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[NY Magazine] The 5-Year 9/11 Anniversary Is Approaching

Every year I get a little jittery around this time as the anniversary of the events of 9/11 approach. Memories get re-hashed and reviewed, followed by sadness and disbelief, but then followed by amazement at the perseverance.

For me personally, the thought that some nut will do something stupid to get attention on each subsequent anniversary date is always a worry. Last year on the 4th anniversary, I remember thinking that the 5th anniversary (this year) was the biggie. And sure enough, a major plot was discovered and foiled.

I generally don’t read about 9/11 anymore. Its not that I want to forget or am avoiding it, but rather I have been filled to the brim with stories over the past 5 years about the events and directly from people who experienced a loss.

However, New York Magazine does a really good job in this week’s issue, asking the question: What if 9/11 didn’t happen? [1] where they ask different people for their take. Its a refreshing counterhistory piece.

Each year, I have been asked countless times by various media to provide stats on the performance of the housing market (which admittedly grated me) and every year the market seemed to show resiliancy and strength (coupled with low mortgage payments).

However, for the first time, I was asked to discuss the real estate market as if 9/11 never happened [2], which sort of threw me for a loop since I had never thought about 9/11 in this context before. It was incredibly hard to filter out all the emotion and tragedy and simply answer their question.

Basically, I attributed the latest housing boom to the sharp drop in mortgage rates shortly after 9/11. And I don’t just mean New York. Of course, this is not to imply that the phenomenon was a good thing in any way shape or form. I’d trade the housing boom to turn back the clock. But of course, there is no going back and the world keeps on turning.

On a far less materialistic level, whole concept of what was, and what will never be can be pretty sobering.

Phew, this is kind of heavy. Its time for a vacation.

UPDATE: Jonathan Miller On 9/11: It’s the Housing Boom, Stupid [NYO] [3]