Back from New York.
No photos as our digital camera bit it and all we had were disposables which need to be developed.
We left before the freezing rain but it did rain practically the entire time we were there.
However, we did hang out in Time Square. We can say that we saw Rockefeller Center (weirdly small and totally out of proportion to what it looks like on television). I defy anyone to say that they went to New York and went Christmas Shopping and had an enjoyable, nay shall I say, RELAXING time. Cheek to jowl with thousands of strangers just isn't my thing. It was funny though as we walked through Rockefeller Center and I realized that "30 Rock" is the ADDRESS! I actually grabbed my daughter's arm and proclaimed this revelation and I got the typical withering teenage glance. I was without hope.
We went into FAO Schwartz which didn't feel like it was the biggest toy store on earth. It was just really crowded and full of deep, deep discounts.
We went to John's Pizzeria
and Magnolia Bakery and my daughter found nirvana at Kinokuniya.
We did go down to Ground Zero and I really had conflicted feelings. I know that I really was annoyed when I would be asked by by passers in Oklahoma City where the Federal Building was as I felt that it was unseemly to gawk at tragedy. I also felt this when I worked as a paramedic and people would slow down to check out the car accident that you were working at. Just because I am doing CPR two feet away from your car's wheels does not mean that I care to be viewed as an animal in the zoo. How would you feel if this person was your loved one? Or yourself? Divert your damn eyes and go home and hug your babies.
So I was uncomfortable with being a tragedy tourist. It was pelting down rain, our umbrellas were being turned inside out, and I was soaked to the bone. As soon as we found out where the memorial was, we hurried there and the second we stepped inside, we were confronted by a man who undoubtedly repeats his speech a thousand times a day yet somehow manages to maintain an earnestness that was disarming. There was also not enough room for all the people coming in to stand comfortably as the greeter went through his speal. People were standing in the monsoon as he tried to wring a few more bucks out of me.
"Would you like to pay an extra $5.00 and wait 20 minutes for a guided tour by an actual survivor of 9/11?"
I think I gawped at him. I could think of nothing worse than that. I know that everyone processes tragedy differently but seven years later, I can't imagine living the story everyday. I can't imagine standing in front of a crowd that might have other things on their minds, that might not be able to process the information, that would never be able to fully comprehend the horror of it all. I can't imagine going through a horrifying event and reliving it everyday, saying it over and over again until I could repeat it without crying, without feeling the horror of it. I can't imagine making it an everyday event.
Yeah, that's what went through my mind in like, five seconds. Needless to say, we paid our $10 each and went through the exhibit. There were times when I felt teary, overwhelmed, and at one with the people around us. After being a little exhausted by how brusk and unfeeling New Yorkers appear, it was important to see what it took to wake these people up from their own narcissism and self importance.
There was also an incident at our hotel which was a supposedly nice hotel on Central Park. It was an old hotel which didn't have a lot of modern amenities but as my daughter said "It felt like first class on the Titanic". On our second night there, I was in the bathroom with the light off and my daughter was sitting on her bed. As I looked down, I saw the biggest cockroach that I had ever seen sitting next to my foot. Now, I've been overseas and I've seen flies as big as my outstretched hand but for some reason, this cockroach in this upscale environment, freaked me out. I threw a washcloth over it to slow it down and scuttled out of the bathroom as my daughter called the front desk. As soon as she said cockroach, the concierge was up in our room, being all French and trying to be all professional. He opened the bathroom and gasped "Holy Shit!" It took him three blows with the newspaper to stop it and then we got a "roach coupon" for a free breakfast. My daughter and I determined that they probably had a "roach kit" prepared for just those phone calls. It would be a velvet box, bejewelled like a Faberge egg, and when you opened it there would be a rolled up newspaper and a coupon for a free breakfast.
Aside from all this, we had a good time. My daughter liked the School for Visual Arts and the conference that I went to was interesting. And I especially enjoyed the second day of the conference when the ceiling in the hotel started leaking water through one of the ceiling lights all over the conference participants at the table below.