Last week had me traveling across the country for work, from west coast to east coast. While most of those days were fairly involved and ended quietly with dinner and returning to the room, one afternoon allowed just enough time to facilitate a quick trip into New York City with one goal in mind: One World Tower (aka the World Trade Center).
I need to be honest here and say that I’m not a city person. At all. I typically despise any location that makes my personal vehicle a burden to be rid of. I don’t like being crammed together with other people. I’m easily annoyed by noise. However, despite the deck being clearly stacked against New York, I can say without reserve that I enjoyed the few hours I had at the World Trade Center. It was calm. Quiet. I’d even say respectful. Seeing the footprint of the buildings lost on 9/11 lined with the names of those who went with them was a powerful experience. Standing there, taking in my surroundings and trying to imagine what it was like to be anywhere near ground zero on that day was as daunting as it was horrifying.
I won’t ramble on too long about my afternoon. I’ll let a couple photos (as amateur as they are) tell the tale. But I will say that if you’re ever in the area, if you ever get the chance, as fleeting and impractical as it may seem, don’t hesitate. Go. Be there. Surround yourself in that moment of American history. Try to imagine dozens of stories of concrete and steel collapsing down while searching for anyway to escape the devouring plumes of dust that swarmed the narrow streets below. It paints a whole new picture of that day, a completely different perspective. Go to the top and look across one of the most iconic cities in the world (they’ve done a great job on their presentation, very dramatic) and gaze to your heart’s content. It’s a rare chance when something so massive and overwhelming can suddenly seem so simple and small.
And of course, get yourself some pizza (I recommend Big Al’s).
It was a pleasure, NYC. A real treat. Thank you. I have to commend your ability to overcome my sneering opinion toward cities. I’m already planning on coming back with the family.