Sunday, May 14, 2017

World Trade Center

Photo of Lower Manhattan, taken moments before the first plane
crashed into WTC on 9/11
The most moving—and difficult—part of our stay in NYC was visiting the World Trade Center and 9/11 Museum. Tim and I had seen the Twin Towers on previous trips to New York and had witnessed, firsthand, the cleanup efforts soon after the destruction of 9/11. So we were familiar with the area. I was not prepared, however, for the emotional impact of a revitalized "ground zero."

Though never a big fan of the architectural style of the Twin Towers, they, of course, have since transcended any criticism of how they once looked. The new One World Trade Center is much taller and shinier than the original, but it will never loom as large, in my mind and heart, as the towers. Instead, my eyes looked downward to the two reflecting pools marking the footprints of the demolished Center buildings. The pools were somber but beautiful and rimmed with the names of the people who died on 9/11. A simple but powerful tribute.

One World Trade Center

Detail at top

Reflecting Absence reflecting pool, memorializing the former
footprint of one of the Twin Towers

Flowers are placed on the victims' names on their birthdate

Looking at the south pool from above
There are two museums commemorating the events of 9/11: one created by the victims' families and one located in the underground bowels of the former towers. We visited the latter, which was enough for me. I was not the only person openly crying as we passed the few surviving remnants of the buildings. In an interior room—signs warning parents of graphic images—were artifacts and television footage of the destruction. I lasted five minutes before telling Tim I'd meet him outside after he was done. Far too emotionally painful to experience all over again.

The first thing you see when you descend the stairs into the
museum are two of the massive tridents that decorated the foot 
of the Twin Towers

Several stories tall

Trident base looking very much like a cross

Photo of the remaining tridents (click on image
to enlarge)

Remaining underground wall

Remaining column with firefighter messages

"Survivors' Staircase," which over 200 people used to
escape the collapsing building

Part of the TV/radio antenna on the North Tower—six engineers
died trying to keep the antenna operating as long as possible

Elevator part

Ladder 3 firetruck, destroyed by falling debris

 "No Day Shall Erase You From the Memory of Time"—the
blue tiles try to capture the color of the 9/11 morning sky
After emerging from the museum, we made our way over to the Oculus, an incredibly spectacular structure that houses an indoor mall. To me it looks like an eagle crossed with Statue of Liberty's crown. It also reminded me of the few tridents that remained standing after the towers fell. In the end, I decided the Oculus was a cathedral to commerce—a grand F.U. to all terrorists who think they can destroy the American way of life. What do you see when you look at it?

The Oculus: an eagle in flight?

The Oculus across the street from the 9/11 museum (lower 
righthand corner)

Inside the Oculus

Shoppers and tourists

Looking upward at the spine of the Oculus

Backside of the Oculus, with One World Trade Center behind

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