Nearly 17 Years After

The last time I’d been to the Twin Towers was in 1999. I’d been there a bunch of times and it was a place of pleasant memories.

[Excerpt from Passports. On Kindle for iPad. Click to expand.]

The Observatory and roof were truly awesome in the real sense of the word: I actually preferred it to the Empire State Building.

[New York’s Twin Towers. Photo by me, 1991.]

Post-9/11, I’d not really wanted ever to go back. I avoided the area in the years since 2001. But – with our visiting British friends here – finally I felt it was time.

Early yesterday while staying in Lower Manhattan, we ventured over to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

[Photo by me, 2018.]
[The memorial museum. Photo by me, 2018.]
[Oculus. Photo by me, 2018.]
[North Tower pool. Photo by me, 2018.]
[North Tower pool. Photo by me, 2018.]
[South Tower pool. Photo by me, 2018.]
[South Tower pool. Photo by me, 2018.]
[Photo by me, 2018.]
[Looking up at the new One World Trade Center from within the memorial. Photo by me, 2018.]
[Photo by me, 2018.]

My first reaction was I thought it looked like somewhere else; but that is hardly surprising. The memorial itself is wonderful. By late morning tour groups began to turn up with guides waving pennants, and that put me off a bit. But that’s the world as it is, and most visitors seemed to be respectful.

[The new One World Trade Center. Photo by me, 2018.]

A son of people who lived on my parents’ Long Island street was FDNY and died that day.

How strange it seemed – nearly 17 years after, I felt “late.”

[The Greek Orthodox Church. Photo by me, 2018.]

No one around me seemed unduly troubled, but standing at the soon to be completed rebuilt St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church – which had also been destroyed when the South Tower collapsed – looking down at the site for the first time, alone, away from everyone, for a few moments I couldn’t help myself: I burst into tears.

[View towards Windham Mountain, the Catskills. Photo by me at just before 6 AM today.]

We’re back in the Catskills this morning. What a contrast compared to 24 hours ago. Thus New York – all of it.

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