Monday, June 22, 2015

A Day In NYC - Part 1

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure joining family members on a commuter train along the Hudson River to Grand Central Station. Our ride was a total of 95 kilometres and lasted just over an hour and a quarter. Since the trip was scenic and comfortable, the time went quickly.

We passed numerous highlights including Storm King Mountain, Bear Mountain Bridge, West Point, the remains of Bannerman Castle and some amazing topography like the Palisades, rising from the west bank of the Hudson River.

When we arrived, I was amazed at the magnificence of the aptly named Grand Central Station. It was huge and it was gorgeous.
After finding our way to the appropriate subway, we boarded and headed toward our destination...the 9/11 memorial and museum. As for the subway ride, interesting. I've seen photos of  pushers in Japan who ensure that as many people as possible are crammed safely into each train car during rush hour. Although it was only morning, the subway was so crowded that I was thinking New York might benefit from some of these types of workers.

Before long, we arrived at our destination. The grounds were meaningful and lovely. There were two square pools representing each of the twin towers in the spots where they had stood. The beautiful new freedom tower is also known as 1 World Trade Center.

We were in line and admitted to the museum at noon, our designated time. As we passed through the halls, we were reminded of the horrors of that day. There were videos, artifacts, photos, news clippings, video, and items of a personal nature. Some personal possessions belonging to some of the deceased had managed to remain intact. The exhibit was massive. After several physically and mentally exhausting hours of walking, we still hadn't viewed everything.

We got a real perspective on the heroic acts of the first responders. Fire company 3 lost most of its men in the 9/11 attacks. The flag covered truck was lowered into the museum's foundation, and the building was completed around it.
Another part of the museum is the concrete wall, called the slurry wall, built in the 1960's to hold back the Hudson River. Although the wall began to strain after the attacks, it held up preventing further devastation and flooding of Lower Manhattan and its subway system. The symbolic last column is a steel beam from one of the towers that stands near the wall. While we were there, bagpipers were playing.
The only piece of art that was commissioned for the memorial was created by Spencer Finch. It is made up of 2983 blue squares representing each of the people who were killed on September 11th. It is called  "Trying to Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning." Behind the wall lie the unidentified remains of some who died on that day.
As we exited the museum, we were all very quiet. Seeing this was moving and sad. The facts, the faces, and the lives of those lost became more real in this awe inspiring, powerful tribute. 

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