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September 9th 2010
Published: September 9th 2010
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Went to Ground Zero yesterday. It's now a building site. They're making a memorial plaza with fountains and the like in the layout of the foundations of the destroyed buildings. I got quite choked up to be at the point where the deaths of tens of thousands of people began in a war that still has no end in sight. I then made the mistake of going into St Paul's Chapel, which was right next to the building site. I was suckered in by the fact it is the oldest building on Manhattan and George Washington used to pray there (they've even preserved his pew). But instead of historical content it was of course full of 9/11 memorials, which upset me even more.

In the churchyard there is a bell, given by the City of London and cast by the same guys who made the Liberty Belle and Big Ben. Apparently it was rung after the Madrid bombings and 7/7.

By now wishing I had never come to New York I went to the New York City Police Museum, hoping to find lots of stories of cops and robbers to entertain me. Instead I found a memorial to NY's police casualties at 9/11 and a room containing all the badges of all the NYPD officers ever killed in the line of duty. Very upsetting.

On the plus side the museum did contain some wonderful improvised weapons used by criminals over the years. My favourite was two horseshoes nailed to a baseball bat. Bet they haven't thought of that one in Hackney yet!

Anyway, by now needing a large hankie and a hug, and with neither available, I went in a bar and had a pint and lunch. Feeling bloated but better I went down to Battery Park which overlooks the Statue of Liberty and what should I come across but a giant memorial to all the US Navy personnel who died in the 41-45 conflict. That set me right off again and made me decide that there was no way I was going to Ellis Island to see how the immigrants suffered. I also really didn't fancy the Statue ferry by this point. Besides, there's something quite romantic about Liberty as a distant but unreachable figure from the shore (see photo).

To cheer myself up I decided to go to the South Street Seaport and what should I happen to pass on the way but a Vietnam Veterans memorial plaza. Lower Manhattan is miserable!!

Anyway, the Seaport was quite fun for 5 minutes, featuring the world's 2nd largest sailing ship still afloat and the world's largest cast iron ship afloat. I then walked up the Brooklyn Bridge which is huge and affords some pretty spectacular views of the East River and Brooklyn Heights. Back down I went through the labyrinth of Chinatown (very evocative) and then up through Little Italy (not so). By this point, after 6 hours of wandering in 32c heat with no cloud cover, I decided to go back to the hotel.

Today I'm going to do something fun and cheerful that doesn't involve quite so much exposure to the sun. I could really do with a laugh.


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Wall StreetWall Street
Wall Street

Where the crash happened. I thought about reenacting the crash by throwing myself into oncoming traffic, but then thought better of it.
Fire EscapesFire Escapes
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Yes, most buildings in New York have fire escapes running down the front. Handy for cop chases, death-defying escapes and Batman.
US Navy MemorialUS Navy Memorial
US Navy Memorial

The slabs are covered with the names of the dead.
A seagull that thinks it's a pigeon...A seagull that thinks it's a pigeon...
A seagull that thinks it's a pigeon...

...or a pigeon disguised as a seagull. Never did quite figure out which.
A very interesting set of bronze figuresA very interesting set of bronze figures
A very interesting set of bronze figures

These were not labelled or even highlighted. They were at one end of battery park on the side of a jetty. I thought they were really interesting,
Distant LibertyDistant Liberty
Distant Liberty

A schooner heads for the distant promise of Liberty, as uncatchable as the horizon.
Town Car ParkTown Car Park
Town Car Park

New York style!


9th September 2010

I love the town car park! How on earth do they do that? Clearly their cars are far more technically advanced than ours! The bronze figures are very interesting I agree. You can see how high the water gets by the marks on the wall. Bit sad when the water comes right up and covers the figure hanging down over the wall though, bet he gets right fed-up!
9th September 2010

I think with the car park the car drives backwards onto a pallet and it rises up from the ground. A new pallet beneath it emerges from underground ready for the next car. Presumably when someone wants their car back from the top the cars below disappear underground so that the car at the top can get to ground level. Sort of clever but sort of mightily complicated and prone to mechanical errors. Not sure if it's genius or deranged!
17th September 2010

Hi Steve, Have finally found some time to get onto your site - and work out how it all works. The ECDL certificate did not equip me for this. Anyway, just to say on this entry, really like your pics and, on some of the others (I've been working backwards), that one of my most indelible memories of The States is the way they ask you what you think of their country, expecting you to say 'wonderful'. It's quite difficult thinking what to say in response. re NY I found it all quite difficult tho I think the States as a whole makes you re-think your assumptions and views about life etc as Americans are so open about expressing extreme views. Hope you make it to Boston (remember the Chinese bus) and Cape Cod. I much preferred both those but then Lara loved NY.

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