Checked into The Jane Hotel (google it, its nifty) in the evening, and decided for a walk on The High Line (google that too ;))
This is a little more like it. A performance artist, posing stock-still. The passers-by's reactions were the most fun, they seemed to find it hilarious.
Another view from The Line. Its amazing how different familiar streets look from 2 stories up:
On to the nearby Hudson River Park. Lots of cyclists and joggers. Great evening view of the Financial District:Lots of walking. Walked around the west Village, looking for a place to eat. Found a funky little pizzeria on 4th St. (?), and had 2 Sicilian slices for $7.
Up early the next morning (for New York). Drove down to the Financial District, and ate breakfast at McDonald's. Too early for The Tower, so checked out Trinity Church, and a very neatly groomed old graveyard.
Back to the WTC area. The area has a very strong police presence these days. Cops in kiosks, cops on the street telling you which sidewalk you can use.
Wow. If they want to close Vesey St. instantly, they can do it.
At the Memorial, the South Pool. I have mixed feelings about this. Its dramatic & beautiful architecture, and the water has a soothing sound. From where you can stand, you can only see the water falling literally, into a Black Hole. This is supposed to symbolize "loss", but I find it negative, as if the victims have disappeared into oblivion & nothingness. I would rather have seen something that symbolizes, regeneration rebirth, something rising perpetually. The "Freedom Tower" is supposed to do that, but after visiting it, it seems to speak more of fear than defiance.
On to the aforementioned.
It looks nice in the morning light. It was just opening, and there were only a few dozen people around. Now, I hadn't been up in a large skyscraper since 9/11, and I seemed to think it would be a matter of passing Security, buying the ticket, and going up, but they control your every move these days. Even without crowds, there seemed to be a lot of waiting in line to pass, for no apparent reason.
There was a nifty place (they start you out in the basement) where you walk through bedrock, and are informed about the construction process.On to the elevators.
There was a high-tech video display that played on the walls of the elevator, showing the development of New York as you rise, It reaches the "present" when you reach the top. Interesting, but a 100-story elevator ride in 60 seconds is trippy enough without it.
When I got off the elevator, I wanted very badly to walk around and shake off the "land sickness". but we were funneled into another waiting area, where a video was projected onto a curtain. The curtain was raised briefly to give a live view.
Then it got irritating. After being released from this line, The tour guides informed the crowd of an i-phone application that would explain all the sights from a location in the observatory! They even lent out tablets. There are no printed signs about the view. So, I thought that a 100-story view of New York City might actually make people put the darned thing down for a few minutes, but nahhh...
Then it got a little more irritating. Unbeknownst to me, many people had purchased some "photo at the top" type of thing, and again stood in a line. I didn't know what was going on-was it a Mandatory Mug Shot? I said I didn't want a picture, so they told me to "move on". I almost got mouthy, but checked myself-figured that any aberrant behavior might get me tazed or worse.
Free at last! The view was amazing, and the observatory was more psychologically comfortable that the old WTC's.