October 21, 2009

Requiem For A Media Guy


Requiem For A Media Guy (Published October 16, 2001)

What an eerie feeling, bidding one of your best friends goodbye.

I have to look at it through romantic terms. The weight of it is overbearing. It's like my heart dies, though it strangely keeps on beating.

Chris Hanley took the plunge from traditional media, left Bloomberg for a COO job in the online space and attempted to take a real estate publishing company online.

It didn't work, but he bounced back. Got a top job selling Radianz, a secure IP Broadband service marketing to the financial business. Chris was at a banking event at Windows of the World on the morning of Sept. 11.

His memorial service is today at St. Francis Xavier Church on 16th Street in New York at 7 p.m.

When I first met Chris he was with The New York Times's radio station here in New York, WQXR. We met at a party my wife and I were throwing almost 10 years ago, and that was it. He and I hung out all the time and covered for each other, like the "Me & Terry" boys in Springsteen's Backstreets.

Chris was incredibly special and he loved this business; no matter that his online gig didn't work out, he never regretted the experience. In fact, though it changed him, I thought it was for the better. On our last night together just a week before his death, he told me, much to my surprise, that he'd just resigned his NYAC membership.

Though we'd been there partying a bunch of times before, his reasoning was that it no longer served his purposes. He said it created more "walls than bridges" when entertaining clients, so what was the point? That was classic Hanley, his ability to get to the heart of the matter.

The fact that he had to pay such a terrible price for being downtown vs. in his midtown office, and at the absolute worst time in history, seems contrary to his destiny. But, much as I wish it wasn't so, it became his destiny.

The online marketing business is very touch and go, though Hanley juggled it well. If he were here, he'd be making it more fun. It's going to be very weird, especially every Thursday night around 6 p.m., planning where to meet up.

He Liked What He Saw

Paid notice published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 14, 2001.

He had an eye for special objects -- a street grate in Paris, a license plate in the Virgin Islands, a gondola in Venice.

Christopher James Hanley's photographs always looked like postcards. He loved taking pictures around the world, but he lived in Manhattan and some of his favorites were of his city -- a chandelier in Grand Central Terminal, a street sign in Greenwich Village, a fried chicken restaurant in Harlem.

Mr. Hanley, 33, was a child of the news media. Both his mother and father had long sales careers in radio, newspapers and television. They watched him grow into a young man who had an affinity for finance, good music and a penchant for responsibility. He called his parents every morning, and at the request of a friend, he had recently agreed to be the godfather of the child of a couple he had never met.

Although he worked as a sales representative at Radianz, a financial services technology company at Rockefeller Center, he attended a management conference at Windows on the World on Sept. 11. "Had he been late, he'd be here today," said his mother, Marie Hanley. "But because he was an early bird..."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 15, 2001.

HANLEY-Christopher J., 34. Beloved son of Marie and Joseph, killed attending Risk Waters Conference, September 11, 2001 at Windows on the World, 106th floor, World Trade Center. A Mass to celebrate his life will be held on Tuesday, October 16, at 7:00 PM, Church of St. Francis Xavier, 46 West 16th St., NYC. Donations to honor Christopher's memory can be made to Xavier H.S./Christopher J. Hanley Memorial Scholarship, 30 West 16th St., NYC 10011.


Her Twin Tower Tears (Published September 14, 2001)

Lady Liberty is alone again, waiting for the rain

I remember when they were being built. I had just started my first job in media, as a paperboy.

One of my Long Island Press customers was in construction. He lived on Cherry Street, and his five- and six-year-old kids used to stop and tell me all about their Dad's job, working on the Twin Towers so high in the sky.

Every week or so, as a 12-year-old, I'd hear wonderful new stories about these still-budding skyscrapers and began seeing them as the young boy and girl who entertained me along my route.

I remember the kids laughing and exclaiming how their father told them that, once the towers were built, "they'll be able to dance every time the wind blows." Then they'd sway a little to demonstrate.

But now all I can think of is Lady Liberty. Suddenly alone. Though over 100 years proud, her spirit must hurt today like so many who've lost someone they love. In a sense, she lost her children, her precious Yin & Yang who delighted her so, as they stood so tall, dancing for her each time the wind blew.

And now they are gone, and like many of us, she awaits the rain, silently calling for it, impatiently waiting, wanting now to be cleansed by it, and for it to give her cover.

You see, with the rain she can cry and no one ever knows. Now, and for the rest of her (and our) lives, every time the Atlantic blows in rain, who can say that Liberty won't be sobbing her Twin Tower tears for her children, longing for the way they danced.

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