Finding Lightness at the World Trade Center

On a recent, sunny, crisp afternoon, I took a walk through Lower Manhattan.  I decided to head below ground to see the place where I had walked exactly 16 years and 6 days ago.  It was the old World Trade Center Plaza where I had stood in a soft rain on Sept. 10th, 2001, only to learn that the free dance performance I’d come to see had been rained out.

I then walked through the dark, claustrophobic rabbit warren of a mall that occupied the few floors just below ground, picked up a few things and went home.  I had no idea what would happen to this place only 12 hours later.

After the tragedy of September 11, 2001, there were seemingly endless quarrels and delays in the rebuilding process.  As a result, it happened in a piece-meal fashion.  There were some highlights- the opening of 7 World Trade Center, shiny and futuristic just a few years later.  Then there was the demolition of the Deutsche Bank building and the slow rise of 1 World Trade Center (the Freedom Tower) which finally opened in 2013.

Alongside the Freedom Tour, the bony wings of Calatrava’s “phoenix” also slowly transformed a new transit station.  Again, it was beleaguered by delays.

My walk this weekend confirmed, at least for me, that the wait was worth it.  Although the new space is largely a mall- the Westfield World Trade Center- it is also a lovely, soaring public space.  It is light-filled and white, with clean bathrooms, a myriad of food, market and retail options.  It’s soaring wings seem to protect us from the canyons of skyscrapers on all sides, and the Oculus seems to be a fitting reminder of what once stood there.

On a recent, sunny, crisp afternoon, I took a walk through Lower Manhattan.  I decided to head below ground to see the place where I had walked exactly 16 years and 6 days ago.  It was the old World Trade Center Plaza where I had stood in a soft rain on Sept. 10th, 2001, only to learn that the free dance performance I’d come to see had been rained out.

I then walked through the dark, claustrophobic rabbit warren of a mall that occupied the few floors just below ground, picked up a few things and went home.  I had no idea what would happen to this place only 12 hours later.

After the tragedy of September 11, 2001, there were seemingly endless quarrels and delays in the rebuilding process.  As a result, it happened in a piece-meal fashion.  There were some highlights- the opening of 7 World Trade Center, shiny and futuristic just a few years later.  Then there was the demolition of the Deutsche Bank building and the slow rise of 1 World Trade Center (the Freedom Tower) which finally opened in 2013.

Alongside the Freedom Tour, the bony wings of Calatrava’s “phoenix” also slowly transformed a new transit station.  Again, it was beleaguered by delays.

My walk this weekend confirmed, at least for me, that the wait was worth it.  Although the new space is largely a mall- the Westfield World Trade Center- it is also a lovely, soaring public space.  It is light-filled and white, with clean bathrooms, a myriad of food, market and retail options.  It’s soaring wings seem to protect us from the canyons of skyscrapers on all sides, and the Oculus seems to be a fitting reminder of what once stood there.

 

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A View from Above: an Urbanite’s Guilty Pleasure

If you have ever spent a significant amount of time in a large metropolis, you will know that there are at least three major ways to view a city: at street level; from a distance (think skyline); and from above.  While each of these vantage points have their charms, for many urbanites, a high perch from which to observe life below qualifies as a guilty pleasure.

I have lived in several Brooklyn neighborhoods, in apartments steadily rising: first at ground level; then a few floors up; later on the eleventh floor and now to an even higher floor.  I relish the view, which encompasses a wide variety of neighborhoods and landmarks.  I also appreciate the distance from the din of traffic and commerce, and the ability to see weather systems approaching and the setting sun.

Now I will share some shots with you, see if they bring you pleasure!

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Finding Humanity at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Having visited museums on three continents, I still get a thrill out of calmly strolling in to my “local” great art institution- The Metropolitan Museum Art.  I come in with an idea of exactly what I want to see, fresh feet, and (some) sense of direction.  I have the luxury of having visited many times.  I have carved out this time for a visit and am not just checking this “site” off my list.

I’m not knocking tourists- it is not always an easy job- sensory and muscle fatigue are common.  My most recent visit to the Met put me there in the height of New York City’s tourist season.  Tens of millions of tourists flock to the City and of these, a large percentage pass through the Met’s doors.

I decided to isolate myself from the throngs of selfie-takers by focusing on HUMAN elements in the museum.  For this reason, statues attracted me.  Here are some poor quality mobile phone shots that I think are still splendid in their human-ness.

I look forward to my next visit!

Escape the Jangle of the City

via Daily Prompt: Jangle

Within of my favorite places, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, I recently discovered the reinvigorated Native Flora Garden.  I found it to be an incredible escape from the jangle of life in New York City.  Brookyn’s three million human inhabitants so often get the upper hand and it is easy to forget that we are not alone in the city.  This garden is cool and quiet and ripe with life, the perfect respite on a busy summer day.

 

Beyond the Cityscape

Over the past 15 years, I have been primarily interested in documenting city life both at home in New York and abroad.  Parks and green spaces within urban areas have also been a frequent theme in my photography.  However, last fall I began taking some photography classes that have encouraged me to expand my repertoire.  These experiences have encouraged me to look up, down, and sideways for the unexpected within the city’s confines, for happy accidents that create interesting visual imagery.

Here are a few of my recent photographic experiments.  I hope you enjoy them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome, spring!

spring campus-COLLAGESpring has finally arrived in New York City.  In our northern climate, she often sneaks in slowly and flies away quickly, squeezed on either side by the more muscular New York winters and summers.

The warmer weather means a return to blogging for me, as I much prefer taking photos in the light of spring in summer.  Today I offer a haiku in celebration, and of course, a few photos.

The Bashful Tree

The pink and white tree

knows not whom she wants to be.

Spread your wings, dear tree!

pink-white tree

Waiting for the Bus at Sundown

  1. 20170307_17253320170307_173813I  tend to wax poetic in my posts about New York City. Today I will not cover art, music, dance or culture. I will simply share some photos taken with my Samsung Galaxy 7 camera while enduring an extra long wait for the bus in Brooklyn. Waiting, after all, is part of contemporary life, especially for urbanites.

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