Ground Zero

by Amazing 14 Replies latest jw friends

  • Amazing

    I recently traveled to New York City, but was not there to focus attention on the Watchtower. Rather, Ground Zero was on my agenda, and I was not disappointed, though I discovered a few surprises. I have been in the Twin Towers (WTC) several times, and have pictures of the view, including the Watchtower buildings across the East River. So to see Ground Zero had some significance to me.

    Upon arrival, I was stopped at a toll station when a guard saw a camera in the car. He asked what I was taking a picture of, to which I responded "Ground Zero, and other sight-seeing locations." He then cautioned me not to take pictures of the inside of tunnels, nor of the inside of any buildings in lower Manhattan. As he was talking, two uniform officers approached and stood in front of my car, while two military guards stood at the rear with their hands on their M-16s. The toll guard then asked who I was, where I was from, what I was doing in New York, and when I plan to leave. I was stunned - and then the realization that we are a nation at war really hit me.

    Ground Zero: I was not shocked at the large 16-acre cavity that once hosted the Twin Towers and other buildings ... it was just as seen on TV. What did surprise me was the many large 30, 40, 50 and higher story buildings that still had giant netted cloths draping over them like caskets ... the netting was there because their siding was loose, with windows still blown out. The adjacent damage was much more massive than I realized. It was dreadful ... but ... even more stunning was the presence of many soldiers walking around, again with their hands on their M-16s ... waiting for anything to go wrong. America is at war!

    Leaving New York. I drove out onto Long Island a ways ... got stuck in the usual traffic jambs and confusing mass of buildings and streets. Yet having been in New York many times, I was still familiar with the layout. I then found my way down to the southern beltway and headed to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. It was misty, and the bridge stood out like a silver version of the Golden gate in the Twilight Zone. As I got across to Staten Island ... I looked across and saw a delivery truck pulled over by two squad cars and three Hummers full of soldiers ... this time their hands were aiming their guns at the man they pulled out of the truck ... he appeared to be of middle eastern origin ... America is at war!

    The rest of the country between Chicago and New York and back was seemingly normal ... Pennsylvania Turnpikes still charge an arm and a leg ... but at least they keep their roads up better than New York ... and the folks at Hershey Pennsylvania still make great Chocolate. Yet, I still can't get those images of New York out of my mind ... how much we have changed since 9-11 ... and how serious this situation is with America at War ... somehow, it seemed so overwhelming that I forgot to even look at the Watchtower headquarters as I crossed into Brooklyn ... somehow, the serious issues of real life made me forget the old fantasies of the JW religion ... you know ... the promised new world of peace and righteousness ... a world that will never come. - Simply Amazing

  • dedalus

    Nice post -- thanks for sharing.

    forgot to even look at the Watchtower headquarters as I crossed into Brooklyn ... somehow, the serious issues of real life made me forget the old fantasies of the JW religion

    I especially like this part. I'm sure the world is more frightening through non-JW eyes ... but at least it is real.


  • SheilaM

    Wow powerful images

  • Soledad
    He asked what I was taking a picture of, to which I responded "Ground Zero, and other sight-seeing locations."

    I cant help but cringe when people treat ground zero like a tourist attraction instead of a mass grave, which is what it really is sorry can't help it.

  • dedalus

    I hear you, Soledad. I didn't get the impression that Amazing was there for vicarious thrills, though.

    A lot of "tourist attractions" are graves of some sort or another. I guess it's human nature to be curious about history and all of its morbid monuments and ruins. Doesn't necessarily make that curiousity shallow or disrespectful, though.


  • Max Divergent
    Max Divergent

    Thanks for that Amazing. I was in NYC (and Washington DC) for the first time in January and visited Ground Zero and spent most of my time in Midtown.

    In contrast to your impression, I was suprised at the seeming normality and lack of damage of the buildings and hubub of life around the site. Maybe I was in a different spot or am less attuned to spotting building damage, but it struck me as being much like a planned building site.

    Maybe in my naivity as a first time visitor (or because it was the holiday period, or because the Iraq war hadn't started,or becuase I was on the subway not driving), I was struck by the relaxed-ness of the city generally and the lack of obviuous security. I was allowed to film inside buildings too (except Macy's!).

    The only time I noticed it was late at night when the army (?) were outside the Port Authority train station near (on?) Broardway (you know where I mean!) armed with MP5's. Through the day the were army uniformed security mostly drinking coffee and talking to their friends just with sidearms (Mmm... did they had M16's? If they did they were discreet).

    Even airport security was less intrusive than I'd imagained it to be and seemed less intense than entering alot of public buildings. I had metal loops on my boots which set off the detectors, so provided I took those off it was quicker and easier to get through LAX, Washington National and JFK than the country airport I usually go through in a remote area of Australia (they only get half a dozen jets a day, so must like to be seen to earn their pay!).

    I walked down to the base of the Brooklyn Bridge (past a KH and a public dog exercise obstical course!) and looked across the water at the Headquarters. I always thought you could see 'Read God's Word Daily' on top of the building, but all I saw was one of those flashing signs with the time and temperature! (It was COLD!!!).

    I stayed in Sugar Hill, Harlem and it was great. And... there was a KH three doors from my accomodation!

    Anyway, it was a great trip and we're planning the next one now! At the moment it's Chicago and NYC in December, but Anne (it'll be her first time in the US, my third) is talking about Maine or Las Vegas instead of Chicago...

    Best regards, Max

  • Amazing

    Hi Max: I believe that things in New York are more tense since the outbreak of war in Iraq. I walked all the way around Ground Zero and was stunned by the many buildings drapped by netting ... it was hard to miss it. Maybe I can scan my pictures and post them ... maybe my recent photos will refresh your memory. If you make it to Chicago, let me know. Maybe we can have lunch.

    Hi Soledad: In no way do I think of Ground Zero as a tourist attraction. However, for the ease of quick communication at a check point with armed military and police questioning me ... I mean these guys were carrying M-16s and I did not want to piss them off. So, I felt that the use of the words 'tourist attraction' were the best ... I did not feel it was necessary to get into being politically-correct with precise and long-winded wording at the time. So, for ease of writing, I simply relayed just waht took place.

    Btw: I took a special opportunity to see Ground Zero precisely because of its emotional and special importance to me ... especially during this time of war. I also had friends who worked in the Twin Towers ... so it is a very somber and serious issue to me and in my life's experiences. This is an important juncture in history ... and I hope that in my lifetime our civilization will prevail over the wicked hatred that led to such evil actions on our soil.

  • manon

    Thanks Amazing for sharing your story about NYC. It is a different place than it once was. And yes we are reminded everyday at evercorner that we are at war. After the attacks on the WTC my relatives who participated in the recovery and clean up efforts spoke to me about the catastrophicness of it all. I was so frightened I didn't want to go near it. On the 1st year anniversary I decided I wanted to go see the site for myself. I felt it was necessary for me to go see.

    I went during the christmas holidays since the sights in NYC are so fantastic during this season. First stop ground zero. I lost my breath by the enormity of it all. I could see clear across to the west side highway from downtown Manhattan that was an unusual sight. My lower Manhattan was no longer the same the landscape had changed. Now my country is at war. What a sobering reality .

    Some New Yorker don't like visitors taking pictures of ground zero. I understand how they feel we are a little sensitive even protective. But this New Yorker doesn't mind I want the world to see it I don't want the world to forget.

    p.s. sorry about the pot holes, we had a wicked winter

  • minimus

    I went to Ground Zero about 2 months after the disaster with my wife. It was a very emotional experience. I can appreciate why the gov't. is extremely cautious in that area as well as other "landmarks".......Good to see you posting, Amazing!

  • lv4fer

    My family and I were in NY two weeks after 9/11 and we got as close as they would let you then, about 5 blocks away, and took pictures. What an eye opener. The smoke still rising we all just stook there in silence for the longest time. It was so sad and se

    kjeing it on TV was nothing like seeing it in person.

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