2012: New York

Brooklyn Bridge, Ground Zero

Oct. 20


Today we had our "free" afternoon tickets to the 9/11 memorial. You know, the ones that cost $5 to print on the in-house hotel computers. Grrr.

I'd seen a lot of internet postings about walking The Brooklyn Bridge as an activity on a sunny day. If walked from the Brooklyn side, the bridge walkway ends in lower Manhattan only a few blocks from the Memorial, so it made sense to combine the destinations. We were off to Brooklyn on the subway again, only about ten hours after we left last night!

The same short walk from Brooklyn Heights brought us down to the pier and underneath the bridge arch for our first photo-op.

Before we started our trek across, we spent some time in a couple of parks at the base of the Brooklyn side, taking in the view.

It took some searching, but finally we found the stairway that led up to the walkway. As we started out, a friendly tourist took a snapshot to prove we were there together.

In the first part of our walk, we got a hazy view of the tips of both the Empire State Building and the smaller Chrysler Building, peeking up in the distance.

I was surprised that the promenade was so crowded; clearly this was a popular activity when weather permitted. I was also a little disappointed in the obstructed side views from the walkway. I couldn't tell if this was mostly because of the restoration work going on, or just the normal situation; all I know is, I enjoy the rather suicidal views off the side of the Golden Gate Bridge, so this kinda didn't measure up.

Manhattan Municipal. 8 Spruce.

As we emerged from underneath the Manhattan-side arch, on our right we got a great view of both the Manhattan Municipal Building sitting at the foot of the bridge, and the nearby Thurgood Marshal United States Courthouse with its gold-leafed pyramidal top.

To the left was the unmistakable high-rise residential building at 8 Spruce, with its logic-defying wavy silver exterior.

No bull, at least today. NYPD blue.

Our next destination was Ground Zero, with the memorial reflecting pools. On our way there, we passed the Wall Street Bull, which wasn't accessible today due to -- of all things -- skateboard racers whizzing down the surrounding streets. Since we couldn't pose with the bull, Mike settled for a snapshot with a couple of New York's finest. No bull.

We continued our walk for the final blocks to the 9/11 Memorial. As we turned a final corner downtown, we got a jaw-dropping view of the under-construction Freedom Tower, as well as a look at the line of people entering the reflecting pools monument.

We were about to cross the street to join the line when my continual gawking yielded pay dirt. What IS that moving down the side of the Freedom Tower? It has ARMS! Is that a MAN on that cable?!? Well, no, it's not -- just some cross-shaped materials on a long journey down. Yes, my series of photos proves that it was going DOWN. Hmmm. Aren't they working on the TOP? Never did quite figure that one out.

I was a bit surprised at the level of security for entry to the memorial (although I suppose it's understandable), and also at the long winding construction tunnels through which we passed to reach the pools. Maybe to keep us safe from debris falling off the still-rising Tower?

Anyway, it was a bit of a claustrophobic lead-in to the glorious openness of the pool plaza.

Finally we reached our destination, and there was no shortage of photo ops. I had a hard time accepting that these two pools reside in the exact footprints of the fallen twin towers. Yes, they are large pools -- for pools; but each seems too small an area to form the foundation of a 100-story building. It gave me a new appreciation for the term "high-rise".

We'd had enough for one day. I was happy to head back to our less-than-comfortable nest for a little relaxation before an early dinner. As you can see from this photo, my husband likes to sneak up on me. Or maybe he just wanted to document an inconceivable situation: Carolyn warm enough to sit around in her underwear instead of three layers of fleece. Man, he must have been sweltering in that room!