Thursday, May 24, 2012

9-11 Memorial

 I am always happily overwhelmed by the architecture in NYC. It has at its conception a wonderful and almost unconscious hubris that for some reason I find comforting. I am the kind of person who would walk through a creek many, many times before I would ever think of building a bridge. So, I end up admiring people that even think about building things, let alone going out and doing it. 

My husband went to NYC on his mission for the LDS church. He used the World Trade Towers as a point on the compass that helped him navigate the city, much as we use the mountains here in Salt Lake. When 9-11 happened he felt it deeply and personally. He was at the Concert for NY on October 20, 2001. I couldn't even think about going to New York at that time because I was in a state of shock and genuinely scared. He saw the smoking debris at Ground Zero and since that day we have both visited the site multiple times and have seen the many stages of the process of mourning, clearing and rebuilding.

This was the main reason we had to see the 9-11 Memorial, and we found that even unfinished it was stunning. We were there on a chilly and windy day with a blue sky made even more brilliant by the buildings surrounding us.

 I couldn't stop taking pictures. It made me teary and hopeful. I wanted to thank all the people involved in the process--from politicians to the family members of the victims of that terrible day. I loved that they fought about it and for it. That they considered everything and went forward.
 The fountains glowed in a somber kind of hope.
The many people we happened to be grouped with were respectful and interested.

The wind carried sheets of water that washed over the tourists. It was an interesting unintended consequence that I think will end up having to be addressed.

The descending waterfall was powerful and moving and I thought that it did exactly what the architects meant it to -- "reflecting absence."

Here's what the website 9-11 Memorial Website had to say about the waterfall:

"Of all the designs submitted, we have found that "Reflecting Absence" by Michael Arad, in concert with landscape architect Peter Walker, fulfills most eloquently the daunting but absolutely necessary demands of this memorial. In its powerful, yet simple articulation of the footprints of the Twin Towers, "Reflecting Absence" has made the voids left by the destruction the primary symbols of our loss. By allowing absence to speak for itself, the designers have made the power of these empty footprints the memorial. At its core, this memorial is anchored deeply in the actual events it commemorates-connecting us to the towers' destruction, and more important, to all the lives lost on that day…."

I was happy that the Memorial showed respect for the victims but also comfort and in my case a big dose of awe.

Sky and Kathleen taking a moment.

The family reading the names of those that died on 9-11.

It left me feeling hopeful and inspired.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Beautiful Morningside Heights in NYC

We went to NYC all of last week for my daughter's Senior Recital and graduation from the Manhattan School of Music. It was one of the best trips we have ever taken. Everyone was old enough to enjoy the trip and were really good sports, because we walked and walked and walked and walked--just like those pioneer children who sang.

I am always amazed and inspired by the city. When I traveled to NYC before my daughter went to school there I didn't love the city. When my daughter moved there I realized I just didn't like Times Square much, and that is where I'd mistakenly spent so much of my time.

I love my daughter's neighborhood, nestled at the bottom of Harlem, right next to Riverside Park and right in the Morningside Heights section of the city. The picture above is of the view from Grant's Tomb, right next to Riverside Park. Lovely to see so many people learning to ride unicycles on a sunny Sunday (only in NYC).

This area of the city is vibrant, ageless, intellectual, full of seminaries and full of energy from Harlem. Columbia University is near and there are many yummy affordable restaurants and lots of outstanding architecture.

Normal street view

I've become obsessed with front doors, because our new house really needs new ones. New York City is the place to be inspired by doors! These might be a bit grand for our 1960's rambler though.

The following pictures are of a courtyard at Barnard. Oh, to be a Barnard woman! We left just before President Obama gave his commencement address there.


Columbia, blending old and new

In most places in Salt Lake you have to get in a car and drive to get groceries and other necessities of life.  It is something that drives my daughter crazy when she comes home. Suburban sprawl makes for quiet neighborhoods, but I do think we miss out on something really nice. Every one of these pictures was taken just a short distance from her room.

We are all mourning--just a little bit--of her leaving New York. Maybe I'll learn to love Los Angeles--where she is off to next.