Thursday, September 20, 2012

Two Visits to NYC

World Trade Center - Then and Now:
We visited New York City in August 2006 to check out colleges. Typical tourist, I was taking tons of pictures, always looking up at the skyscrapers. But in a city filled with skyscrapers, the most awe-inspiring moment for me was arriving at Ground Zero and immediately feeling the absence of buildings. There was a stillness there that was unique in this busy city; people walked beside an open weave fence in silence, staring at the emptiness. Inside the fence, the void left behind by the two World Trade Center buildings was significant. Through the fence we saw pavement with construction material, steel and concrete. Standing tall in the middle was a cross made of steel from the WTC, it is a memory I will not forget.

Flash forward to 2012, I try to visit New York City as often as I can. My son went to NYU and stayed, so it’s a great excuse for me to go. I was there in August and decided to go to Ground Zero for the first time since 2006. The change is extreme: the new WTC building is almost complete, and you can view it from the park which replaced the steel and concrete pavement. It seemed to me that my two favorite words, hope and action, were very present as the City has created a place alive with people and activity. I was initially surprised at the memorials, two large and low waterfalls seemed very understated considering the magnitude of the event they represent. But then I remembered the feeling of awe in 2006 as I looked at the emptiness of a space in New York City with no buildings. The beauty of the Ground Zero area as it rebuilds is that through thought, collaboration and design it respects the emptiness that was left when the buildings fell, but the rebuilding gives us hope for the future.


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