Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fair thee well, Holiday

Day 7

Ugh. Monday. I don't want to go home. Can't I just stay here? I'll be a really good house guest. I'll cook and clean and give back rubs. Can I just live on your futon? No? Oh well.

Today was take Graygrrl to work day. We got up early and commuted with everyone else into the city. My friend works in the financial district and it was really lovely. They have a cafeteria in the building and everything was so cheap! I had 2 eggs over medium, whole wheat toast, and home fries for about $4. Yea New York!!
Her office is a few blocks from "The Pit", i.e. World Trade Center, and I decide I'm finally ready to see it. I've avoided that area like the plague every time I go to NY. It's too depressing; not just because of what happened there but because of how little has been done in the years since. You would think several of the 7 planned buildings would be up by now but there are only halves of 2 buildings. The cranes still stretch into the sky and a tall covered fence surrounding the area reminds me of the Wizard of Oz hiding the reality of what is actually going on.

Across the street is St Paul's Chapel, the cities oldest public place of worship. It's staggering to think how it survived the devastation that took down much larger and supposedly stronger buildings. Out front is a time line of the events that took place that day. Inside there are photos of the dead and monuments to the activities that happened inside the church- a makeshift hospital bed, prayer cards and memorials, a huge banner hangs from the ceiling:
It's a quiet place. A somber place. Behind the chapel and facing where the twin towers once stood is a cemetery as old as the church. It's in amazing condition considering the age of many of the tombstones, many still legible. I love cemeteries. For the several years they have been my location of choice to photograph. I love how wherever you go, they're always the same yet different in subtle ways. Some are falling apart, some seem new, some have crypts built into the sides of mountains, others above ground. Even in the middle of the city, in the hustle and bustle, they seem tranquil. As if the wrought iron gates can keep out noise. I find them very relaxing.

Across the street is the 9/11 Progress Museum. Inside is a scale model of what they are planning to build as well as a video playing the background, survivors and rescuers telling their story. In a far back corner is a sound proof room where visitors can record their own memories of that day to be used later as a video instillation at the memorial plaza.

I walk a great deal of this part of the city. From WTC to City Park to the Tweed Courthouse and the French Embassy, to Pace University, past the Woolworth building, and down Broadway. City park had an interesting sculpture instillation and a beautiful fountain.

I headed back to meet up with my friend, her husband, and my sister and her boyfriend, who were also in town for a few days, to eat lunch. We went to Harry's Italian and had an amazing lunch! We all split the "5 leaf" salad (a mix of Romain, arugula, dandelion, etc) and a stuffed artichoke. We ordered a half and half pizza. One side was the Old Fashioned White with roast garlic and olives, the other half a traditional red sauce with sausage and pepperoni. The crust was so thin and crunchy!
I had about half an hour to kill before catching my train to the airport, so we walked my sister down to the WTC and I pointed her in the direction of things to see. I was very grateful that my friends husband offered to come with me to the airport to make sure I got there safe. He became my lifesaver when we got to the airport and the security line was wrapped around the corner and down the hall. Thank god for my place holder so I could squeeze in a smoke before boarding. Thank you thank you thank you! I took the PATH train from WTC/Port Authority to Newark Penn Station, than transferred to another train that took us to the airport. Somehow, my timing was off and I barely made it onto the plane! Once again, I heart you Continental and your free meals (even if I can't eat half of it). This time we had hamburgers (which I gave back), pretzels, real fruit strip, Doritos, and something else I just can't remember. Oh well.

All in all, I had the most amazing time on my holiday and did NOT want to come back. I hope I don't have to wait another year to go again. Anyone wanting to contribute to my vacation fund, please email me :)

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