New York City, Part IV

Day 5 – Thursday. Kris wanted to sleep in, so Janet and I got up early – not so early as the other days – and made our way to the Today Show outdoor studio. The Today Show does more outside than GMA, at least for this summer. While NBC is changing the main indoor studio to prepare for HD broadcasts, they’re using a temporary outdoor set in addition to their normal plaza set. We got there about halfway through the show, but didn’t stay long. We walked north and east a little from Rockefeller Center, and found ourselves at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

We decided to go inside, b ut unfortunately my camera settings had gotten changed and I didn’t notice before I took pictures. These don’t do it justice, but they’re what I have…

After lunch, we took the subway down to the World Trade Center site. From a bricks-and-mortar standpoint, there’s nothing there, just an enormous hole in the ground. But to say there’s nothing there is so incorrect. The thing that first struck me was the hushed stillness all around. You’re walking down a street, among people engaged in the normal hustle and bustle of New York, the ever-present background rumble, then you turn a corner and the people are still walking, but the sound has fallen away. All around the site, it was that way. Voices are low. There are spirits there. Across the street is St. Paul’s Chapel, which is surrounded by the wall where so many pictures and notes were posted immediately following 9/11. St. Paul’s was where the relief workers came for meals, sleep, comfort, in the months following that horrible day. There is a memorial all inside the church. Behind the church is a bell presented to St. Paul’s by the mayor of London on September 11, 2002. It was cast by the same foundry that case the Liberty Bell. You stand at that bell, and you look just a few yards across the street to where the towers collapsed, and you wonder how this little church could have weathered that without even a single broken pane of glass. It’s hard for me to not see the hand of God in that, as if he knew that chapel would be needed immediately afterwards, and for years to come. But being inside St. Paul’s Chapel was difficult – more than difficult. It sucks your soul out. It’s hard to explain – it’s at once a place of comfort, that you can feel, and at the same time a place of such crushing pain. I had to get back outside after a few minutes. I went back to the bell, and stared across the street to the vast emptiness that was once the Twin Towers. And I felt anger rising in me, at those who perpetrated that abomination. I thought about all the motives and emotions exhibited by those who were memorialized by the chapel – love, sacrifice, compassion, sympathy, empathy, humanity. And I thought about what the hijackers were driven by – hate, just hate, nothing else. Anybody can hate, it’s the easiest emotion to feel. It requires nothing more than the lowest of human responses. Anyway, I didn’t intend to get preachy. But that’s what I felt right then, right there.

July 6, 2006 В· Harry В· Comments Closed
Posted in: NewYork2006