We never called it Ground Zero

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As we walk diagonally across the Memorial, Steven* in true gentlemanly fashion is carrying the bag containing the head sets. On this walking tour, I am the lead docent and Steven is my support person.  Steven is new to the program and is a little apprehensive but when he speaks of “his guys” you hear and see his passion and expertise. You see the firefighter. It makes me smile how the firefighters Steven included always try to take care of me. I have carried that bag back to the Tribute Center many times through the ten years I have been volunteering.  I appreciate the gesture. I am grateful but I am capable. I am not the “little FDNY widow”.  In reality, Steven is actually shorter than I am and we are about the same age.

The Memorial is busy. There is a gentle buzz of activity.  I notice faces of visitors from many nations, hear softly spoken words, see tears being wiped, selfies being snapped and the sound of the south waterfall. As we walk along Steven suddenly comments “We (FDNY) never called it Ground Zero.”  We stop walking and I nod in agreement. The media said Ground Zero and to me that term Ground Zero always brought the image of a red and white target.  Steven continues “We called it the Pile and as we got lower we called it the Pit.”

The Pile I had seen that for myself on September 28, 2001.  I remember that massive hole (the Pit) in the ground from when I started volunteering at the Tribute Center in 2006. We continue walking and I add “and now it is the Plaza.” He nods in agreement.

Our conversation confirms in my mind something I had been pondering for a while, this place and I had been on parallel journeys since September 11, 2001. The World Trade Center which I had only visited twice before the attacks had become a travel companion. We had weathered the attacks, sorted through the debris, filled the void and remembered those we lost as we continued on.

*name has been changed

 

My ABC’s from 2015.

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Golden glitter

 

A is for adventures. A week in Florida Keys, a weekend in Chicago and being a tourist in my own city all qualify.

B is for ballet. I taught one class a week at a Modern Dance studio.

C is for Colton James. He was born on April 29, 2015.

D is for Dunkin Donuts. I drank quite a few cups of coffee.

E is for Eagle Rock Resort. Enjoyed my cabin and the amenities.

F is for faith, family and friends. I can’t do life without them.

G is for Grammy. My new title thanks to Colton James. 🙂

H is for hope. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

I is for interview. I did a couple of those.

J is for Joy.

K is for kindness.

L is for Library Book Club. Still going strong on the first Tuesday of each month.

M is for my Mum. She is doing well even though she is confined to a wheelchair.

N is for nieces and nephews. 7 plus 12 “grand” nieces and nephews. 🙂

O is for opportunities. I am blessed with many.

P is for published. “Unexpected Blessings” in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Volunteer and Giving Back edition and a devotional in The Upper Room.

Q is for quizzing. After 19 years, Eastern Regional Quiz at ENC was my last hurrah as Metro New York Children’s Ministries director for the Church of the Nazarene.

S is for shore. Spent a few days at the Jersey Shore with the Bowers.

T is for tea with Miss Carol. Always a treat.

U is for university. I spoke on two campuses.

V is for volunteering at the 9/11 Tribute Center.

W is for writing.

X is for eXercise.

Y is for year. Hard to believe another has come and gone.

Z is for zero. The number of regrets I have.

In 2016, I want to read and write more. I want to be present and not distracted. I want to be who God intended me to be.

 

 

 

getting back in the groove

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groove

Sometimes with writing (blogging) as with other things in life you just seem to fall out of step. A new commitment to babysit my grandson two days a week, add to that a couple of speaking engagements and interviews, increased travel to visit my mom and blogging fell to the bottom of the pile. I missed blogging (and I have some other writing I need to work on) so here is my public announcement that I am picking up my pen (well not really because I type) and putting my random ramblings on paper (screen) on a more regular basis. 🙂 I am getting back in the groove.

First up is a few quick recommendations for visiting the September 11 Memorial. Recently people from all parts (former high school classmates, pastors, etc.)  of my life have been asking “can you explain the difference between the Memorial, Tribute Center, One World Observatory and Museum to me?”

So here goes:

  1.  9/11 Tribute Center, 120 Liberty Street is 5 small galleries and walking tours of the September 11 Memorial Plaza. The daily walking tours are the crown jewel of the Tribute Center. Survivors, downtown residents, family members, first responders and volunteers during the rescue/recovery give 75 minute walking tours that include the history of the original World Trade Center, timeline of the attacks, rebuilding, symbolism of the Memorial and most importantly their personal story 9/11 Tribute Center tours started in 2005 and the galleries opened in 2006. This is who I volunteer with.  tributewtc.org
  2.  The National September 11 Memorial is open daily from 7:30am – 9:00pm. It is an open plaza. You don’t need tickets to visit. Take the time to walk around at least one of the pools so you can experience the size of the buildings. Pools are within the original foot[print of the building. The row of trees behind you when you are at the pool marks the walls of the original buildings – you are standing in the original buildings. The Memorial opened on September 11, 2011.  911memorial.org
  3. The National September 11 Memorial Museum is open Sunday – Thursdays from 9:00am – 8:00pm and Fridays – Saturdays from 9:00am – 9:00pm but last entry is 6:00pm/7:00pm respectively. You need to purchase tickets online. Allow at least 2 hours to visit and be kind to yourself. The museum has a lot of amazing artifacts. It is arranged with a in memoriam section and a historical section. Don’t miss the video from NASA. The Museum opened in May of 2014.  911memorial.org
  4. One World Observatory is open daily from 9:00am – 8:00pm with last entry at 7:15pm. One World Observatory is the observation deck of the new 1WTC. You will need to purchase tickets. It opened in May of 2015. oneworldobservatory.com

 

My thoughts:

You will get more out of visiting The National September 11Memorial if you do a 9/11 Tribute Center walking tour.

If you are not from “around these parts”, do a 9/11 Tribute Center walking tour of The National September 11 Memorial and go to One World Observatory.

If you have children do a walking tour and then decide if The National September 11 Museum is appropriate for your family. Remember to your children September 11 is history, to you it is current event.

All four places are worth your time and money but you need to pace yourself so do a walking tour (& galleries) your first visit, the museum another visit and the observatory another time.

The Museum is artifacts and information.

The walking tours are stories and inspiration.

The Observatory is cool views.

 

 

https://missannsays.com/2014/05/18/national-september-11-memorial-museum/

https://missannsays.com/2014/05/13/travel-tuesdays-s2e2-911-memorial-museum/

 

 

 

 

Travel Tuesdays S3E1- The Whitney

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Yesterday friends and I visited The Whitney Museum of American Art at it’s new location in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan. Cool neighborhood. According to The Whitney’s website:

“The Whitney Museum of American Art was borne out of sculptor Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s advocacy on behalf of living American artists. At the beginning of the twentieth century, artists with new ideas found it nearly impossible to exhibit or sell their work in the United States. Recognizing the obstacles these artists faced, Mrs. Whitney began purchasing and showing their work, thereby becoming the leading patron of American art from 1907 until her death in 1942.”

Touring The Whitney was wonderful primarily because  whatever adventure these friends and I embark on is fun but secondarily because the guide/docent we had was excellent.  She (Paula) made me want to learn more about American art history. The way she explained various pieces was so informative but also insightful. She was obviously extremely well-informed but her passion for American art shone through. She made me think and wonder. The current exhibit is entitled “America Is Hard to See”.

“The title, America Is Hard to See, comes from a poem by Robert Frost and a political documentary by Emile de Antonio. Metaphorically, the title seeks to celebrate the ever-changing perspectives of artists and their capacity to develop visual forms that respond to the culture of the United States. It also underscores the difficulty of neatly defining the country’s ethos and inhabitants, a challenge that lies at the heart of the Museum’s commitment to and continually evolving understanding of American art.”

One of the most thought-provoking pieces for me was Fred Wilson’s Guarded View. It is four headless black mannequins dressed in museum guard uniforms. Paula’s comments about the piece truly made me think  – the guards in museums are guarding the art on view but they themselves are on view. However, we don’t see them. She challenged us to look around the room. Even in NYC one of the most culturally diverse places in the world most of the visitors were white and the guards were black. I have been thinking about this piece in light of current events. I have pondering what was written about the piece. I was struck by the fact that Fred Wilson was born the same year I was.

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I have a love/hate relationship with art and art museums in particular. Partly because I don’t always believe some of things we are “told” about the piece was why the artist did what they did. I mean maybe they just liked that color paint, or they didn’t have a smaller canvas or whatever. My “issues” with that stem from being a dancer and having people say “they got the piece”. Really?!?  because sometimes that music was used because it was the right length and it inspired me and not for any other reason. All that to say I am sometimes leery of explanations of art but I have to say yesterday I gained a better understanding of American art, my curiosity was piqued, I experienced the connection between art and culture and isn’t that what a museum is supposed to do. Thank you Paula and The Whitney Museum.

To plan your visit go to http://whitney.org/

 

 

 

 

Being a tourist in my own city – Merchant’s House

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A few weeks ago friends and I visited The Merchant’s House Museum located at 29 East Fourth Street in Manhattan http://merchantshouse.org/ . I wasn’t that familiar with the neighborhood and didn’t know what to expect so I ended up standing on the street corner glaring at my iPhone looking more like a tourist than I like to. Trying to act like I knew where I was going even though I had actually spun around in a circle I finally walked back the way I had come and found the house. I guess I was expecting a big sign or something but it looked quite ordinary on the outside but the inside was worth the trip.

The members of the Tredwell family lived in the house for almost 100 years. The house was built in 1832 “on spec”  and sold to SeburyTredwell in 1840, a family member lived there until 1933 and in 1936 it became a museum. The home still houses most of the original furniture, many personal items as well as other period pieces. According to the website, “In New York City, it has been awarded landmark status not only for its 1832 late-Federal brick exterior but also for its Greek revival interior rooms.” Our tour started in the basement and proceeded through the main floor entertaining space and ended in the servant’s quarters on the third floor. Being a Downton Abbey fan, it was interesting to see the American merchant class version of life with servants complete with a bell system, separate entrance and back stairs. The other think about the tour that I found very interesting was to ponder all the events and advancements that occurred in the 100 years the family owned the house.

The Merchant House is currently endangered due to the proposed construction of a hotel next door. To read about the issues surrounding the merchant house visit http://merchantshouse.org/endangered. I would suggest adding Merchant House to your NYC sightseeing list. It won’t be the flashiest thing or the newest or even the oldest but it will be worth the trip.