October 24 – New York City
The above quote is from Astronaut Frank Culbertson who learned of the September 11 terrorist attacks while aboard the International Space Station.
Today began as not really asleep in for me but at least a relaxed start. We left for breakfast about 9, taking the Subway to Russ & Daughter’s Jewish deli in the East Village for bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon (so many variations of each!)
9/11 Memorial and Museum
I was torn about whether or not to go to the museum part but was encouraged by some comments on a discussion about it.
The memorial pools were extremely moving. Thousands of names surround the gently flowing waters that flowed into the cavities that were once the footprints of the twin towers.
Inside the museum I was struck by the amount of noise and chatter. It felt wrong to be in groups talking and laughing. Groups of tourists of every language (French was the one I heard the most), school groups, families with children and couples and singles – all going in one direction towards the relics and artifacts.
We were under the memorial pools, at ground zero, surrounded by the slurry walls and what was left of the foundations. It felt quite surreal once I knew that.
The curation included huge pieces of twisted metal, video and voice archives (survivors, tv news casts, answering machine recordings, astronauts from space looking down on NYC), objects from the rubble, airplane parts, fire trucks, uniforms, helmets, photos of people watching, pieces of paper that floated down, the ‘missing’ posters that were everywhere in the days afterward, information about the planning of the attacks, art installations, clips of movies that featured the twin towers, New Yorker covers with the towers, photos, souvenirs and postcards from before the attack’s and metal pieces cut out of the beams in the shape of crosses, hearts and Stars of David. There was also a photograph of every single person who perished.
It was overwhelmingly sad. You could spend a whole day and you would need to if you want to read every single plaque. It was slow going as it was so crowded.
The shop selling ‘souvenirs’ felt a little off – we had a peak and saw things like T-shirt’s, hats and golf balls. Hmmm.
The object I found most intriguing was a composite of five floors worth of material from one of the Twin Towers that was heat-fused and compacted during their collapse.
“It is a truly horrible object, a charred and pitted lump of fused concrete, melted steel, carbonized furniture and less recognizable elements, a meteorite-like mass that no human force could have forged, and it is unforgettable. It weighs between 12 and 15 tons. It is four feet high. If you ever thought that humans remaining in the WTC when it collapsed might have survived, consider this pancake comprising five floors of the North Tower.”
Additionally, no human remains could have survived the intense heat needed to create this mass of fused metal.
Overall the museum has done a great job of “simultaneously honoring the dead and the survivors; preserving an archaeological site and its artifacts; and trying to offer a comprehensible explanation of a once inconceivable occurrence. The museum must speak to vastly different audiences that include witnesses at the scene and around the globe, as well as children born long after the wreckage had been cleared”. As both a memorial and a museum – it’s hard to please everyone.
A stroll across the bridge to explore the area known as DUMBO (down under the Manhattan bridge overpass) in Brooklyn.
A very late lunch at Love & Dough.
I’ve never had Prosecco served in a glass like this!
we came across this set being created for the TV show Gotham.
Next stop was Super Moon Bakehouse Run by two guys from Melbourne, back in the East Village.
My feet went on strike so we headed back to our little hotel room to put them up and sort out the packing.
We have a only a half day left in the Big Apple. Still so much left undone! But it was great to do some things together that neither of us had done on our previous trips.