James Francis Quinn

James Francis Quinn
World Trade Center

At the Center of Things

Since childhood, when he sneaked train rides to the hotel where the ball players stayed, James Quinn would find a way to be at the center of the action, and he had dozens of photographs to prove it. There was Jimmy with Wayne Gretzky, Jimmy with Michael Jordan, Jimmy with Will Smith. "You never knew how he would get in," said Noreen Quinn, his mother. "He would just walk in like he belonged."

But he was interested in less famous people too, and closely followed the basketball career of his younger brother Joseph, a West Point cadet. Though James, 23, loved the excitement of being a fledgling trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, he did not mind entertaining a young cousin or an elderly aunt.

Late one night when he was a teenager, his mother remembered, he called to say he had gotten a ride to the end of the Marine Parkway Bridge. When she arrived to pick him up on the Brooklyn side, she discovered the bridge was closed for construction. But there came Jimmy; he had persuaded the workers to radio to those on the other side to let him across, telling them his mother was waiting.

"I really thought he would come out of the darkness this time," she said. "I really did."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 9, 2001.

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