As you know, last week I had dinner with Sascha Bereksasi and Stefan Kulla in New York City. At midnight, they dropped me off at the 33rd Street PATH Station so I could go home, but they were staying out to try to find a place where they could buy small souvenirs for friends back home in Frankfurt.
They told me about the souvenir they were looking for: a crystal engraved with the New York City Skyline. I asked them, "What's so special about that?" They just liked the way they looked and thought they made good gifts. I asked them to send me a photo of one of these crystals when they got home, so I would know what it looked like.
The crystal is engraved with a stylized version of the New York Skyline, pre-9/11. I have to admit that I am somewhat conflicted when I think about the New York Skyline. I am upset by the tendency of movie and television distributors to edit programming to remove the towers of the World Trade Center from the skyline. But, I'm also upset when I see vendors selling souvenirs depicting the skyline with the World Trade Center still in it. Does this attitude make any sense?
When I think about the fact that New York is the one city in the world that is identifiable by its skyline, I think it's good that they haven't changed the design of souvenirs like this. A lot of people want to remember the World Trade Center as it was, at least until The Freedom Tower is completed in 2009. I don't think that The Freedom Tower will "replace" the towers of the World Trade Center, but it will be a striking addition to the New York Skyline in its own right.
I think New York needs a new addition to its skyline. It will be part of the memorial to the 9/11 victims, but I hope that it will symbolize the future of New York City, rather than the past.