Monday, October 10, 2011

9/11 Memorial Site Visit

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Before leaving home we had made four reservations online to visit the new 9/11 Memorial at the site of the World Trade Center at 1 pm. About 11 am we headed towards Grand Central Station and purchased our Senior Discounted round trip tickets to downtown Manhattan, departing the train at the Felton Station. We headed north on Church Street thinking that it would takes us to the entrance of the Memorial. But instead we found St. Paul’s Chapel; the church that became a place for people to leave photos and messages for missing friends and family.

Since then the church has become a free Museum about 9/11 for the thousands of visitors who arrive daily to view the site. They still hold services but the main function seems to be the museum. It is a very moving exhibit and emotions run high; there are boxes of tissues throughout the exhibit for people to use.

Because of the very different subject matter today, I have divided the photos into three sections, we have 9/11 Memorial, the demonstrations on Wall Street and finally our visit to Time Square.

Leaving the church we discovered we’d gone the wrong way (God works in mysterious ways) and headed back in the opposite direction. We viewed a bronze wall of September 11th before the buildings fell. This journey is a special memory for me; I spent my sixtieth birthday in New York City in 1998 with my twin and our two sisters. We enjoyed our birthday dinner at the Windows of the World Restaurant at the top of one of the towers. We’d planned on celebrating at the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center, but it was closed for repairs and that is why we have that special memory.

Arrived at the initial check in and spoke to a security guard about the two extra tickets that we had for our friends who are not with us. We found two people and with the help of the security guard gave them an opportunity to visit the site. The woman was from Sweden and I’m not sure where the fellow was from. There are no tickets available for people who arrive without the tickets so they were both delighted with the sudden opportunity. You can not see the Memorial from the street.

We went through about five check points and then finally a metal detector before taking a long quiet walk into the site. From that point on people were very quiet and it was a very serene site as people walked from one pool to the other; each flowing over the side and down into the footprint of each building. The names are cut through the metal so that snow will not stick to the surface in the winter. In the background behind the building rises the one new building that will be the tallest building in the United States when completed….104 stories. Known as 1 World Trade Center it is being built on the site of the number six World Trade Center building that collapsed when struck by debris when the north tower fell. We sometimes forget that the World Trade Center was a complex of five office buildings and a hotel all connected by a massive underground concourse lined with shops and restaurants. The twin towers were the tallest and best known of the buildings.

There is also a new museum on the Memorial Site; scheduled for completion next year. It is all glass and very unusual. Per an article online; the plan is for six major new buildings to surround the Memorial Site in a semi-circle. The area is finally building those building at a rapid rate; once they started it was full steam ahead.

We knew that we were expected to be out of the Memorial in an hour, but there was no pressure to leave. I would encourage anyone heading to New York City to make arrangements to obtain tickets for this site while they are there.

Leaving the Memorial Site before 2 pm, we were hungry and decided to brave the crowds at a Burger King before heading over to the demonstration at Wall Street; they are trying to make a stand against the wealthy by “occupying Wall Street”….an ongoing, non-violent event. We were able to walk through the center of the park where hundreds of protestors are camped. Sleeping bags, lots of plastic tarps, and all the other necessities of life filled the space. The latest addition is wifi service and free computers for the demonstrators! The presence of the police was heavy and there was even a gentleman named Harry Braun, a Democrate who said he was running for President and was speaking on a “soap box” at the demonstration. We also saw him in the Columbus Day parade on Monday.

From there we walked through the financial district, past the New York Stock Exchange; heavily guarded by police and also ramps and large poles preventing anyone from driving down the street. Viewed Trinity Church but didn’t go into it this time. Took a moment to take photos of the Wall Street Bull…couldn’t resist.

Back to the Subway for our trip uptown to Central Station; there we commenced to walk west towards Time Square. They have created pedestrian zones for several blocks and the lights are great even during the daytime. Could not resist taking a photo of the singing cowboy who roams the street in only his whitie tighties, a ten gallon hat, cowboy boots and strumming his well placed guitar!

We checked out the Kiosk for theatre tickets that are available a few hours before the show opens. It’s located at the west end of Time Square and jammed packed with people all hoping to get a bargain priced night at the theatre. Me thinks we’ll save that for another trip as we’ve been several times before on previous trips!

We walked north on Eighth Street back to 48th Street and then headed east towards home.

Arrived back at the apartment about 5 pm, I swear we walked another ten miles today! We discovered that there is an unsecured wifi in the building so we’ve enjoyed using our laptop computers every night, researching all of the fun things we’ve discovered during the day. Dinner was fried chicken that we found at the grocery store only a block from the apartment…lots of choices of prepared foods…enjoyed by both of us.

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