Saturday, August 20, 2005

Hole in the Sky

Day 2 in the Big Apple. We started the day by taking a cab to the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge and then walking back to Manhattan. I am reading David McCullough's book "The Great Bridge" which is about building the Brooklyn Bridge and I just read 1776 which also has something to do with sneaking the Revolutionary Army across the East River from Brooklyn Heights to Manhattan in the middle of the night. That would have been much easier if this bridge had already been there. The bridge is a remarkablestructure, particularly for its time and the views of the city it provides are equally impressive.

As we got off the bridge, we walked down towards ground zero, aka the World Trade Center site. I had never really been there before September 11 so I didn't really have a sense of how tall the World Trade Center towers were but it is really remarkable when you get there how huge the hole their absense creates. As you walk about Manhattan, you just get used to having tall buildings everywhere but when you walk into the plaza today there is this vast gray sky and nothing to fill it. I was awestruck not just by the enormity of what had happened there almost four years ago but also by the impact this open space has today. I'm sure that once they build the new tower and memorials it will start to get back to normal but for now, it is a powerful place to visit.

After ground zero, we headed back to the hotel where Kate and Zach caught up on some sleep while Leslie and I went to the United Nations. I was psyched to try to get cool pictures of 191 flags all in a row. Boy, was I disappointed when I got there and the only flag that was flying was the UN flag itself and all of the rest of them were locked up in the boxes at the base of the flagpoles. Wah!

We did go on the tour of the facility, getting some good pictures of the General Assembly hall and Security Council chambers. The most interesting thing to me was that they let us take pictures just about anywhere in there. When we visited Washington last year, they were very picky about where we could and couldn't take pictures and even at the NBC tour, cameras were not allowed but here at the UN it was allowed -- even welcomed. Nice.

Funny side note. Leslie was wearing a shirt that says "I'm Glib" on it. A reference to Tom Cruise's national nutty on the Today show. As we walked around today, a lot of people asked what glib was. At the UN, though, people actually knew what it meant.

The hole in the sky

The Brooklyn Bridge

The Statue of Liberty from the Brooklyn Bridge

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