Saturday, 25 February 2017

Big Apple 2-Ground Zero

Thursday 2nd February.
Destination for the day.

                  Our second day of the Big Apple birthday treat started with another visit to the Manhattan diner for our start up fuel for the day.French toast and Canadian bacon complete with the ubiquitous hash browns which were a meal on their own.Our plans were for a visit to the new Trade Centre and the 9/11 Memorial museum.I didn't think this was going to be as much of a fun day as yesterday but more thought provoking and I wasn't proved wrong.
Oor fav diner.
 The good thing about staying on Broadway albeit No 2552 is that it is just one Metro trip through to lower Manhattan.The only down side to the trip is the amount of entertainers/scroungers that get on at one stop do some sort of act then after passing the hat around disappear at the next station.Today's entertainment was in the form of a Mexican guitarist who strummed a few chords sang a few lines and stood there hoping for some monetary gain.His luck was out.I think the residents of New York have become immune to these "street artists".Yesterday's entertainment came in the form of a lad singing "God bless America".
                       We arrived at the new Trade Centre and even although it was mid morning in Lower Manhattan the square was very serene and even the usual tourists were pretty sedate obviously the recent history adds to the sombre mood that still hovers over this area.
                        Our first visit was to the the new tower and after going through airport type security which would prevail throughout our visit to the Big Apple we headed for the lift that took us from the ground floor straight up to the top viewing platform in less than a minute which went down well with Lady Watson-not!

                        The view from the viewing platform was magnificent with a 360' view right over Manhattan.The U.N building ,Empire State,Brooklyn Bridge,Statue of Liberty and every other landmark were there to be seen in all their glory.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. 

Pier 54 still awaiting the Titanic

                           After photos were taken and information read we headed back down towards the ground floor and a perusal around the Ground Zero square and   with its North and South pools which are situated in the exact spot of the towers belonging to the ill fated Trade Centre before heading into the 9/11 museum.

The North and South pools on the actual spots of the Two Towers inscribed with the names of the fallen.
 One prominent feature of the Ground Zero square is the "Survivor Tree"which is a Callery pear tree that withstood the falling of the two towers and also Hurricane Sandy which devastated Lower Manhattan in 2012.
The Survivor Tree ready again for blossoming.

         After visiting the actual Ground zero square we headed into the newly opened 9/11 museum and prepared ourselves for a rather sombre visit and even then we weren't prepared for the sights and sounds we saw.Everybody knows what happened on that fateful day but this museum brings it all back and tells you even more about things that happened behind the scenes and all the equipment that survived the destruction of the two towers.
Picture taken on the morning just before calamity struck.
                                 The bravery of the emergency services who without even thinking headed straight into the buildings without any hesitation and thought for themselves with a lot of them paying the ultimate price.
The helmet of Patrick John Brown who I'm afraid didn't make it.
These are three pictures of what was once a fire turntable.

There were plenty of reminders of that fateful day from pieces of uniform and equipment used by the emergency services as well as reminders from the survivors. A pair of blood encrusted high heeled shoes were donated by a survivor who only noticed the blood when she got home as rightly she had been very traumatised by the events she had just been involved in.

On display were the "Survivor stairs "which were used to save hundreds of people and funnel them away to safety.
Another  display was this motorbike which was bought by fireman Gerard Baptise of FDNY Ladder Company 9 in the summer of 2001. He had intended to restore it despite ridicule from his colleagues and friends.After his untimely demise on 9/11 his surviving colleagues and some motorbike enthusiasts got together to restore it as a memorial.It has 10 roses on it in memory of Gerard and the other 9 members of the company who lost their lives
A couple of supporting beams taken from the debris.
This is the last column ceremoniously removed from Ground Zero where workers and victim's relatives were allowed to leave memorials.
There were plenty of momentos around the museum none more so than the room containing the names and photos of the victims as well as the names of victims from the earlier bombing of 1993.I'm afraid you are not allowed to take photos in this room.Another poignant feature was the phone call from the lady in one of the hijacked planes phoning her family saying that there was a problem but was sure to see them all that evening.
We left the museum after a couple of thought provoking hours .
After leaving the museum we head for nearby St Paul's church which was nearby which was used as a refuge on that fateful day and also during the days after as a rest area for the rescue squads.

It is surprising given its closeness to Ground Zero that it only suffered one broken window.
After that thought provoking afternoon our plans were to find one of these gourmet restaurants called KFC but as always when you want one you can't find one.I suggested the food hall at Grand Central Station thinking there must be one there but no luck so we ended up at a chicken shack of some sort.
Food was consumed before heading of to see the Empire State Building at night hoping above hope to see the giant monkey.

Alas no monkey but we still headed up to the viewing platform in order to see New York at night and it was well worth the trek.A fitting end to our bust schedule for the day.We headed back to the hotel to rest our weary legs and to see if Trump and Arnie were still indulging in handbags at 20 paces.
I'll leave you with my funniest picture of the day.I'd love to see a car giving a piggyback.
See you when I see you.

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