I’m on vacation, but I can’t quite stay away from the blog, so I’ll regale you with vacation pictures and tales from the big city.
This post was supposed to go in chronological order, but after seeing the September 11 Memorial, I have to go there first.
I was at work writing code when the attacks happened. A co-worker named Ginny mentioned that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. She looked terrified.
My first thought was:
Planes had hit buildings before and I assumed someone had a very bad day in a Cessna. No big deal. Ginny’s look of concern worried me though, so I decided to check CNN’s website just to be sure something bigger wasn’t going on.
I plugged CNN.com into my browser, but it wouldn’t load. This was ominous. Sites like CNN don’t go down.
After 5 minutes or so, CNN finally came up and I saw a picture of the North Tower with smoke pouring from it.
Oh shit, it was a bigger plane than a Cessna.
A short time later I learned that the South Tower was hit. Not good. What was going on? Could it get any worse?
Soon I found out that South Tower had come down. This is when it got real for me. The thought that a plane strike could bring down a skyscraper hadn’t crossed my mind. I felt like I was going to throw up.
I was desperate for information and figured that I’d learn more over the radio. I walked to my car in the parking garage. There I sat and listened to the news. I soon learned that the North Tower had also come down.
It was a day of dread and hopelessness.
The Memorial (9/2/2017)
Mrs. 1500 had a speaking engagement near Midtown, so we had dinner together and then split up. I marched off with the kids, intending to go back to our hotel, but then decided to head down to Wall Street.. We jumped on the subway to see the Charging Bull instead.
As our station neared, I couldn’t stop looking at the September 11 Memorial on my Map app. I made a last second decision to go there instead.
The girls and I arrived at the pools a short time later. It was gloomy and a light rain was coming down.
My 7-year-old was mostly confused. She asked questions about what she was seeing, but couldn’t seem to grasp that towers once stood where there were now waterfalls.
My 10-year-old had read a book about 9/11 and looked at the memorial solemnly.
Looking at the South Pool of the memorial, I felt nervous and uneasy. The pools were there because something horrible had taken place, but the memorial itself was disturbing. I couldn’t quite put my finger on exactly why it made me feel this way. We walked over to the North pool and then around it. I felt no better and we soon left.
A short time later, it hit me. It was the design of the memorial which created the emotions; specifically, the water flowing into a seemingly bottomless pit in the middle of each pool. This evoked feelings of dread and hopelessness, much like on the day of the attacks.
I wondered if the memorial conjures up the same feelings among those who didn’t live through the attack? 10-year-old daughter didn’t seem bothered by it, but she was probably thinking about the ice cream cone that I had promised her. Will she feel differently if she sees the pools as a 30-year-old? I’m not sure, but I don’t think so. You have to have lived through it to really appreciate it.
And none of this is negative criticism. NYC did a wonderful job with the memorial and museum. The purpose of it shouldn’t be to create happiness, but to encourage reflection. One who lived though 9/11 cannot reflect on the event and anything remotely close to good.
And the Rest of NYC
I was going to go in chronological order, but that would be boring. Here is what I loved about NYC and what I didn’t:
Times Square: Ugggh. This was a sea of tourist nonsense. Same as Navy Pier in Chicago or Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. I’m glad to have seen it, but no need to return.
Charging Bull: I’m a money geek and have wanted to visit the bull for most of my life. It symbolizes healthy markets and optimism. Seeing it in person was amazing. I was only disappointed that it was perpetually swarmed by fellow humans, so I couldn’t get a good picture. The bull’s ass was the best I could do:
Upper West Side: I loved the area where we stayed. The hotel was perfectly located near a subway stop and Central Park.
On our first day in NYC, I discovered that the hotel workers forgot to lock a door to the roof. I went up there every morning and evening to take in the city from above. I had an awesome view all to myself. Unfortunately, the hotel realized this halfway through and locked the door. Not before I could get some good photos though:
Central Park: We spent loads of time just walking around the city. Much of it was in Central Park. On Tuesday, we walked 11 miles and at least half of it was in the park. This place was amazing.
The People: For some reason, I thought New Yorkers were aggressive and gruff. Almost everyone we ran into was quite the opposite. Folks were friendly and helpful. Sometimes the crowds were overwhelming, but the natives were good.
I also met a lot of nice people familiar with my silly writing (this blog):
- Todd, who wrote this guest post, gave me an awesome cap. Thanks Todd! I’m going to wear it proudly back home in Colorado!
- I also met Lenny who was a lot of fun to talk to, even if it was brief. If you need a proofreader, hire this guy.
- Thanks Mc. Crazy Kicks, Church and Erin (Broke Millennial) for making the trip out.
- Big thank you to the other readers who showed up with pizza and beer. I enjoyed talking to each and every one of you.
And thank you New York City. I will be back.
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