While recently in New York, my dad and I wandered into this wonderful little chapel next to Ground Zero. Due to it’s proximity to the twin towers, it was used as a place of respite for the rescue workers and also for the families waiting to hear about their loved ones. For a year and a half after 9/11, it remained only a place for remembrance and healing for the victims. Out of all the new information I learned about 9/11 from this site, the most shocking to me was some of the numbers. 10,000 rescue workers now suffer from PTSD, and nearly 45,000 additional citizens do as well.
What happened is completely unimaginable, especially when you’re standing, looking at the new building being built.
Here are a few shots I took within the memorial in the chapel. I only used my iPhone, in an attempt to be discrete.
I have this huge map in my room, and there is a pin at every city I’ve ever gone to. I’m blessed to have traveled more than most people my age, and love every second of it. San Francisco to Paris, London to New Orleans, Switzerland to LA, Munich to Seattle, and yet somehow I had yet to visit New York. An hour plane ride, a $130 ticket, and yet we’d never been. My dad and I went, as we do every spring break, on a trip just me and him. I had no idea what to expect. Just another Chicago? I’d heard of things like 5th Avenue and Central Park, but had no real knowledge of the place. As I investigated things to do while there, I became a little more excited but was still pretty clueless.
It so happens that in my American History class, we were studying the Harlem Renaissance. My teacher is amazing and is full of wacky, awesome stories from his life, and he expressed to us countless times about how we must visit NYC. Him and I agree on pretty much everything – we have very similar outlooks on life and the state of our union – and so I was thrilled to hear he loved it there.
From the second we set foot in the city, you just felt it. An electric current runs through the whole place. Everyone is alive and and everything is alive. The amount of diversity that people talk about there being is an understatement. People there are almost united in how purely different they all are. It’s not just ethnicity either, its everything. Swear to god, I saw two white guys with afros. Huge ones. Women dressed better than I actually thought possible were walking on the same streets as men in purple sparkly pants, and guys were holding hands, and hundreds of languages were being spoken, and dogs were on subways and in Sak’s 5th Avenue (ON 5TH AVENUE!) – it was just beautiful. Everyone was just doing their own thing. It isn’t like people are just super accepting there, it just isn’t even a thought. With LGBT rights in the news (and as FB profile pics) lately, I’ve been trying to wrap my mind on how they could possibly not overturn DOMA, and having been to NYC, I feel even more stunned that there is anyone opposed. It sure seems that the most important part of our constitution is the “pursuit of happiness,” right? Or, at least, that’s the only part we fully educated American’s can remember. Maybe it’s just me, but seeing as how homosexuals are nicknamed “gay” which literally means happy, I think it’s safe to assume they are in line with that. I can only hope that New York is a glimpse into the future of how all American’s will treat each other. I digress.
Because of all these grand aforementioned things, NYC is the world capitol of people watching. It is at least 75% of the experience. In Soho, every person that walked by literally took my breath away. Man, woman, young, old, black, white, brown you name it- stunning. My dad and I came up with the acronym GCH, or God Chiseled Human. Their bodies, their hair, their clothes, their shoes, everything! My dad and I were both wearing $200 jeans, I was in a Marmot, him in a Northface, both in nice scarves, and we looked like utter trash. Most stores we didn’t even go into we felt so uncomfortable. And it’s not that other people weren’t wearing jeans, it was just that their’s were literally custom sewn onto their chiseled bodies by gods. But of course, it’s New York, so we were the only ones that would have been uncomfortable. I did manage to go into the Leica store, after running across the street squealing after seeing the red dot flag in the air, only to leave sad at knowing I will likely never afford one.
That’s only Soho though, and you have to understand, every neighborhood is a completely different place. Every time we emerged from the subways, it was like we landed somewhere completely new. The subways themselves are a whole other world. You can walk multiple city blocks underground, filled with wonderful music and preaching and the wind of passing trains. Here are a few iPhone shots from the “underground world.”
The trip overall was amazing. We didn’t have a car, and I bet we walked over 50 miles. We took the subway a ton, and I felt totally immersed within the city. Our feet ached but we just couldn’t stop walking, seeing, feeling. I’m already planning my next trip and can’t wait to be back! Here are some random shots, enjoy!