Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Last Look At The City

On Monday morning, we all got up early and carried our packed bags down to the hotel lobby so that the concierge would look after them while we made a last quick trip into the city.

We rode the train to the World Trade Center stop. This was the best view of Ground Zero, which right now just looks like a busy construction zone. If you realize that the train station where we arrived used to be in the towers themselves, the magnitude of the 9/11 events can still be felt. If you never saw the World Trade Center, it is hard to imagine the great void that now exists.

We rode the escalator up to the street. I expected to see the large photographs and written tributes of the heroes from that day almost seven years ago. They were gone. All the memorabilia that lined the construction fences last June had been removed. Perhaps the city really has moved past that terrible day. I stood on the platform above the subway and took a picture of St. Paul's Chapel, the place that served as a haven of respite for those many days during the aftermath of 9/11.
When we visited New York in June, the chapel was still filled with pictures, gifts, letters, pieces of the 9/11 story. I wanted Liz and Gerald to see this place and feel all that was still therebut we were not able to go inside the building. I don't know if the chapel was closed for the holiday observance of MLK day or if they were preparing for a celebration that was to occur later in the day. Whatever the reason, we were unable to go inside. There is a part of me that fears that all the physical evidence of 9/11 is now gone. I admire NYC for being able to move forward, but there is still much healing that needs to happen. Having these tangible places where people could come to grieve and remember and touch the terror and then strive to move on is ian mportant process to growing stronger through those horrendous events. . Though it will mean always feeling at least a twinge of pain, I hope we never forget entirely..

We then took a quick trip to Central Park. The icy edged pond surrounded by the brown of winter was a marked contrast to the life that fills this areas in the summer.

I was surprised by the ducks that seem not to migrate.

A last look . . .
We then headed back to the hotel for our departure. After four wonderful days together, we all went our separate ways. Liz, Gerald and Erin headed back to Dallas where BK was waiting for them. Brooke went back to the negative temperatures in Chicago, and Mike and I made the five hour drive from New Jersey to northern Virginia for his sister's memorial service.