02 July 2002


In New York 

The destruction of the World Trade Center has left two gaping holes in New York City.

The one I hadn't really thought about before today was the hole in the skyline. We rode the ferry out to the Statue of Liberty. From the island I looked back at the city while Sonya took pictures.

I've only been to New York once before, but it seemed like no matter where I was I could catch a glimpse of those two towers rising off to the south. Hell, the last time I came to town the World Trade Center was the only landmark I saw from the air as the plane came in to land. And you go your whole life seeing New York on TV and in movies, on postcards and posters. Those towers were visual shorthand for the city, like the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building.

Now it's gone, and the south end of Manhattan looks strangely bare, like if someone with long hair went out and got a number one cut.

The other hole has been well-documented, but it's no less jarring for it. The clean-up's done, of course, and now it resembles a gigantic construction site, albeit with ragged edges.

I've heard lots of talk of vendors and a carnival atmosphere at Ground Zero, but I didn't see it today. Just a somber crowd staring silently through a chain link fence, watching a handful of workers mill about inside. Some people were crying. Others were signing a flag someone had hung on a fence.

Then, for a complete change of pace, we went into Century 21, a bustling discount department store where (so I'm told) designer originals sometimes end up on the racks for a fraction of their original price. I was a bit disappointed with the men's selection as was Kent.

"I might buy some stuff here," Kent said, "if I were a ghetto superstar."

Then we went for lunch at a kosher deli where Kent and James and I were the only men not wearing yarmalukes. The food was very tasty, but it gave me a violent round of gas afterwards.