we didn't intend to do so in our original plans, we wound up spending
the day in New York today. Since we ended up just 40 miles outside
of there (in Piscataway, New Jersey) when it was time to stop for
the night, we decided to leave the RV's parked in Wal Mart and ride
the "Path" from New Jersey into the city where we hopped
the subway into downtown. We got off as near as we could to the Wall
Street exit and made our way to where the World Trade Center towers
of the reasons I decided to go was that as sad as this chapter
is, it is certainly history in the making. I have been driving
hundreds of miles visiting historical sites from hundreds of
years ago and it seemed ridiculous to drive on by our own particular
page without experiencing what I could of it. And although we
could not get really close, it was still a momentous thing to
see. Looking up at the massive buildings that were left damaged
nearby and realizing they are tiny compared to what came tumbling
down was a very sobering experience. A month after the attacks,
the burnt smell still filled the air, and the sight of the ruins
where two colossal buildings once stood was surreal and sobering.
Walking around with
the other viewers also looking shell-shocked gave me a feeling
of comraderie with them and made me want to hug people on the
street. Later when I thought about it I was sorry I hadn't really
done it. Seeing the many memorials and the pictures of the missing
loved ones made the reality more personal and painful. Everyone
sought a way to comfort and be comforted and try to make sense
of such a senseless act. The daze and sadness I saw in everyone's
eyes that day is something I will never forget.
seemed eerily quiet and the local people we talked to said although
Sundays were always typically much less crowded, since the disaster
it's been even quieter with a lot less people. The tourists
are badly missed (or at least the revenue they bring) and merchants
closest to "ground zero" are really hurting. We wound
up talking to a few local people seeking assurance that we were
getting on the right trains and that was especially interesting.
A young girl who worked 5 blocks from the center actually saw
the second plane hit. It took her hours to walk home since the
subways were closed down immediately and her cell phone did
not work. She's also a student and said her parents were scared
to death until they heard from her that day. She was a delight
to talk to and we hugged like old friends before we parted ways.
man we spoke to on the way back expressed how much more kind
people were to each other, how much more they spoke to each
other. He also noticed that his priorities had changed - partying
and his career had consumed all his attention before September
11th. Now he and his friends are thinking of finding partners,
of marriage and family. So much has changed for our nation -
we've heard time and again how life will never be the same.
All of us hope that somehow the changes this tragedy has visited
on us will have at least some positive effect - in ways that
we can only await and aspire to now. And while I don't think
we'll ever be able to honestly look back and say it was all
worth it - there has been too much loss and way too much sorrow
to ever balance those scales - I do hope we won't be blind to
the constructive impact that is always possible in any situation
and the kindness and generosity that such disasters can call
forth in all of us.
we didn't take the ferry out to Ellis Island, we did get a nice
glimpse of the Statute of Liberty and saw the Empire State Building.
We found the New Yorkers we met to be very friendly and helpful
when we were unsure how to use the subway system. With their
help, before we staggered on home to soak our feet, we walked
down Times Square and sipped a latte in Bryant Park.