One Country Club resident’s quest to remember the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks has inspired him to build two large reminders of what was lost that day.
Matthew Galcik of 3150 Rawlins Avenue unveiled his replica models of the World Trade Center’s twin towers on Saturday, September 3. The two 12-foot-tall models of 1 and 2 World Trade Center were installed on the front lawn of his home.
The replicas are made of 16 floor indoor mats that are painted gray, 2x4s that create a three-foot foundation for the models and then reach upward another 12 feet, two four-foot florescent lights in the interior shell of each tower, and an antenna that is made out of a golf club. In addition, each side of both towers has approximately 2,700 holes in them that make the light shine through the windows of the building, Galcik said. That is approximately one hole for every victim, he stated.
Galcik said, “I didn’t do this for me. I did this for the people. Maybe it will be some kind of thing where they can stop by and even leave little mementoes and maybe say goodbye to those they knew.”
The project was first thought of roughly a year ago, but he began building the twin towers in earnest on Monday, July 4, and set aside time in the evenings and on weekends, and even vacation time from his job as a Bronx bus mechanic, to complete construction. It includes a plaque that lists the names of all the people who perished on 9/11.
The two giant towers were lifted into place by neighbors after Galcik dug the foundations using power auger. He was very pleased to get the help of many in the community who stopped by to see what he was up to after they heard the hammering and drilling, he said.
“My neighbor Victor came over, looked at the work I was doing, and told me he wanted to become a part of this,” Galcik said. “He said that he was really touched by it. People’s usual response when they see this is to be overwhelmed.”
The site of a memorial tower of this size should bring people from the Country Club community, and the surrounding area ,to Galcik’s front yard to reflect and remember, said next-door neighbor Victor DeFilippi.
“Matt is really someone who believes in what he is doing, and I think this is a very good thing,” DeFilippi, a past member of Community Board 10, said. “Everyone, including myself remembers where we were and what we are doing when 9/11 happened.”
The project’s labor, which took place in his basement and backyard, took on a special significance, Galcik said. While drilling the holes for the windows, he realized how tremendous the losses of 9/11 were in terms of human life, he said.
“We all had the same feelings of hopelessness on that day, and of wanting to help,” Galcik said. “We all lost something whether we knew someone at the World Trade Center or not, because it was like the day when America grew up.”
He acknowledged the futility of the effort oto completely heal the wounds of 9/11, and said at one point that even though the memorial really is some floor mats and 2x4s, it shows that though terrorists can destroy buildings, they have not and cannot destroy the American spirit.
Galcik wishes to thank Tremont Paint Supply at 3607 E. Tremont Avenue for helping him get just the right gray color for the towers and the right primer to put on the floor mats, and Bruckner Hobbies at 3587 E. Tremont Avenue for their help with the antenna.
“As soon as everyone heard what I were working on, they allhelped,” Galcik said, though he added that while he got help, the model was built entirely by himself.