Saturday, April 28, 2007

Now Then

When I first went to the US of A in 1998 I was a relative newbie to the business of travelling alone and a definte newbie to the country. As things transpired I had 12 hours as I landed in New York to catch a connecting flight to Chicago to begin a long cross country working tour. I had that one day only to get my glimpse of New York.

My dad's first job was in an office in Battery Park, just across from the Staten Island ferry. His company then became one of the first shift of tenants to move into the World Trade Centre when it was completed in 1971. When I sought his advice on what to do in that one day he said that ideally I should get myself from the airport to the World Trade Centre and then sit in it's shadow with a Pastrami-on-Rye sandwich from any of the many deli's in its vicinity for company and contemplate the world sitting the shadow of the towers. And then I could go and do the touristy sightseeing. Of course he was being sentimental. As it turned out his conviction that this would be a good introduction to a city was spot on. They were magnificant buildings, like nothing I had ever seen before. After a quick sandwich hunting walk around the area I sat on a bench and stared at their looming dominance whilst chomping on the tastiest sandwich ever. I'm ever so glad I took my dad's advice all those years ago.

I was going back after 9 years and it was not without trepidation. So much has changed, the world itself was such a different place. It is quite something to go back to that place and not see the towers but instead a building site for the Freedom Tower. V never had the opportunity to see the original buildings but he could see how much I wanted to go back to have a look, so after lunch that the very first day in New York, we went along to have a look. The area is buzzing with people and a palpable energy but there is an unmistakable silence that resonates from the spot where the towers stood. Ground Zero as it is now known is encircled with a wire-metal fence and these wonderful large format photographs adorn it in memory of the people who lost their lives there. As we stood there I reflected on how lucky I was to have seen the original buildings. Old photographs do not do them justice.

I should listen to my father more often.


  1. Reading your post, so beautifully written gave me goose bumps .. dunno why ... on a lighter note,I think I should listen to my dad more often too :-)

  2. What a coincidence. I just emailed a friend in New York as its her birthday. Have a fantastic trip.

    And thanks so much for your advice on making rotis. I tried again and they came out really well!

  3. SS: Thank you. Yeah I should listen more and talk less - a vital ingredient in becoming a better child and a less selfish human being...

    Mallika: Glad roti's turned out well. I think you mis-read my post - I've already had a fantastic trip - sadly its over and I am now back to slaving over work in London!

  4. "The area is buzzing with people and a palpable energy but there is an unmistakable silence that resonates from the spot where the towers stood."

    So true... I get an empty feeling in my stomach just thinking about it.