Tuesday, 11 November 2014

No 11: Missing

I was in New York two weeks before 9/11. In fact, on that occasion I had breakfast at a small place somewhere beneath the towers, precisely at the time the first plane hit 14 days later. I’ve been back to NYC since then, but never returned to ground zero, until today.

If you've been there before that day, the sense of there being something missing - the gap, for want of a better term - is overwhelming. If you hadn't, I suspect it would still feels very odd. In a city where everything is packed as tightly as possible, there’s a massive space where the twin towers used to be.

The memorial is elegant and dignified. Two giant fountain pools sitting in the footprint of the two towers, surrounded by the names of all the people who died. Beneath is a museum exhibit outlining the events of the day and the aftermath.

Strangely, not as depressing as I expected*. The memorial illustrates the strength of human character in the face of terror and our ability, as a species, to help one another and put our lives at risks for the sake of others. Not depressing, but very, very sad.

The Freedom Plaza South Tower Memorial, 11th November, 2014
So, what better New York way to cheer up than with Pizza? Not just any pizza. no no. A walk across the Brooklyn bridge to Grimaldi’s - the place where Frank Sinatra used to get his pizzas… shipped to him in Las Vegas. Now, I don’t know if they reheat well, but I can vouch for one thing - they sure are goooooood.

Large Pizza with italian sausage, pepperoni & extra cheese, Grimaldi's, Brooklyn, NY. 11th Nov 2013
*note. in case you are wondering, the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC is the most depressing place I have ever been.