I'm in Western New York. It's about 5 1/2 to 6 hours to get to Manhattan, but it's a trip I've made several times a year to see my kids. First my oldest was there working in Manhattan after undergrad... and then she went off for a masters and doctorate in Princeton....
And then son #3 moved to Manhattan as a young attorney. Then his brother joined him seven years later... and spent the last four years there.
Now our time in the city is winding down. We'll still go down to watch a Yankee game or two... but the days of watching the World Trade Center be blown apart...
Are winding down.
|Freedom Tower at World Trade Center site.|
|Cool art show surrounding World Trade Center... This looks like a 3-D rendition of apartments and rowhouses as you walk up to it, but when you get close, it's just a woven material, shadowed and shaded to give the 3D look... crazy clever!|
That sent tens of thousands of people scrambling for jobs, closed stores and created a depression in finances.
Superstorm Sandy (that left #3 son without power for weeks, and people sleeping on couches in friends' apartments for weeks/months as Lower Manhattan worked to fix blown electrical circuits and train lines... it took years to get things done... (can't find those pics..... huge generators outside monster-sized buildings, giving power to thousands... kind of!)
I'm one of the people clogging phone lines every time there was a terror attack in Manhattan because the boys lived on Wall Street and Maiden Lane... and worked in Midtown.... which meant they were blocks from every attack, all these years.
But it's also had wonderful things for us to experience! I got to meet lots of homeless people and heard some of their stories.
I love the diverse population of NYC (although the population has risen the past two years and it's crazy crowded now... Which means subways, shops, restaurants, streets... crazy crowded. That's not really fun.)
The opportunities. I met Zelda the Wild Turkey (now deceased) named after F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife... For whatever reason. Anyway Zelda lived in Battery Park and she was cool. A chill bird.
I've been to Ellis Island and twice to the Statue of Liberty.
Lots of Yankee games. Food in Little Italy, Chinatown, Upper Manhattan, Lower Manhattan... I've been to the top of the Freedom Tower and cried in the museum buried in the soil beneath the destroyed World Trade Centers.
And that makes me pray for the lack of kindness of the human condition.
I've been to several churches there, all lovely. Heard a choir that probably had members of the Metropolitan Opera last Thanksgiving... Stunning!
And I've seen a couple of plays over the years.
But mostly I've been there to see my boys. To walk with them. Talk with them. Check the Seaport, wave at Jersey and Brooklyn, grab bagels and coffee... but not ice cream or pie because good ice cream and pie don't really exist in Manhattan.
|Dave and Luke... yes, Luke is tall! He looks like a giant version of me... a really big leprechaun!|
How weird is that? The pie thing, not Dave and Luke...
We've ridden lots of subways.... a few Ubers.... a ferry or two... tons of elevators because buildings don't grow "out" in Manhattan. They go up, up, up!
When you look at pictures, you think of what's gone before you. This trip we walked to the Holocaust exhibit at the Museum of Jewish Heritage on Battery Place. There are 5 Jewish museums in NYC. There are nearly two million Jews living in New York.
|When I saw this exhibit, I thought of a Ben Franklin quote I love.... "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."|
And at the hauntingly poignant exhibit, done in chronological order, it was heart-wrenching to see how the rights of an ethnic people were frittered away and removed in such systematic fashion... until there were no more rights and no power to demand them back.
Dave, Luke and I spent the morning there. We learned. We thought. We prayed. I came away with some story ideas.... some that I'd been pondering that were reaffirmed by the sights and sounds of the people's laments.
"God cherishes the lament of the night even more than the choir of the morning."
How many laments must God have heard? How many times were countries asked and begged to help? And turned their backs. Countless. Again and again, folks were turned away until Hitler's regime decided their fate for them.
I think every person who leaves that place walks out a little more thoughtful. And maybe nicer.
We'll go back to the city, I'm sure. My editors are there and I like to annoy them... wait, I mean VISIT them, of course.
I'll walk around. Visit the Trinity Church cemetery and little St. Paul's Chapel, a place of healing and help post-9/11.
I'll visit the reflecting pools and pray.
And the 9/11 museum and pray.... The stairs, coming down. So many people, trying to get down those stairs. Some did. Some didn't.
And in a city of now nearly 9 million people, I will pray that more and more will join in the prayers of peace, faith, hope and love.
It was a beautiful, poignant trip. Laughter... and tears. And the promise of a new tomorrow for our youngest, a number cruncher who guided me through the hero's Wall Street role in "Back in the Saddle"...
And gave me an idea for a new story from one of his recent assignments.
Now we're back to the reality of pumpkins and mums here! And while I love visiting the big city... East, West, Home's Best. :)
I love being a country girl!
Wishing you the best of back-to-school September stuff and the joyous colors of fall.
ruthloganherne.com or friend her on facebook or follow her on Twitter @RuthLoganHerne. She loves to meet readers and chat with them... and other writers, too. And she doesn't hate winter... until March. And then she does kind of hate winter. But it's March, so everyone understands that, right?