We’ll be staying in Newton, N.J. for two nights. This stop was not on our original itinerary – however, one day, early into our trip, Marj made the comment that she wished we had included New York City into our plans. She had visited the Ground Zero Memorial a few years back and felt it was something every American should see if at all possible. So….we made a few adjustments and voila!……we made it happen! Our plan is to go in to New York City to visit the Ground Zero Memorial one day, and to take a boat ride around Manhatten Island and the Statue of Liberty another. These were the top two on everyone’s list while we are here for just two days.
9-11 MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM
We made advance reservations for the 10 am admission into the 9-11 Memorial and Museum. I highly recommend making reservations as we had minimal wait. As soon as you enter into the museum, you have the sense of a somber atmosphere. Everyone showed respect by the quiet around hundreds of viewers. Seeing pictures and videos as well as hearing calls from those affected, both victims and family and friends, immediately brought back the utter disbelief felt on September 11, 2001. Here are some of the reminders we saw – I’m certain you remember many as well. It was hard to see!
Here’s what you are looking at…. Twin Towers, before and after 9-11; the new 9-11 museum; narrative; plane targets/attacks; checking through security to get in to museum; a beam from the rubble that many responders put their logo or initials; slurry wall built to hold back the Hudson during initial tower construction – miraculously, the wall held during the attack; posted photos of missing loved ones; reminder; “Freedom stairs” – survivors walked down this last section of stairs to escape death; fire fighter going up as others came down; helmet; fire truck; twin towers model; the cross at ground zero; American flag found in the rubble.
After the museum, we spent time at the two waterfall memorials, one at each tower foundation site. Each is surrounded by a granite wall with names engraved of all those who perished here that tragic day. As a tribute, a white rose (pictured) is placed by victim’s names on their birthday.
A new World Trade Center I has been built and overlooks the Twin Tower site.
While we were by the memorials, a guide mentioned that we should have lunch across the street at O’Haras, an authentic Irish Pub. This restaurant played an important role on 9-11 and the days following by providing shelter, water and food to the many volunteers who came to help from across the nation and world. It also served as a triage center and morgue. Volunteers started leaving their organization’s shirt patch at the bar as a thank you for the care and nourishment they received. Today, all those patches are displayed on the walls. Additionally, the O’Hara family made a scrapbook of the events surrounding that day and they happily allow you to page through the book while waiting for your food. We were glad we lunched there to see their part in the American history books – plus the food was very good!! (The wall memorial was outside the restaurant.)
One of the more interesting buildings in this area looked like a rib cage. Interestingly, upon entering, you find a huge underground shopping mall! Quite unexpected!
Another monumental building in the 9-11 area is the St. Paul Chapel. Historically, this building is where George Washington went to church following his inauguration in April, 1789 when New York City was the nation’s capital. This church seems to be protected by the hand of God as it suffered no damage (not even a cracked pane of glass) on 9-11, even though it is across the street from where the twin towers stood. Additionally, the trees were unaffected by the destruction and debris. The church served 3,000+ responders in the first 3 months – it provided rest and food to all who came through their doors.
Following are a few other typical New York City iconic scenes.
Due to length, I decided to post this, saving the boat ride around Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty as another post. So look for NYC Part II shortly. Stay safe and healthy everyone and may all your TRAILS BE HAPPY!