Douglas Frank DiStefano

Douglas Frank DiStefano
World Trade Center

On the Threshold

Things were beginning to click for Douglas DiStefano.

He had been working as a trader trainee at Prebon Energy in Jersey City, a job he got with the help of his brother David, who worked there. It was not high pay as yet, so he also tended bar at Hobson's Bar and Grill in Hoboken, where he lived.

There he met Robert Wayne Hobson, who had quit his stockbroker's job to start Hobson's but had returned to Wall Street in 1999 and was working at Cantor Fitzgerald. He helped Mr. DiStefano become a commodities broker there. Mr. DiStefano, 24, began in August, and had not even cashed his second paycheck by Sept. 11. Mr. Hobson, too, perished in the attack.

Mr. DiStefano felt the World Trade Center was the best address in the world, and it was proving an effective lure for women. "He said it worked much better on the girls," David DiStefano said. "Saying 'I work in Jersey City' didn't go over as well as 'I work at the top of the World Trade Center.'"

One thing Douglas DiStefano had always been really proud of was his high school football team in West Islip — he was an offensive lineman — winning the Long Island championship. He became equally thrilled about the Cantor job. He was talking about getting a new apartment, buying a car. "The toughest part is he was just turning the corner," his brother said. "He was just making it."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on January 22, 2002.

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