Talk about timing. Other than one household problem after another, things had been pretty quiet here in Florida since we returned from our five-month sojourn in the RV to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Too quiet for me. So I planned a trip to stay with some friends and visit the Big Apple. Of course, always one with great timing, I planned it for the week Sandy hit. My friends had no power, and the subways, our primary form of transportation, were under water, so, as much as I like an adventure, I decided to put off my visit. The airlines were uncharacteristically cooperative and allowed me to reschedule without their normal $150 fee.
What a difference a week made. By the time I arrived at Newark airport the power was back, incredibly the subways were pumped out and running again, and on the surface things, in Manhattan at least, appeared back to normal. A major goal of the trip had been to see the new World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial. I worked for many years across the street from the north tower and spent lots of time there. Although I had gone from the City to the east end of Long Island by 2001, like most New Yorkers it was a special spot to me, and I wanted to see what had been done to commemorate it. You need to have pre-obtained, time stamped, tickets to see the memorial. (This will go away when all construction is completed and the site will be open to the public from all four sides.) I had been shut out on two previous trips, but this time we had succeeded in getting tickets, then Sandy hit. Their website was of little help, we had already decided this would be a roll with the post-Sandy-punches kind of trip, so we just rode the subway downtown to see what the story was. Well, the story was you just had to wait on line, go through security and you got in. No ticket required.
It exceeded my expectations. Opened 10 years after the attacks, it consists of two pools set in the footprints of the original towers. Thirty foot waterfalls cascade into the pools, which then descend into a center void. The names of the victims are inscribed in the perimeters of the pools. Walkways, benches, newly planted trees, a still unfinished museum, all were part of the 8-acre site. It is surrounded by new construction to replace many of the other destroyed and damaged buildings of the original complex. Most impressive was the new 1 World Trade Center which at nearly 1800 feet will be the tallest building in the country. It was in all very impressive, very moving, and in some way, very hopeful.
The rest of our time was spent at a seeing a few off broadway plays, Rockefellar Center (no Christmas lights yet), the Tenement museum (highly recommended ) and seeing Edvard Munch’s painting the Scream, which is visiting MOMA for a while. It just was sold for $120 million. Amazing.
Speaking of screaming….While on the surface downtown and midtown seemed back to normal, for most others, that was not the case. The rest of New York City, Queens and Staten Island, coastal New Jersey and Long Island are not recovering as quickly. The devastation is heartbreaking and it will be a long road back for many who’s life’s possession’s are now gone. If you haven’t helped out and would like to, here’s a list of ways to give.