empire state of mind | september 11th

flag of heroes, ground zero

ten years ago i was sitting in my studio recording some tracks when a text message ticked in and told me to go online. i did and what i witnessed was the world spinning out of control - in real time.

three months earlier - june 11th - at about 9am i was standing on the observation deck of the world trade center looking out at the statue of liberty. it was my first visit to new york and my second visit to the states. i remember seeing all the things i'd only heard about or watched in movies and, like countless others coming to the big apple for the first time, walked around with my head tilted backwards and my eyes aiming for the skyskrapers high above. the world trade center, empire state, rockefeller, madison square guarden, brooklyn bridge, moma, coney island, central park, 5th avenue, broadway, times square, washington square park, chelsea, the village...i was going to take them all in.

obviously i didn't get to do all of it on that first trip, even though i spent 10 days there. new york is the kind of city that invites you to hang out. the spirit of the city is an attraction in itself.  in the words of alicia keys: 'if i can make it there, i can make it anywhere...that's what they say'. no need to chase around town. the energy elevates you when you're there.

speaking of elevation - the reason for my visit in the first place was a u2 show in madison square guarden. i think springsteen is the only one who's able to get new yorkers to go completely bonkers apart from u2. the power of that show has stayed with me ever since...people were singing along from the first line of 'beautiful day' and they knew every word by heart. with hands raised the crowd almost drowned out the band. at least that's what it felt like from where i was standing in row 22. by the time the band got to the hallalujah-part of 'walk on', people were crying. that show was off the chart as far as emtions go. i haven't experienced anything like it - only in new york. the line 'but you've got an unquenchable thirst for new york' from the song 'new york' suddenly took on a whole nother meaning for me...

this post is not about me, though. it's about how the world changed that day. it's about the people who lost their lives, the pepole who lost their loved ones and about the people that lose their lives today in a war against ghosts of present, past and future terror. i salute you.

it's hard to write something about a city that almost everyone wants as their hometown without getting personal. in the days following 9/11 - everyone was a new yorker. i know that i still aspire to that - i want to be a new yorker.

in my heart i know i am.

remember, remember...the eleventh of september.

blurred skyline, nyc