New York, NY, USA

  • Date
  • 6 January 2002

The first thing I wanted to do upon returning to New York was visit Ground Zero and view the destruction that took place on 11 September 2001, as Jim and I were in southern Peru on 9/11. I hoped seeing the gaping hole, in person, would solidify my mind’s picture of reality versus a television image, played non-stop by networks in the aftermath. I was not prepared to share the destroyed Twin Towers site with thousands of tourists, especially those posing, mindlessly with smiles, for photos before the wreckage. Nor was I ready to see scores of men and women hawking souvenirs – photos, paintings, and hats – on the streets surrounding the devastation. The several-block long, four-hour queue rambling its way to a recently erected, wooden viewing platform sent Jim and me back home.

Still, without peering from an above-ground vantage-point, I witnessed the massive opening where the Towers once perched like watchmen over downtown, where today the overcast, wintry weather left a fitting film of dampness and gray. Walking away from the rubble, we passed a closed, boarded-over subway stop and out-of-business shops. Signs proclaiming half-off sales dotted the windows of surviving neighborhood stores selling hats and t-shirts adorned with NYPD and NYFD. Even with a four-hour wait to look at the aftermath, I believe the fervor has peaked.