Sunday, October 15, 2017

New York Film Festival Reviews (NYFF)

After seeing over a dozen movies at TIFF last month, I attended four more at the New York Film Festival (NYFF) in its 55th year run by the Film Society at Lincoln Center.  Although it is a few days longer than TIFF, NYFF is much less hectic because all films are held on the Lincoln Center campus and seats are reserved at the main venue, Alice Tully Hall.

I also tend to see films that I missed at TIFF here, since there is always some overlap. This year is no exception as I saw two films I was not able to schedule at TIFF.  Those were the documentary Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Greta Gerwig’s acclaimed directorial debut, Lady Bird.  The two others were Todd Hayne’s Wonderstruck and Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel. (Counting Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, which I saw at TIFF, that makes three festival movies with “wonder” in the title!)

Here are my thoughts as well as award season possibilities.

Wonderstruck (Release Date October 20):  Having already played at Cannes, Venice and Telluride, Wonderstruck came to NYFF with some mixed reviews.  Director Todd Haynes (Carol, Far from Heaven, Velvet Goldmine) adapts Brian Selznick’s 2011 novel about two 12-year-old deaf kids (Rose was born deaf and Ben loses his hearing when he’s struck by lightning), born 50 years apart and their adventures in Manhattan, winding up at the Museum of Natural History, which plays a pivotal role in both stories.

Having not read the novel, I still saw the connection between Rose and Ben coming from a mile away but the pleasure gotten from the film are the parallel narratives, one told as a 1920s silent film and the other a gritty tale of the 1970s. Julianne Moore is arguably the star here, and she shines in two supporting roles in both narratives but the kids take front and center.  Deaf actress Millicent Simmons plays young Rose with an adorable haircut, expressive face and her emotions always authentic.  Oakes Fegley as Ben (who speaks throughout since he just lost his hearing) is also sympathetic in his quest to find where he belongs.  He has a nice chemistry with Jaden Michael, who plays his new hearing friend, Jamie. (Michelle Williams is also briefly in the film in flashbacks as Ben’s late mother)

Overall, I enjoyed Wonderstruck and Haynes brings the story to the screen with a lot sensitivity and creative vision.  It’s a very sweet and sentimental story of two children who don’t let their deafness stop them from seeking adventure or a place to belong.  Haynes seems to want the film to be seen by a deaf audience, with close captions used throughout.  He even used a sign language interpreter during the on-stage introduction to the film! (4/5)

Wonder Wheel (Release date December 1st):  Written and directed by Woody Allen, Wonder Wheel features a tour-de-force performance by Kate Winslet, who plays a neurotic 40ish waitress in 1950s Coney Island.  (Viewers might recall Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine, with her character wistful for the past as she descends into a state of semi-madness – harkening back to Blanche Dubois).

Justin Timberlake channels a younger, handsomer Woody as a 30ish playwrighting student who works as a lifeguard and serves as our slightly unreliable narrator.  He has an affair with the unhappily married Ginny while desiring her twenty-something stepdaughter, Carolina (a luminous Juno Temple) who is on the run from her abusive mobster ex-husband and the mob. Rounding out the cast are a very good Jim Belushi as Ginny’s blustery husband and Jack Gore as her pyromaniac-in- training son from a previous marriage.

Although there are some humorous moments in the script, it is not a typical Woody Allen comedy and plays out as a tragedy.  Timberlake’s character loves Eugene O’Neill and characters with tragic flaws and the film is written and directed almost like an O’Neill play.

As for Oscar chances, I think Winslet may snag a nod for Best Actress as she captures Ginny’s neuroses, passion and roughness into a vividly memorable role.  Allen may get direction and screenplay as well. (4/5)

Lady Bird (Release Date November 3rd): Greta Gerwig’s hilarious and touching directorial debut is not about the former First Lady, but a coming of age story of a Sacramento teen at a Catholic high school. Saiorse Ronan plays Christine aka “Lady Bird” who is navigating her senior year of high school in the early aughts.  Ronan perfectly channels a younger Gerwig in the role and Laurie Metcalf is excellent as her prickly mother.

The supporting cast is excellent with Tracy Letts as her loving, recently laid off dad, Lois Smith as one of the school’s nuns, Beanie Feldstein as her BFF, and Timothee Chalamet and Lucas Hedges as her love interests.  The central tension is Lady Bird’s wish to go to college in NYC and the financial strain this desire puts on her parents.

I thoroughly enjoyed Lady Bird and I hope it gets showered with nominations.  It would be nice to see Gerwig get a directing and screenplay nod along with Ronan and Metcalf for their acting. (4.5/5)

Boom For Real, the Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat (Release date TBD):  Brooklyn born artist Jean-Michel Basquiat has been the subject of multiple films and documentaries since his death from a heroin overdose in 1988 at the young age of 27.  Sara Driver’s Boom For Real covers his formative years of 1979-1981 as a teenage artist making his mark on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  Many of his peers and friends were interviewed such as Fab Five Freddy, Jim Jarmusch, Alexis Adler, Patricia Field and many more.

Basquiat hovers over the film in a ghost like manner, which was intentional, according to Driver in the post screening Q&A.  We barely hear him speak (mostly b/c he rarely did any video interviews) but instead see films of him creating graffiti or photographs of him creating art or poetry.  Driver also spends time setting the stage of what life was like for young artists in the late 70s/early 80s NYC, which was going through an economic transformation.  NYC is just as much as a star in this documentary as Basquiat, both relentlessly creating art and eventually commerce. (4/5) 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Saturday Night Live turns 42 today - Happy birthday to SNL

"Talk about a live show! It's nice to see you, welcome, and thanks for joining us -- live. I’m kinda glad that we’re on at night so that we’re not competing with all the football and baseball games. So many man … Football represents something we are. We are Europe Junior....What was the Europe Game?.... Let's take their land away from them...Football is a ground acquisition game... " ~~ George Carlin, (5/12/37 – 6/22/08) Comedy Icon, activist, actor, and author. Quote from opening line of George Carlin where he hosted the first “Saturday Night Live,” broadcast 10/11/1975. Photo SNL information courtesy of; Video below embedded from hulu; SNL 1st Season, 1st Episode; Video George Carlin opening skit,; SNL monologue script at
First SNL broadcast, 10/11/75, featuring first host, George Carlin video

Happy 42nd  SNL! Saturday Night Live may be over the hill  but this skit-driven variety show is still going strong 42 years later making live audiences and TV viewers laugh hard as ever. American late-night live TV sketch comedy/variety, SNL, premiered 42 years ago (10/11/75) on NBC.

Originally called "Saturday Night, the opening sketch roughly 5 minutes begins with a special celebrity guest host performing and ends with the signature catchphrase, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!

Wolverines segment with John Belushi, aired 10/11/1975 

Created by Lorne Michaels and developed by Dick Eberson, SNL is one of the longest-running network television programs in the United States. The show is broadcast from Studio 8H at NBC's headquarters in the Comcast Building.

In 1977 the show changed its name to Saturday Night Live (apparently there was a name conflict "Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell" which debuted on ABC 9/20/75, was cancelled two months later).

Performed live in front of a studio audience, SNL immediately established a reputation for being cutting-edge and unpredictable. It became a vehicle for launching the careers of some of the most successful comedians in the United States.

Throughout four decades on air, Saturday Night Live has received a number of awards, including 36 Primetime Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, and three Writers Guild of America Awards. In 2000, it was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

It was ranked tenth in TV Guide‍‍ '​‍s "50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time" list, and in 2007 it was listed as one of Time magazine's "100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME". As of 2012, it has received 156 Emmy nominations, the most received by any TV show. The live aspect of the show has resulted in several controversies and acts of censorship, with mistakes and intentional acts of sabotage by performers as well as guests.

▲   First season of SNL,
▲   Tickets to see SNL,
▲   SNL Season 1, Episode 1,
▲   SNL on Wikipedia,
▲   SCHILLER'S REEL, "Don't Look Back In Anger" skit with John Belushi,
▲   28 'SNL' catchphrases that have kept us laughing for 40 years, Mashable,
▲   The 35 best SNL Skits of All Time, HuffPost,
▲   The Killer Bees: Home Invasion, NBC,
▲   SNL 1st Season, 1st Episode, George Carlin Monologue on NBC video link at;

Please visit this blog frequently and share this with your social media and professional network. Thanks.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Happy 67th BDay Peanuts: Did you know that Americas most beloved, pop culture comic strip turns 67 today? October 2, 1950

“My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I'm happy. I can't figure it out. What am I doing right?” ~~   Charles M. Schulz,   “Sparky, most influential “American cartoonist, “Peanuts” creator, Charlie Brown protagonist, based on his life as a child, 10/2/1950.

Photo courtesy of
Sixty-seven years ago today, "Peanuts," known by many as the most influential popular culture comic strip, premiered on October 2, 1950 in nine newspapers: 

The Washington Post,
The Chicago Tribune,
The Minneapolis Tribune,
The Allentown Call-Chronicle,
The Bethlehem Globe-Times,
The Denver Post,
The Seattle Times,
The New York World-Telegram & Sun,
and The Boston Globe.

Trials, tribulations and life lessons of 8-year-old Charlie Brown with subtle racial and gender equality issues, and dashes of politics were celebrated throughout this cherished, American comic series which appeared in print for over five decades, and quickly finding the way to TV, Theater, Film and later on, Digital.

Originally a daily comic strip -- the first strip was only four panels long.

Charlie Brown is shown walking by two other friends, Shermy and Patty. Shermy greets Charlie Brown as he walks by, but then tells Patty how he “hates him.”
Photo of first comic strip above, courtesy of

This marked the ultimate precedent -- the first time ever (1950s) where comic strips depicted a child expressing hatred for others.

Another early famous character in the strip, Snoopy, Charlie Brown's pet dog with uncanny mind abilities, first appeared in the third strip, which ran on October 4.

The first Peanut Sunday strip appeared January 6, 1952, in the half-page format.

Photos courtesy of

The final daily original Peanuts comic strip was published on January 3, 2000.

The last Peanuts strip to run in papers was on February 13, 2000, the day following Schulz's passing.

The strip began with Charlie Brown answering the phone with someone on the end presumably asking for Snoopy.

Charlie Brown was the only character to appear in both the first strip in 1950 and the last in 2000.

A Charlie Brown Christmas is the first prime-time animated TV special based upon the comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. It was produced and directed by former Warner Bros. and UPA animator Bill Melendez, who also supplied the voice for the character of Snoopy.
Initially sponsored by Coca-Cola, the special debuted on CBS in 1965, and has been aired in the USA during the Christmas season every year since -- on CBS through 2000, and on ABC since 2001.

The story touches on the over-commercialization and secularism of Christmas, and serves to remind viewers of the true meaning of Christmas (the birth of Jesus Christ).

Today the animated Christmas special is shown at least twice during the weeks leading up to Christmas. The special has been honored with both an Emmy and Peabody Award. 

Photos courtesy of 
▲   Peanuts Official Web Site
▲   Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz Museum, History of Peanuts,
▲   Charlie Brown on Wikipedia 

This is an updated repost of previous Charlie Brown celebratory posts. Please visit this blog frequently and share this with your social media and professional network. Thanks.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Happy 19th birthday Google - September 27, 2017

From breathing out and breathing in to playing solitaire, Google celebrates 19th with 19 great games from doodles past! Happy birthday to Google :) may all your wishes come true :) Enjoy google's doodle by visiting 19th Google Birthday doodle or copy/paste this link

Monday, September 18, 2017

My TIFF 2017 Reviews

Another Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is in the record books, having spent 7 days watching a total of 14 movies (and one In Conversation with Gael Garcia Bernal).  I did miss one film (the sole documentary I was able to schedule – Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami) due to a flight delay.

Below, in the order I viewed them, are my quick thoughts, Oscar season potential and rating of each film on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the best).  You’ll notice that I saw many films about women and several directed by them, which showed TIFF’s commitment to featuring women’s vision and voices at the festival. 

I, Tonya – This Craig Gillespie directed biopic/satire about Tonya Harding exceeded my expectations.  Margot Robbie was very convincing (and somewhat sympathetic) as the damaged Olympian who deals with a complex relationship with her tough love mother (a scene stealing Allison Janney), her abusive first love and husband, Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) and her passion for figure skating.  It’s also hysterically funny in some scenes as well as very sad.  Robbie did some of her own skating, but clearly they digitally placed her head onto Tonya’s body or a skating double for harder moves like jumps and spins.  In terms of Oscar buzz, Robbie and Janney may get nominations for their strong performances. (4/5)

Molly’s Game – This film is immensely entertaining, and a win for Aaron Sorkin as a director and Jessica Chastain in the title role.  Chastain plays Molly Bloom who ran an underground poker game in NY and LA and winds up in trouble with the FBI.  She does very well with Sorkin’s fast paced dialogue and makes the audience root for Molly.  Idris Elba is also very good as her lawyer as well as Kevin Costner in a smaller role as her psychologist dad.  My only critique is that it could be edited a bit.  Chastain may get nominated for lead actress and Sorkin for the script. (4/5)

The Children Act – Another strong female lead in this British import, starring Emma Thompson as a no nonsense family court judge whose life is turned upside down when she gets involved in a case regarding a 17 year old Jehovah’s witness (Fionn Whitehead) who refuses a live saving blood transfusion.  Thompson is riveting in the role as well as Whitehead whose life she saves and the impact that has on both of them.  The weaker part of the film involves a subplot about her husband (Stanley Tucci) wanting to have an affair but it doesn’t distract from the overall level of the production.  Thompson may nab a nomination, but the field is crowded already. (3.5/5)

The Current War – This was a disappointment, despite a strong cast including Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison, Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse, Nicholas Hoult as Nikola Tesla and Katherine Waterston as Mrs. Westinghouse.  Pardon the pun, but a film about the race to bring electricity to the masses should be more electric.  I wasn’t that invested in Edison and cared more about Westinghouse.  The film is visually stunning but the characters weren’t as compelling nor was the story.  The audience response was pretty tepid and producer Harvey Weinstein didn’t look too happy at the premiere. Oscar chances are pretty slim, IMO. (3/5)

Update 10/10/17: With all of the news about Harvey Weinstein coming out now about his decades long sexual harassment,  I have to wonder if he knew a month ago that all of this would be coming out, since he looked terrible at the premiere.  He has since taken his name off the film as a producer.  Since more and more victims and Hollywood in general is coming out against his behavior, I have to wonder if his career is toast.  It's very clear that this kind of behavior is unacceptable and things need to change.

Mary Shelley – Director Haifa Al-Mansour (who comes from Saudi Arabia) lends her sensitive vision to the author’s love story with her eventual husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (the impossibly pretty Douglas Booth). She is most effective in documenting the inspiration for Frankenstein, which was published anonymously at 18. Elle Fanning does a convincing job as Mary and for the most part the movie succeeds as a period piece.  However, I didn’t care for Tom Sturridge’s performance as a cruel Lord Byron which made him look more like a 1970s rock star (complete with eyeliner, fluid sexuality and an ego to match) than an early 19th century poet.  Still, the story of finding her voice in her writing is inspiring for a lot of young women, who I hope see the film.  I don’t see this getting much Oscar buzz but you never know.  (3.5/5)

Submergence – I really didn’t know what to make of Wim Wender’s love story between an oceanographer (Alicia Vikander) and a water engineer/British spy (James McAcoy).  Told mostly in flashbacks, it’s beautifully shot in Normandy, France and they are both compelling to watch as two intellectuals fall in love.  Then they get separated since he’s going on a mission in North Africa and she’s going on a deep dive to prove that life thrives miles down in the ocean.  He’s captured and tortured by terrorists (while thinking of her) and she spends a lot of time checking her phone, wondering why he’s ghosted her.   Not sure of any Oscar contention here. (3/5)

Woman Walks Ahead – The second Jessica Chastain film I saw here was the weaker of the two. Beautifully shot by director Susanna White and another good performance by Chastain as a Catherine Weldon, a merry widow who travels from NY to Standing Rock in the late 1880s to paint Sitting Bull’s portrait.  She and Sitting Bull (native Canadian actor Michael Greyeyes) develop a strong bond while the townspeople and the US Army (led by Sam Rockwell) try to discourage her from helping the Lakota people, with whom they want to sign a treaty to give up most of their land.  While sensitively acted and shot, the story is a bit too romanticized and takes too many liberties with the real story.  (3.5/5)

Downsizing – From what I’ve read, Alexander Payne’s fable about a man who literally shrinks his life was a polarizing entry at the festival.  I was on the side that really enjoyed it, mostly because it was so funny and I enjoyed the performances by Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz and breakout star Hong Chau.  Where the film may not gel is that it has a hard time deciding what it is – a character study, unexpected love story, sci-fi climate change morality tale or a satire on consumerism.  It might do well on the screenplay and directing categories for the Oscars.  I’m hoping Chau gets a supporting actress nod as a political dissident turned cleaning lady who changes the main character’s life, she’s that good. (4/5)

Darkest Hour – Joe Wright’s WWII era biopic of Winston Churchill was what I would call a prestige entry with Gary Oldman’s expert portrayal of Churchill as he becomes Britain’s Prime Minister and navigates fraught political waters.  The main dramatic arc revolves around whether Britain negotiates peace with Germany and Italy over a period of a few weeks, leading up to the evacuation of troops at Dunkirk (the subject of Christopher Nolan’s recent film).  What could’ve been a dry history lesson is instead riveting mostly due to the performances, writing and the fast pace.  I also enjoyed Downton Abbey’s Lily James as Churchill’s secretary who becomes the audience’s surrogate.   Kristin Scott Thomas is wonderful as Mrs. Churchill and I would’ve liked to see more of her.  Ben Mendelsohn brings some humanity to King George VI, but the film belongs to Oldman, who I hope wins the best actor Oscar. (4.5/5)  

The Shape of Water – Although this didn’t win the Grolsch People’s Choice award (which went to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, with Frances McDormand), this was a festival favorite among audiences and critics.  Guillermo del Toro directs Sally Hawkins in a sure to be Oscar nominated role, a mute woman who is a janitor at a government lab in 1960s Baltimore (shot in Toronto).  She falls in love with a merman creature who is being held there and helps him escape, along with the help of her gay best friend (Richard Jenkins) and sassy co-worker played by Octavia Spencer.  Michael Shannon is the villainous boss and Michael Stuhlbarg plays a Russian scientist who also wants to save the creature.  The plot sounds a bit silly but the film works mixing many genres, ranging from horror to 1930s musicals, while celebrating otherness.  There is some typecasting, especially with Shannon and Spencer, but the film really belongs to Hawkins who communicates every emotion she feels without words. (4/5)

If You Saw His Heart – This film was probably one of my least favorites, which is a shame because Gael Garcia Bernal is a great actor and favorite of mine, but this is not a great addition to his resume.  I’m not sure if it was the direction (by first time French director Joan Chemla) or the lackluster story of a gypsy who loses his best friend in an accident and then lives in a run- down hotel while committing petty crimes to pay rent and trying to avoid his best friend’s brother, who blames him for the death.  He meets a beautiful woman who may be mentally unstable and falls for her.  It was nicely shot and Chemla creates a mood, but without a compelling story, this one goes nowhere and lacks, um, heart.  I did enjoy the interview with him the following evening, though and thankfully they focused on some of his other work. (2/5)

Professor Marston & the Wonder Women:  This is a somewhat conventional biopic of William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans), a psychology professor who created the Wonder Woman comics in the 1940s.  Director Angela Robinson shows the inspiration for his famous work in the form of his brilliant feminist wife (a stellar Rebecca Hall) and a beautiful teaching assistant (Bella Heathcote). They become a long term threesome with several children, while trying to hide their unconventional relationship from the public.  There’s some mild kink and BDSM themes but the film never feels exploitative since the focus is on the love the trio have for each other.  Will it get any Oscar love?  A slim shot for Rebecca Hall to sneak in a nomination for supporting actress. (3.5/5)

Mudbound:  Director Dee Rees (if you’re counting, this is the fifth film I saw at the festival directed by a woman) takes many narratives and has them gel beautifully in this film about two families, one white, one black who co-exist on a Mississippi farm in the 1940s.  The main narrative is about the friendship between two WWII soldiers (Garrett Hedlund and Jason Mitchell) from the families who bond, despite the difference in their races.  Unfortunately, their friendship has devastating consequences.  There are also fantastic performances from the ensemble including Carey Mulligan, a de-glamorized Mary J. Blige, and Jason Clarke.  Although it takes place 70+ years ago, the inclusion of white supremacists makes it especially relevant.  Despite some brutal scenes towards the end, the film ends on an uplifting note.  I hope the film gets some Oscar nominations – perhaps for picture, direction, screenplay and supporting actor nods. (4.5/5) 

Eye on Juliet:  My final TIFF film was an indie from Canadian director Kim Ngyuen.  Gordon (Joe Cole), lives in Detroit and just was dumped by his girlfriend.  He works as a hexapod operator (a robot that is sort of like a drone but it doesn’t fly and has six legs) that guards an oil pipeline in North Africa.  During his surveillance sessions he keeps seeing a young woman named Ayusha. (Juliet3000 becomes her code name) Intrigued by her story (she is trying to escape an arranged marriage with an older man by leaving with her boyfriend), Gordon decides to buck protocol to help her.  The film is a bit fanciful, especially the ending, but overall was charming and showed how technology can bring people together who otherwise would’ve never crossed paths.  Not expecting Oscars for this one, but hope it finds an audience. (3.5/5)

Most of the films I saw had some merit and many of them will most likely be showered with accolades come Oscar season.  I am not done yet with festival season, as I am planning to see a few more during the New York Film Festival (NYFF) including Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird (which was well received at TIFF) next month.  I will be sure to post my thoughts! 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Sixteen years ago today our country was attacked, crumbling NYC's World Trade Center.

I turned this controversial photo upside-down in 2011 to celebrate the 10th year and today marks 15 years of resilience; Also a symbol of rising peace. Flagship 1 WTC stands at the symbolic height of 1776, the year when we Americans declared our independence and "all men created equal," now once again, 1776 beautifying NYC's skyline. This photo is symbolic for our rising towers, faith and independence. I share this post (update it a bit) every anniversary year.
For those born on 9/11 or near that date, please visit ~~  no matter what your age, visit and celebrate all goodness born on this tragic day of mourning. You can even register to stay up to date on happenings and things about 9/11 birthday members.
Photo below, "The Falling Man," by Richard Drew; which I call
"Flipped Falling Man."

two haikus commemorating 10 years after 9/11

▐║ 911 ten
▐║ years later falling man is
▐║ still provocative

▓▌▄▒║ ▓║ ║▌

▐║ pin-straight
Falling Man

▐║ endless time still shows
the world

▐║ our
land, brave and free

Buono-Daly     &nbsp (c) 2011

Emotionally charged, mixed feelings - 2001 to 2015. From Poet Laureate, Billy Collins' prose commemorating all of the 9/11 victims, "The Names," posted below, to one of the most provocative, unforgettable images by Associated Press photographer Richard Drew, of a man falling from the twin towers, positioned perfectly in the middle. 

The photo was taken at about 9:41 am on 9/11/01 -- 15 minutes before the 1st building, the South tower, collapsed. Videos would show that the falling man was actually a tumbling man in the air and this is one moment in his time that was captured.

Note how perfectly straight, positioned in the middle and parallel to the burning towers the falling man is. The above photo was branded distasteful and voyeuristic -- never to be shown again, yet the incredible "falling man" is still around.

For those of 



how our 


looked before 


here's a 




Joseph Lopes 

taken in 1979.  

There is much up side today. By the 11th anniversary (2012) the new multi-billion-dollar World Trade Center, was back up in lower Manhattan's skyline.

One World Trade Center (formerly known as the Freedom Tower) which was completed on August 30, 2012 and the final component spire installed on May 10, 2013.

Additional complexes include 7 World Trade Center, three other high-rise office buildings, a museum and memorial, and a transportation hub similar in size to Grand Central Terminal. The Four World Trade Center opened to tenants and public on  November 13, 2013. The 9/11 memorial is complete, and the museum opened May 21, 2014. Three World Trade Center open in 2015 and the $4 billion Transportation Hub, the most expensive ever also called "Oculus" (originally opened back in 1903) reopened  March 4, 2016.  Two World Trade Center's full construction has been placed on hold until tenants can be found; It began construction in June 2008 and is still expected to be completed by 2020. Three World Trade Center, in the very center of  the new WTC began construction in 2010 and is scheduled to open by 2018 (earlier than anticipated). As posted by "The defining aspect of 3 WTC is its load-sharing system of diamond-shaped bracing, which helps to articulate the building's east-west configuration. This allows unimpeded 360-degree panoramic views of New York."  WTC overview photo above by Joe Woolhead, Silverstein Properties

Budgeted at 3.9 billion upon completion, flagship, One World Trade Center, formerly known as the Freedom Tower, has been opened since November 3, 2014. At 104 stories (1368 feet high), the decorative architectural spire atop makes the building stand at the symbolic height of 1,776 feet. Observation decks will adorn the 100th, 101st and 102nd floors. Tenants so far include magazine publisher Conde Nast and the federal government's General Services Administration. Visit time lapse of 1 WTC video animation of rebuilding 1 WTC.

Rendering of 1 WTC photo left courtesy of Wikimedia.

At 72 stories (977ft high) Four World Trade Center, was the first office building to open, (October 2013). First tenants were Port Authority, the Bistate agency that owns the trade center site and lost its headquarters when the twin towers were attacked. According to many articles and documentaries, there were about 200 people who jumped to their deaths, some were able to be identified only for the victim’s families and to provide closure for them. But there was no time to recover or identify those who were forced to jump prior to the collapse of the towers. We lost almost 3,000 lives that day.

Where were you on 9/11/2001?
I was working on Wall Street( on the corner of Wall and Water Streets). It was a beautiful, clear skied morning. I arrived early as I usually do and was at my desk on the computer when I heard a loud bang and felt rumbling underneath my desk at 8:46 a.m. I shouted "What was that?" Then 15 minutes later another bang, as some fellow employees arrived - initially we thought it was from a missile. Hard to imagine it would be the biggest single attack on American lives. I still keep asking myself "how could this be?" I was curious and ran outside to see what was happening.

As I was walking on Water St. and reached Liberty St., it was at about 10:00 am, I saw large billows of gray smoke, appearing to turn day to night, enveloping hundreds if not thousands of people running for their lives – apparently heading towards the river. I asked some folks what is happening and all were in shock. With all the commotion, all they could say while they were running was “it’s down, it’s down.” At that moment, I thought another plane came down. I ran back to the office and learned from colleagues that the South tower collapsed (incidentally, this was the 2nd building hit). The North tower (1st building hit) collapsed at about 30 minutes later. And the world would never be the same.

"The Names" poem by Billy Collins posted below:
Yesterday, I lay awake in the palm of the night.
A soft rain stole in, unhelped by any breeze,
And when I saw the silver glaze on the windows,
I started with A, with Ackerman, as it happened,
Then Baxter and Calabro,
Davis and Eberling, names falling into place
As droplets fell through the dark.
Names printed on the ceiling of the night.
Names slipping around a watery bend.
Twenty-six willows on the banks of a stream.
In the morning, I walked out barefoot
Among thousands of flowers
Heavy with dew like the eyes of tears,
And each had a name --
Fiori inscribed on a yellow petal
Then Gonzalez and Han, Ishikawa and Jenkins.
Names written in the air
And stitched into the cloth of the day.
A name under a photograph taped to a mailbox.
Monogram on a torn shirt,
I see you spelled out on storefront windows
And on the bright unfurled awnings of this city.
I say the syllables as I turn a corner --
Kelly and Lee,
Medina, Nardella, and O'Connor.
When I peer into the woods,
I see a thick tangle where letters are hidden
As in a puzzle concocted for children.
Parker and Quigley in the twigs of an ash,
Rizzo, Schubert, Torres, and Upton,
Secrets in the boughs of an ancient maple.
Names written in the pale sky.
Names rising in the updraft amid buildings.
Names silent in stone
Or cried out behind a door.
Names blown over the earth and out to sea.
In the evening -- weakening light, the last swallows.
A boy on a lake lifts his oars.
A woman by a window puts a match to a candle,
And the names are outlined on the rose clouds --
Vanacore and Wallace,
(let X stand, if it can, for the ones unfound)
Then Young and Ziminsky, the final jolt of Z.
Names etched on the head of a pin.
One name spanning a bridge, another undergoing a tunnel.
A blue name needled into the skin.
Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers,
The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.
Alphabet of names in a green field.
Names in the small tracks of birds.
Names lifted from a hat
Or balanced on the tip of the tongue.
Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory.
So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart

Additional information at the following links:
New York City's $4 billion World Trade Center Transportation Hub is finally open to the public — take a look inside
║See CBS video, “The Passionate Eye,”

║Video “911 The Falling Man” Images of bodies hanging out of windows, holding on across the steel across windows, leaning out for air.

║Google Blog:

My two 911 haikus:
║ 911 ten ═ years later falling man is ═ still provocative

║ pin-straight Falling Man ═ endless time still shows the world ═ our land, brave and free

Search engine stats for the term 911 on Sept. 11, 2014
Match type  &nbsp Broad   &nbsp   &nbsp Exact
Google   44,900,000   &nbsp 44,400,000
Yahoo   &nbsp 54,200,000   &nbsp 54,100,000
Bing     &nbsp 54,200,000   &nbsp 54,200,000

Search engine stats for the term 911 on Sept. 11, 2011
Match type  &nbsp Broad   &nbsp   &nbsp Exact
Google   981,000,000   &nbsp 431,000,000
Yahoo   &nbsp 246,000,000   &nbsp 240,000,000
Bing     &nbsp 245,000,000   &nbsp 242,000,000

▓▌▄▒║ ▓║ ║▌ Soothe your soul by listening to music in memory of 911 like Unhappy Birthday, by The Bacon Brothers, Originally from the album "White Knuckles" reworked for the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 with updated lyrics, written by Michael and Kevin Bacon, Directed by Bill Keller
▓▌▄▒║ ▓║ ║▌ visit the NYC FireStore on Greenwich Street, NYC
▓▌▄▒║ ▓║ ║▌ World Trade Center Status Detailed By Developers 11 Years After September 11th Attacks , by the Associated Press, September 10, 2012
▓▌▄▒║ ▓║ ║▌ World Trade Center Timeline, by WTC organization

▓▌▄▒║ ▓║ ║▌ Downtown Manhattan Future Skyline animation, by Silverstein Properties

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