The World Trade Center Memorial in New York City consists, in large part, of some fairly elaborate fountains. This will be relevant in a few paragraphs.
Back in November, I met a professor from northwestern British Columbia at a conference in Ottawa. She was there to present on the alienation of western provinces and how to help students understand the relevance of Canadian Studies to their daily lives.
Luckily, I got to tell her that I know where Prince George is, since I worked for an amazing Member of Parliament, Nathan Cullen, from the nearby Skeena-Bulkley Valley riding.
But the happy coincidences were barely getting started.
At the meet-and-greet, she told our table the coolest story. She said that her sister is a mail carrier just north of Toronto. During her rounds one day, she noticed that this guy was building some statue thing in his yard. She waited a few days until curiosity got the better of her, and she finally asked him what it was.
He told her she couldn’t tell ANYBODY. She swore to keep his secret and he told her that he was building a model for the fountain at the World Trade Center memorial in New York City. He is apparently the most famous water sculptor and fountain designer in the world, which was why the architect of the project commissioned him for the work.
A few days later, she noticed he had stopped working on the project. It turns out that his neighbor told him he had to stop building whatever he was building because it was an eyesore. The designer told him that the project wasn’t permanent – he was working on a model of a fountain as part of the World Trade Center memorial, and it was actually top secret, so were they cool?
The neighbor was like, “I don’t care what it’s for – it’s ugly and you have to take it down.” So the neighbor went to the town council and got a stop work order on the memorial fountain! (So much for the kindness of — you know what, I’ll save it.)
So the architect came up from NYC for a closed door meeting with the council to tell them what the project was for, and the entire council unanimously said that the designer could keep working on it and the neighbor was being a jerk.
By this time, all the carpenters and other people the designer had hired to help him with the project had moved on to other things. His deadline was rapidly approaching, after spending so much time going back and forth with the neighbor, and he had no one to work with him on finalizing the piece.
He tells this entire story to the mail carrier, who goes “Oh, my husband is a carpenter!” Which is how her husband got to work on the World Trade Center memorial fountain!
And she didn’t tell ANYONE until this until a story about the memorial was scheduled, at which point she told her whole family to watch the television program, which is how the professor who told me this story found out that her brother-in-law had worked on the memorial.
It really is a small, fascinating world.