Monday, September 16, 2013

A New New York

New York Freedom Tower
It's hard to believe that 12 years have passed since 9/11. I should know because Big Challenge is almost 14. I remember exactly where we were and the events that transpired that day. I remember the phone calls we received. This would probably equate to those affected by the Kennedy assassination, man on the moon, Vietnam; everyone knew exactly where they were that day when it happened.

I had been to NY since 9/11/01 but have never gone over to see the footprint or memorial or even the Freedom Tower being built. So, on this journey to New York, we decided to walk from our Soho hotel and walk down to that area. We could see the tower as we were heading down to the tip of Manhattan, seeing it from various blocks and street corners. It's gleaming exterior some symbol or beacon of hope. As we got closer, it was obvious this was a well marked tourist attraction because the sidewalks were packed and not with New Yorkers. People from allover the world have convened to this area to see the footprint of what once was a symbolic US structure. The pieces of the skyline not only looked different, but felt different. It's similar to how the new skyline looks in Chicago with the newly added Trump Tower. That's not how I remember the Chicago skyline and here I am recalling that's now I remember the NY skyline either. It just felt weird.

The mood also changed dramatically. People were looking at and reading memorials placed all along the area and perimeter sidewalks. FDNY Ten House was nearby whom lost 6 or so firefighters and literally at the base of the disaster. Tourist would pose in front of its massive garage doors. It was a solumn feeling. You couldn't help but pause for a moment and imagine the buildings still standing, almost like a phantom limb. You could almost still see it in your mind. You couldn't help but imagine people running from the scene, the amount of debris, or even those who took their own lives before the Towers collapsed.

Slowly the area has rebounded and rebuilt. We continued around to have access to the 9/11 Memorial. I did not know that you could or should get online passes to enter, but there is also a "no-pass" queue that visitors could wait in. One employee said the no-pass line took about 30 minutes and was open late. We were also surprised to see that there are actually wooden walls covering the perimeter of the Memorial so it's not like you can sneak a little peak. We thought we would try later in the day but did not. I'll save this for another trip and be better prepared with passes.

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