugle Media. To be completely transparent, this post is NOT a “BHB Editorial” and I was as shocked as you when I read Chuck’s post. Truth is I can’t be online 24/7 and some contributors are permitted to publish live without my or Claude’s approval. We have worked very hard to build this blog and your respect along with it for the last 6 years. This post is in no way indicative of a “new” editorial direction and we apologize for any offense taken. I have modified the headline of this post since its original publication.

Eleven years after the gruesome events that took place September 11, 2001, it appears we’re going to continue to acknowledge 9/11 until the day we all die. This is perhaps the one occasion where I’d love to read nothing but nonsense about Justin Bieber’s hair. Along with the perpetual peeling off of the scab from a terrible event more than a decade ago, the endless political grandstanding, and the fact that we have yet to see One World Trade near completion… September 11 is a day I dread.

I was surprised Friday night as I walked along the Promenade to find this year’s “tribute” already in place, with the “Twin Tower” beams of light (albeit beautiful) beckoning the hemisphere… again. What happened to NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s vow a year ago that after 10 years, it was time to let go of so many tirades to bring it all back into such clear focus over and over?

Like many of us in Brooklyn Heights, I saw the Twin Towers fall first-hand, from the rooftop of my apartment building. I am weary of watching them collapse one more time under the guise of “news” or “special reports” that bombard TV, print and the Web. My belief: It’s time to acknowledge quietly, privately.

For the tenth anniversary in 2011, in addition to the presence of Presidents Barack Obama and George Bush, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, as well as Bloomberg, there were 40-plus TV specials, complete with “investigations” of what 10-year-old children of 9/11 remembered (nothing) and profiles of the “unborn of 9/11,” which have nothing to do with the actual events of the day… all in an attempt to score rating$ and boost sensationalism.

Please, might we let the dead rest in peace—along with the rest of New York? Until we treat September 11 as a personal remembrance, sans the headlines and replays of photographs and video clips, America—and more so, New York—is forced to relive the past over and again. It is time to move on.

(Photos: Chuck Taylor)

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  • ABC

    I wish we could skip it all EXCEPT the lights. I saw them tonight and thought, has there ever been a memorial that felt so right to so many? It was done quickly and simply and worked on every level. Still does.

  • Neighbor Hood

    I think you’re confusing, what in my opinion, is the best memorial we’ll ever have (the lights) with the political & media exploitation, which often has been despicable (remember the Bush/Giuliani political fortunes made at the expense of the the fallen).
    One night (or a few while they test the lights as they have done every year just prior to the 11th) seems like a minor diversion from our usual worship of pop culture and trivia.

  • Knight

    I agree with ABC. The constant rehashing of the events of 9/11 in the media will never be more appropriate or more widely accepted than the simple, tasteful memorial that the lights provide.

  • hortense

    Agree with everyone that the lights are really tasteful and simple memorial.

    But the rest of the media stuff is unwatchable. And guess what, you don’t have to watch it.

    First of all 11 years isn’t that long in the scheme of the event. Most of those who witnessed it are still around and will be for years.

    My memory when I see those lights were of how New York can come together in a crisis. Similar to the black outs. And hopefully a template for the zombie apocalypse.

    The immediate days after were filled with acts of human kindess and support across the city. Then Bush et al screwed it up and that’s where I hope to “forget”, but we’ll be paying those bills for a long time.

  • AEB

    Yes to the lights,no to all bathos.

  • Mr. Crusty

    I don’t know how anyone can object to the twin beams of light reminding us of the horrible tragedy that devastated this great city not that very long ago.

    I doubt that many family members of those that died that morning would view this simple rememberence as “the peeling of a scab”. I quite frankly found this post distasteful.

  • Sheila

    I always wondered why we never kept the lights as a memorial to all the world, as they do in Europe. They are as beautiful as the Chryler bldg, and be part of the NYC skyline. But it’s too expensive, they say.

  • C.

    “I think you’re confusing, what in my opinion, is the best memorial we’ll ever have (the lights) with the political & media exploitation”. This.

    Agree with Crusty. This post is poorly worded, insensitive and distasteful. This poster might wanna sit the next few plays out. In the title alone, “…Just Won’t Let Go” ?? Wow.

  • Steve Adams

    Are you kidding! Let tbe lights shine as a reminder of what was lost but also of rebirth and a tribute to all who died, served and live! This editorial is pure stupidity- rethink what you wrote-

    Columbia Heights resident-

  • WillowSt.Neighbor

    Mr. Crusty,
    I SO totally agree with you. My husband and I were on the Promenade early last night and were so surprised to see the beams of light. We were awed by it. As a matter of fact, we thought they were awesome.
    In 2003 we relocated to RI for a job. My husband worked for a large bank and on the second anniversary of 9/11 he went to work wearing his American flag pin and when he came home that evening he was visibly upset. No one, and I mean not one single person acknowledged that it was the 9/11 anniversary. We were shocked.
    We wondered if the people in that town lived in the same country as we did. We lived there for almost two years and the day we moved to come to Brooklyn was one of the happiest days of our lives.
    Still shocked at what happened in RI but even more shocked at this post.

  • Nancy

    Agree with AEB.
    And, the point of an editorial is a point of view. It’s not supposed to be agreed upon by all.

  • Livingston

    As someone who actually experienced 9/11 first-hand (I was in the thick of it the whole morning and happy to be here today), I really don’t need television shows and ceremonies to remind me of that terrible morning and how quickly life can be turned into utter chaos. But I do appreciate the lights memorial. There is a distinct difference between acknowledging what happened (and our losses) and feeding the bathos (so aptly put by AEB). It’s important to move-on, but not forget. Too much happened that day, too much changed.

  • Kay

    I am thankful that not everyone agrees with this distasteful article. The writer could have made his point (which was only one, meager point, without all the nastiness of his tone. I for one don’t like to listen to a crying baby and yet that’s exactly what this supposed adult sounded like with his pathetic complaint. It left such a bad taste in my mind that I will not open this blog with much enthusiasm in the future if I do at all.

  • Neighbor Hood

    @Kay.@MrCrusty&@everyone else…totally agree with the universal praise for the Tribute in Light. When I read his comments last night, I was stunned, but given past comments I figured Mr Taylor’s editorial was another example of the new direction this blog has taken of purposefully choosing divisive topics in an obvious effort to bolster hits/comments for no other purpose than increasing traffic on the site. Fine. If that’s the way the editors of the BHB want to take the neighborhood blog it’s their right (sad as it is), but this was hands down the most offensive, tasteless, shallow editorial comment ever posted. On a positive note, it’s reassuring to see the unanimous disagreement of our neighbors, with the “editor”.

  • Bagley

    I wanted to express support for Mr. Taylor’s sentiment. Although I find the tribute beautiful, every year when I see the lights, I feel a sudden troubling jolt. And, if the promise had been to only shine them for ten years, I can completely understand why it might be upsetting to see them. It’s a gorgeous tribute, but also a reminder of other broken promises regarding the rebuilding, health care, etc. I can sympathize with Mr. Taylor’s anger, and hope folks can be a little more understanding towards those who feel the same way.

    Let’s try to be nice to one another this week, okay? :)

  • A Neighbor

    Hey, Neighbor Hood, lighten up. I too like the lights — and wish that they and Maya Lin had taught us something about designing effective memorials — but I equally support the right of Mr. Taylor — or any other thoughtful person — to express a different opinion.

  • Neighbor Hood

    @A Neighbor- I didn’t say Mr Taylor shouldn’t be able to say whatever he wants. In turn the readers of the blog should be able to say how they feel about his editorial opinions and whether or not they add or diminish to the BHB’s value. Isn’t that kinda the way this is supposed to work?
    And “lighten up”? Sorry, if I don’t find the anniversary of 9/11 or a dismissive criticism of it remembrance, a subject for light-heartedness.

  • Park Sloper

    I agree about the political/media overkill but beg to differ on the lights. There’s something about their silent tribute that gets me every time. As others have said, they provide a simple, silent almost ethereal memorial. I can see them from my bedroom window and each September 11th, I look at them before I go to sleep and pray for those who were lost and their families. It’s an enormously comforting feeling to me, one that I can’t explain very well. Perhaps it’s just a more comforting memory than what we all really saw that day.

  • bornhere

    September 11 is, for me, a day like no other. Although I can no longer bear to listen to the reading of names, waiting for two that especially touch my soul, I do look forward to seeing the lights — they are one of the few things related to that day in 2001 that lift me up, as I pray they lift up so many others.

    And I am grateful for Homer’s clarifying position on the post.

  • Dani

    I hope this author is stripped of his ability to publish without approval.

  • north heights res

    As is often the case with this particular writer, whose efforts on behalf of BHB, a site of which I am very fond, are laudable, energetic, and editorially creative, a lack of attention to detail undercuts his credibility and makes me wonder how much thought goes into the writing. Particularly in a post of this sort, I’m surprised that the president’s name is spelled wrong.

  • BH’er

    Especially on such a sensitive topic, expressing such a dramatic opinion is better done behind closed doors

    I was surprised to see the lights last night, but if anything is a silent, peaceful memorial, it’s the twin beams of light – which have nothing to do with media sensationalism

    Let them rest in peace, without the harshness or the sentiments expressed above – those too should be kept private

  • MadeInBrooklyn

    This post really doesn’t belong on BHB…. That’s just my opinion, of course.

  • Bagley

    I’d like to jump back in with support of Mr. Taylor, and the whole site, for this post. I’m glad he posted it as it was written because I do believe that there is still a lot of anger surrounding 9/11, and those who have felt its impacts. (And, as much as I respect that people appreciate the lights, to recognize that they may be upsetting is also important.) If I want to remember for the week before the anniversary, I should be able to do that in my own way. It’s pretty tough when every night the lights are there. I think like most folks in the neighborhood, I really don’t need additional reminders, and the fact it makes other people feel good well I’m not sure if that should be enough…They are beautiful, but why can’t they be there just on the night of the anniversary?

  • Sheila

    We honor the dead of world wars and American wars. Why would it be so terrible to have beams of light to honor our own New Yorkers, firefighters, policemen, even innocents from abroad? I”m sure the author meant no harm, just stating his own feelings.(I’ve seen worse in the nytimes)

  • Neighbor Hood

    @Bagley- to clarify, the light memorial IS technically 1 night. Seems a few folks commenting on that might be new to NYC/Brooklyn as the lights have have ALWAYS been tested for a few hours on a few nights prior to the 11th, when they burn from dusk till dawn-ish. I’m quite surprised that anyone from the area would be unaware of that fact. Also, in response to a comment about them “only supposed to be for 10 years”. That was never stated when they started, but rather a Bloomy comment last year.

  • Ari

    Chuck – I’m with you 100% man. Don’t listen to these haters.

    Let me just say, this needs to also be applied to July 4th, I mean come on, the revolutionary war started 236 years ago, get over it people.

    Memorial day too. I mean, these heroes are dead. Yawn.

    Holocaust remembrance? that was like what, almost 60 years ago.

    Veterans Day? This one too. Those folks who gave their all on behalf of their country, sooooo passe.

    Why are we such a backward thinking nation?

    I don’t even really know why they bothered installing those dumb lights anyway. Feh. What a waste…..

  • Bagley

    @Neighbor Hood- Really? As someone who has seen these lights every year for almost dozen years the week before 9/11 I’m not sure that’s the case. I’m supporting Mr. Taylor b/c I live in this neighborhood and have listened to the anger in my building. He was being nice compared to what I’ve heard. The “lights,” while nice also are just symbols – they don’t connect us, or rebuild or provide health care services for people who can’t stop coughing. There is anger in this community, regardless of the memorial platitudes. And that’s why I’d like us to be nice to each other, as people, this week.

    @Ari- Shame on you for the snark and sarcasm.

  • kipped

    @WillowSt.Neighbor As someone who also lived in RI in 2003, and in 2001, I am shocked by your comment and your experience. You seem to forget that several New Englanders, including Rhode Islanders, were on those planes, and that hundreds of their families and friends were equally as devastated by the events of that day.

    I can’t speak to your husband’s experience at work, but I find it hard to believe that no one acknowledged the anniversary. It’s just not the RI I lived in. Your relief and happiness in moving to Brooklyn makes me feel that you didn’t give RI much of a chance. I lived there 10 years and it’s one of the most beautiful places — full of some of the most beautiful people — I’ve ever known.

  • Patti O’Kane

    The wonderful thing about America is that (normally) folks are not persecuted for the right to free speech. And while I may not share Mr. Taylor sentiments, I support his right to express himself. I do find myself torn about the moving memorial lights though. As a serious birdwatcher I am acutely aware that thousands of migrating birds of over 200 species (including endangered species) can be adversely affected by the lights as they travel the Atlantic flyway by night.The lights can disorient the birds and result in either deadly collapse from exhaustion while circling the lights or simply fatal crashes into buildings located nearby. NYC Audubon Society and the company that manages the lights (see the youtube venture below) have found a wonderful way to team up to try and save lives. It’s an example of volunteer science and a city in solemn remembrance working together to promote the needs of the living!