Monday, July 09, 2007

The Site

I just went to New York.

Now, granted, it's not like NYC is all that far away...and it's not like I haven't been there before...but my conservative Midwestern upbringing indicates that a trip to Wal Mart takes planning...one does not just...just...up and go to New York City on the spur of the moment.

But that's exactly what MrR and I did last weekend. We dumped the car in a covered lot in Jersey City and went to New York.

The thing I didn't realize when I was doing my logistic homework was that the World Trade Center stop on the subway was, actually, in the bottom of the World Trade Center....which means it's now somewhere in the middle of Ground Zero.

Or, as a local I chatted with Sunday morning called it, "the site."

There was this moment as we were coming up out of the station... I'd been wondering as we pulled in (there's just so much construction everywhere it's impossible to know)...but we came up the stairs and I realized where we were...and I just...stopped. MrR said "wait...are we...?" and I nodded and we both just kind of stood there for a minute.

I didn't take any pictures, though my camera was handy. At this point, "the site" is a giant construction zone...not all that different from any other. In the early afternoon sun, there weren't any ghosts or memorials or reminders (at least not where we were)...just bulldozers and cranes and workmen...and tourists snapping pictures of bulldozers and cranes and workmen. I just didn't have it in me to be one of them. The image of the towers falling is still too vivid in my mind's eye...there's nothing there to replace that...not yet.

Across the street is St. Paul's Chapel...a colonial, weathered stone church...with big trees and a neatly manicured lawn with old graves in front. It stands, stubbornly beautiful behind its wrought-iron fence, bearing a sign that they update every so often about the significant events this church has witnessed: the inauguration of the first President of the United States, fire, terrorist attacks...collapse and reconstruction over and over.

I've been struggling to find a summary for the experience...but I'm coming up short. Maybe it's best expressed in a motto I saw above one of the information booths...

Look Back -- Move Forward

...and they are.

1 comment:

J.Bro said...

I felt kinda the same way when M.Bro and I came up to the street at that stop - we were kind of struck by the experience, but all around us were people gettin' business done and goin' where they needed to go.