Associate Life

Fennie Wang

Homecoming

July 26, 2012 2:40 PM | Permalink | Print

Last week, the New York office officially moved to its new home at 7 World Trade Center. The elevators that took me up to the 45th floor felt like The Matrix, with its four square walls of frosted glass. Stepping out of the elevator and into the glass lobby, one can't help but be astounded by the panoramic views of New York City and the Hudson River. But the view is also humbling. We hover above the 9/11 Memorial, two reflection pools in the stead of the old World Trade Center Towers, commemorating their absence.

In many ways, moving downtown is a homecoming. After 9/11, many of New York's premier companies moved to midtown. While there is much love for midtown, downtown's revival is humbling and inspiring. It is a testament to the will of a city that is unafraid of embracing loss, change and growth.

For my generation, the day 9/11 happened is like the day Kennedy was shot. The radio alarm woke me up at 6:45 a.m., with the morning show playing while I got ready for school. I was a junior in high school in San Diego, on the other coast of the country. I had only been to New York once, when I was five years old, fresh off the plane from China. New York was my first port of entry into this country. The news of the planes hitting the Twin Towers stunned me.

Last year was the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, around the time when I had my callbacks at WilmerHale. I remember my roommate, a classmate from high school and a new transplant to the city, complained about the total media coverage of the 9/11 anniversary. I suddenly felt offended. I was surprised at my own reaction. And that is when I realized I had become a New Yorker. This is my city now, complete with its sorrows, joys and tenacity.

Looking down from the WilmerHale office, from the calm of the reflecting pools to the clamor of the skyscrapers, this New Yorker feels at home.