Monday, September 11, 2006
Cheap Night in NYC
Last week when Doug was looking for a hotel in the city for us to stay in which had to be cheap, for him and 4 star or higher for me, he checked out hotwire.com. After much searching he came across this one: " 4 star, in the heart of Soho, $150.00". It met all of our requirements, (unless it was a typo) though I thought it seemed too good to be true. But Doug had visions of a cheap night in the city so he booked it.
It turned out to be the Millenium Hilton, which just so happened to be located across the street from Ground Zero. Quite a stretch to call that Soho. I felt a bit woozy when we landed out front of the hotel on Saturday. The entrance was just a few steps from the observation area and so I walked through there while Doug checked in. I had been there last February, and it was pretty bleak and sad. This time the atmosphere was different though. It was crowded, many people were looking at the photo display and timeline, which hadn't been there last winter. There were a lot of cameras and media around in anticipation for Monday's anniversary. It felt surprisingly nice to be there, but at the same time I was uncomfortable watching people having their pictures taken with the empty space of Ground Zero, or with the memorial behind them. I guess I can understand why it has become a tourist attraction, after all I have been there twice, but even so, having one's snapshot taken there just seemed wrong to me.
Anyway, I went to find Doug and as we got off the elevator, on the 45th floor, yikes, I started to get a sinking feeling. Sure enough, when we entered our room (which was beautiful, by the way), we had a perfect view of Ground Zero. We debated for awhile about changing rooms but in the end we decided to stay. And I am kind of glad we did. I feel a bit more connected to that place than I had just by watching the events unfold on television. It almost seemed comforting to be there.
On Sunday morning we had breakfast in the restaurant on the 3rd floor. We were seated at a table with, you guessed it, another perfect view of the activity within the perimeter of the area. We saw several fatherless families, walking around, men dressed in kilts and many fire men and policemen. We realized that that morning in September in 2001, surely there had been a couple sitting where we were, who will never forget what they saw that day, and we pondered how awful it must have been. We discussed our thoughts about what kind of memorial should be built (neither of us are real fans of the design that was chosen) and then finally we decided that, for some reason, we were supposed to experience that spot for those two days.
I feel sure that someday I will understand why, but for now I am fine with not knowing. In the meantime, yes, I was a tourist, snapping a few photos (leaving myself out though) as a remembrance of the fact that we were there on the day before the fifth anniversary of 9/11.