Friday, April 24, 2009

26 Hours in New York: Late afternoon

Nearly eight years after the attacks on New York and Washington, Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Center, remains sacred ground, a blank spot in the New York skyline surrounded on the ground by other buildings that survived.
The debris from the Twin Towers has been gone for years, and the site is essentially a construction zone now.
But every day, hundreds of people come to visit, to gawk, to stand on the steps of Brooks Brothers or to climb to the second floor of the Burger King across the street, and remember that strange, horrifying day.

No one needs to explain what 9/11 means. As we walked by, a TV crew from Japan was shooting some sort of story. The story, clearly, is not done.

Flowers still decorate the fence outside the site. We gladly bought a magazine that carried the most iconic images of the day.
There's a sense of loss, a spirit that pervades the air. Others have written about it, and it's real.
The people, like us, who come from far away to see are not gawkers or tourists or ghouls. We are pilgrims, and whatever replaces the Twin Towers - as something inevitably will - must preserve that sense of place and spirit.

But it's New York, and commerce goes on. The choir's hotel was just a couple of blocks away from Ground Zero.
And Katherine says she had the best pizza she's ever had from Steve's, and other choir members raved about Charlys burgers - both located across the street from Ground Zero.

COMING UP: The preacher, the purse, and things get weird!

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