Pipeline World Trade Center
The Pipeline in Lower Manhattan was a restaurant at the base of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center. There are so many tragic and sad stories that are relived, retold and reminisced today. I prefer to focus on this very fond memory.
They had free entertainment and this particular evening I was with a rich girl with very strict parents. We were both adults in our 20s but the only way she could get out of the house is if she said she was going with her older brother (who I was also friends with) and we would be together with a group of mutual friends. So she lied, and yes I had met her parents, but while it was good I was Italian (like them) and spoke some Spanish (they were Argentine), the problem was that I was not Orthodox Jewish. I was, of course, Catholic by default like every other Italian-American.
We met up at a place that gave free Salsa dance lessons. Her brother Giovanni met us there, had one drink and then went about his own business to meet another group of friends, particularly a female friend who I am sure his parents would not approve of because she was probably not Argentine Italian Orthodox Jewish. Yes, they were that strict. But Giselle and I genuinely liked each other, and we knew it would not lead to anything, perhaps it was even platonic, but we wanted some alone time away from the usual crowd we hung out with.
I remember writing her letters in fountain pen, one color in English, another color in Spanish and perhaps yet another in Italian. Yes, of course I was trying to impress her. I even wrote those letters on stationery I collected from a store at the ground level of the World Trade Center. Just to show you what a stationery and letter writing nerd I was, I even used hand tinted inks from Italy that were also scented. They were about $20 per bottle. I don’t know how much money that was in the mid 1990s but I am sure that would be triple now.
So there we were at the base of the World Trade Center between the Twin Towers watching an amazing concert. Early that season we had all gone out as a group to see the movie The Mambo Kings – a story based on probably the best cymbalist of all time, Tito Puente. But now we were there eating ribs, drinking wine, cocktails and enjoying the warm outdoor weather and actually seeing Tito Puente in person performing live. What could be better? Well, it did get better, his daughter came out to join him on stage. This was not common and was definitely a night to remember. It was amazing.
Other than very fond memories of a woman I am still distant friends with on social media, I have this set of matches which I never seen before. Its circular, the striker is on the bottom and I know they are relatively expensive because of the shape and design. It might seem simple, but its one of my most beloved souvenirs from a period of time in the previous century when the world was not perfect, but much more perfect than it is today, and especially after the events of September 11, 2001.