Park Row, just off City Hall Park. Office buildings, electronics shops, buses taking the workers home at the end of the day.
Dignified old & glitzy new, grown & growing cheek by jowl.
The Woolworth Building. The "Cathedral of Commerce". One of the big losses of our post-September 11th world is that you can no longer just stroll into the astoundingly mosaic'd lobby and chuckle at the "gargoyles" - Cass Gilbert holding a tiny copy of his lovely, lovely skyscraper, and Mr. Woolworth counting his lovely, lovely coins!
A free R&B & hip-hop concert in City Hall Park - what a perfect way to while away a beautiful late-summer evening.
Looking down Park Place towards the proposed site for the Park51 community center. The sculpture is part of one of the free public art displays that are always rotating through the City Hall area.
The sky didn't always show there. But we heal. We don't forget - but we move on, we don't try to stop time.
Turn away now. Look down the street. The neighbors of Park51. A betting parlor, a dance club, couple of newstands, a clothing shop & offices offices offices. Trash bags, heaps, jeeze, when's the trash pickup? And people, going about their normal lives on this normal street
An empty building...no, THE empty building. 51 Park Place.
An unused & unusable building, a blank spot on a normal street. Neighbors - a bar. A parking garage. A place to pay your phone bills.
Walk to the corner - look down the street - there are the cranes of the World Trade Center site. Blocks away.
Turn away again. Around the corner here, and back to the normal. A strip club, a bar.
City Hall Park again. Homebound traffic. Late afternoon light sets another majestic old skyscraper glow.
The fruit vendor calls it a day. You can still buy a hotdog, though.
THE OF WORLD SuiTs OUTLET.
Humidors. Exquisite ones. They promise. Down the street, a busy mix - brick oven pizza, African music & movies, another club. And everywhere, people, all kinds of people.
Irish pubs, of course!
Starbucks & Star Pizza!
The Woolworth Building again. A true classic.
Another classic. The clean & simple lines of the Church of St. Peter, New York's oldest Catholic parish.
Not so classic! All I can think when I look at this monument to early 21st Century overblow is "I wonder how many shirts were lost." But heck, it's NYC, there's room for every kind of thing here, right? Right?
Beside St. Peter's, a cross of girders from the WTC. We do remember. So do the visitors - but it's strange watching them down here. As I walk past the tourists a moment later, the kid is making a frowny face & giving a thumbs down. It's hard to tell whether he's serious, or kidding, or just doesn't know how he should act so is acting the way he thinks he should. I'm reminded of a photo I saw once of a Smurf at the WTC site. It was someone's photographic "thing" - pictures of the Smurf in front of famous tourist attractions. The WTC was just another piece of the gag. Now that's the sort of thing that makes me want to ask "Do you understand what happened here? Can you please act with respect?"
But then, they may be amazed at the heartless New Yorkers, going about their business without a second glance. But if a person who's lost a leg doesn't spend the rest of their life bursting into tears every time they look at where their leg used to be, does that mean they've forgotten?
THIS is the World Trade Center site. THIS is where I still get a bit stirred up inside when I pass, even if I don't show it, where I wanted to scream at a vendor who approached me with some souvenir as I was down there one day thinking of the day. "Takealook, takealook, takealook!" That's insensitivity, and thankfully the city has pushed them back from the immediate area. You can still buy a tchochke in the area if it means something to you, but no one will disturb your thoughts right here. As it should be. I don't linger here as much as I used to, and I may just look like another office worker all focused on getting to Century 21 or whatever, but I can't walk past without remembering. But mostly, I move on now.
Right across from where it happened, people gather to play chess. Is playing games across the street disrespectful? I don't think so. And I don't think that working out, or swimming, or going to a concert, or yes, even praying two blocks away is either. Pushy souvenir sellers are. Treating it like just another tourist attraction is. And God, politicians shilling for votes by invoking 9/11 victims as though they were all some homogenous, undifferentiated mass is disrespectful too. They were all individuals, they were a tremendous cultural cross-section of NYC, and they would have had as wide a range of opinions as the rest of us.
It makes me terribly sad to read that 2/3rds of New Yorkers think that the community center should move.
I thought we were better than that. Here's hoping for a change of heart.