Visit to New York City, December 1, 2001
I was in New York City the weekend of December 1st, 2001, to attend a wedding. Here are some of the sights I saw.
I found I really appreciated the old, stereotypical New York City scenes. The Empire State Building takes on even more significance as something to love than it used to:
I stopped in to a Citibank branch at 79th Street and First Avenue where a friend of mine, Carolyn Barax, had her art on display. (It's nice that places like bank branches help artists that way.) Carolyn does silk paintings, as well as pastels and other media. She has a web site describing her work and there's an article about her on About.com. Listening to how small business people like her use the Internet helps me in my research for Trellix.
Walking around New York City, you get such a strong feeling about the entrepreneur and small business person. This may be the city of big business, but it has a greater feel for the independence, diversity, and drive of the individual than anywhere else. I love that!
I took the subway downtown.
Getting off near the Brooklyn Bridge, you could see signs of the effects of September 11th. Here is a temporary cell tower sharing the sky with older images, and the ubiquitous souvenirs to help you honor the city and its brave people:
Downtown near Ground Zero, there is still dust in the air. As you walk around, the sidewalk is a bit slippery from the dust. The roads are wet from being washed down:
You can't get too close to the main cleanup effort. All over the place, people have put up tributes.
Slowly you can see some of the devastation near where the World Trade Center stood:
Many people come to see and pay their respects:
There are more things hanging up. These are not the cries for help locating loved ones reported in the early days after September 11th. People seem to have a real need just to say something. Lots of general "God Bless..." and "We remember and love..." writings. Many, many giving the locations where the people paying their respects came from, showing how far and wide the support extends.
There were places for people to write. New sheets of cloth and paper were being put up and people were writing and filling them up right away. It reminded me of the same drive that makes people sign guest books online. It was nice to see this happening right in front of me with real people and not just screen names. Of course, many others expressed their connection to what was going on by taking pictures. I hear people in the news complaining about this, but as I wrote previously in "Our photos as an edited record of our lives", taking pictures is a way of saying something is important and honoring it, and a way to connect it to our own lives. You could see in people's faces that the photos are as heartfelt as the "God Bless"'s. At a place as meaningful as this, all sorts of ways of expressing yourself come out. (Even the need to go there, when you can't help, nor see very much, is part of that.)
Finally, from a few vantage points, you can see the remains and the cleanup:
Walking around, some of the streets are torn up and crews are working to repair the infrastructure: Pipes, cables, power lines. The building carcasses and these openings remind you of the intricacy of modern life, usually invisible covered by the skin of walls and streets. You also see why the technology of the Internet, with many ways to get from any point to any other point and requiring no specific route or medium, was so much more robust than older point-to-point technologies where each connection must be individually fixed.
I also walked along 34th Street, where Macy's had a window display. (New York has wonderful window displays this time of year.) They were celebrating the 1947 movie Miracle on 34th Street (which includes a Macy's Santa...) and the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade's 75th anniversary. Here you can see the windows reflecting the buildings across the street:
Reminding you of the times, a photo store had signs and even a person with a placard out in the sidewalk telling you they could help you get the photo ID card you now need for most anything, including getting in to the Empire State Building:
The people and police were all very friendly and wonderful to talk with. I saw people posing with policemen for photographs. The only strange part was when a policeman being asked for directions then turned to me, looked at my untrimmed beard, and joked "Are you Taliban?" (I think it was a joke.) I laughed and joked back that, no, I couldn't even spell Taliban. (As I write this I notice it's not in my spell checker...) That got me thinking. Earlier, there was another friendly policeman near Ground Zero, a Mets fan who delighted in remembering when his team beat the Red Sox in the World Series, who came up to me and was interested in where I was from. Was he really noticing that I fit some profile, carrying a camera and sporting a beard? Who knows. I guess in today's world I have to keep my beard better trimmed and make sure to stay abreast of local sports. Or maybe the key was that when they asked me, I answered with a laugh (that hurts about the Red Sox, of course, but I felt it was impolite to argue with a Mets fan at Ground Zero, especially one putting in 12-hour days so I'd be safer...) It's sobering. It's also ironic that one of the scenes from Miracle on 34th Street that got its own window at Macy's was of the little girl pulling Kris Kringle's beard and being delighted to find out it's real and not one with those hooks around the ears.
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