Twelve years after the attack the Financial District almost appeared like on any other day. But just almost.
I missed the annual reading of the names. That was in the morning, before I usually get up. The 9/11 memorial was closed to the public the whole day. Just the store was open.
WTC is still a big construction site. One World Trade Center is completely built up but still has uncovered parts.
Next to the memorial there was a solemn wake for the firefighters.
Firefighters were drinking in the surrounding bars. Their way of mourning as Priya told me.
She has almost been a witness. In her office in SoHo she heard the crash when the first plane hit the tower. The sky was still clear afterwards, she remembered. Somebody said it must have been a small airplane. They were evacuated then. Nobody knew what else would happen. When she walked up 6th Avenue she looked back just once. The towers were gone.
I started the day with another fight with Astor. He was a bit too interested in my breakfast, consisting of just a cereal. He was not willing to accept that I did not want to share it with him. As soon as I put the bowl on the table his snout was in it and he tried to lick the milk.
After breakfast I did some communication, had a chat with Priya and then I left to have lunch at the Peruvian place on Smith Street. They offer a lunch special. I had Peruvian paella, with chorizo and seafood.
When I walked up to Borough Hall to catch a subway to Downtown Manhattan I passed a Metro PCS store on Fulton Street. It reminded me that I had to pay my phone bill, so I walked in. As long as I am here now I have never been treated so unfriendly in a shop. The guy was hanging in a chair behind his desk, apparently bothered by me coming in and wanting him to do something. He did not talk to me in proper American English but in like kinda slang. I understood he wanted to know my phone number, which I gave him. Then he asked if I wanted to upgrade my phone. Would save me like 100 bucks because Metro is going together with t-mobile, y’know?. Without further explanation, still hanging in his chair. I didn’t want to upgrade my phone. He didn’t like that. When I handed him my credit card he told me I need to call on the phone. I didn’t understand. There was a credit card machine standing right in front of me but from one of his next kinda sentences I understood that this store didn’t accept credit cards. I left. There must be other Metro PCS stores in Brooklyn.
When I swiped my Metro card at the turnstile in Borough Hall subway station I was told that there was not sufficient fare on it. I had not realized it would expire today. Completely unorganized. I went to the machine, refilled it with 30 more days and was allowed in.
I got off at Bowling Green and walked up Broadway to the WTC site. On my way I passed the Bowling Green Bull, that mysteriously had appeared in front of the Stock Exchange one day in 1989. Again it was surrounded by lots of tourists who wanted their photo taken.
As well I passed Trinity Church where Trinity Root is still standing in the churchyard. The bronze sculpture reminds of the root of a sycamore tree that is said to have protected St. Paul’s Chapel from the falling debris.
I entered the Memorial shop. There they have the timeline that on my first visit was posted on the fence around the site. On a video screen witnesses and people who had lost somebody told their memories. I bought two refrigerator magnets showing the surviving tree, that had been found on the grounds, had been rescued and now is growing in the memorial site. I tried to walk around the WTC site but was forced to take the deviation by the bridge over to World Financial Center. There a Mercedes Benz show was going on, while part of the buildings are in renovation. I guess due to Sandy, but I’m not sure about that.
Having completed my round I looked for shoes at Century 21. In vain of course. I had an apple, cucumber and pineapple smoothie, good for my face, and walked east, into Wall Street, along Broad Street, to the East River and finally to Pearl Street and Stone Street. The tables on Stone Street were just filling up with office people who had a drink and a bite before going home.
I had an iced coffee to go and went home as well.
I got off the subway at Borough Hall again, paid my phone bill in another store where I was treated friendly, found the local Trader Joe’s on Court Street and shopped some groceries. Next door is a wine shop where I got a bottle of Sauvignon to have with my stuffed grape leaves.
After having brought my purchases home and got Priya’s 9/11 memories I left again to see Tribute in Light from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Two blue towers of light emerge from the place where the Twin Towers had been every year on 9/11.