Friday, July 25, 2008

Wide eyes in the Big City

For those of you who have been clamoring (Mom) for a post about my week in New York City, I apologize for the delay. Life has not really slowed down long enough for me to gather my thoughts.

One of the first things I did was go to the World Trade Center site and the tribute center across from where the twin towers once stood.

I have wanted to do this for a long time. Since Sept. 11, 2001, there are still days when I say to myself, "Did that actually happen?" Sometimes it just seems too incredible to be real. New Yorkers and of course the families and friends of the victims have been living with the reality of what happened that day for the past seven years, and some people may even be tired of hearing about it, but I never saw the World Trade Center in person, so I probably never really confronted the event head-on.

The experience of being there overwhelmed me.

There is this giant empty place in the middle of downtown Manhattan surrounded by a covered fence so that people can't see inside. Tourists crowded around the site in the weeks and months following the attack, making it difficult for people to work and to mourn. The City is building the Freedom Tower and memorial, but it won't be completed until 2010.

I thought about that day and how it must have devastated so many people, not just because of the trauma of watching so many people die, but because of the loss of a sense of security. And it completely blows my mind to think about everything that has happened since that day, and the countless lives in America, Afghanistan and Iraq that have been affected in the aftermath.

The Tribute WTC Visitor Center was very powerful.

Visitors are led through a gallery of chronological images and sounds from 9/11 into a giant two-sided wall full of photographs, one each of the deceased. I was overcome with emotion and spent a lot of time in front of the wall, looking at all the faces.


On to other topics:

You can take the girl out of Montana, but you can't take the (Red Lodge) Montana out of the girl. My friend and fellow UM alumna Kim found time in her impossible investment banker schedule (notice above how exasperating life can be for someone working 24/7) for burgers (I had turkey) and beers (I had margaritas: 3) at the Boat Basin, this little shindig on the Hudson River. I almost, almost thought I was in Missoula.

I guess you really can find it all in New York.

Of course I had to check out Central Park on the hottest day EVER. I seriously almost melted right there. I don't know how the sunbathers in this field were not dying in the sweltering mid-day humidifier, but I walked as fast as I could to...

...the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Quite possibly the most enjoyable museum visit I've ever had--and not just because of the air-conditioning. This place has the most impressive collection of Impressionists I have ever seen. And hardly anybody there.

Times Square: tourists in one direction...

...cabs in the other. That's all I have to say about that.

On a whim, I went to the top of the Empire State Building one evening. And I am glad I did.

A tourist looks south, to the tip of Manhattan Island.

The northern view, with lights.

Thanks for putting me up in your place, Amy! You are the best.


Frank P said...

New York makes an impression on an American different from other large cities. I guess it's because so many of our forefathers entered the country there. I hope you'll see Ellis Island too on one of your trips. Things have rapidly changed at the WTC site so perhaps it will be finished on time. Thanks Hol, great job as usual. Mom

robin said...

Say Hi to Kim for me. Looks like you're having a good time.