I noticed something interesting today. With the passing of Labor day, summer’s over, and September’s here, and, in lower Manhattan at least, it’s now, apparently, World Trade Center Memorial Season.
The first sign was this morning, as I was on the subway to work. As I took the 1 train from Chambers to Rector, about midway, the conductor announced “This is the Cortland Street Station, formerly the World Trade Center — Hallowed Ground” I’d been taking that train every weekday for nearly a year, and this was the first time they had ever made an announcement like that, but I didn’t think anything about it at the time. Later, when I went to lunch, I wandered up toward the WTC site (it’s about two blocks north on my office), and noticed a change in the tenor of the tourists. The usual sightseers on their way to the Statute of Liberty, seemed to be replaced by tourist specifically interested in this site. Perhaps it was the fact that there was a protest going on at the time. I’m not sure what they were complaining about, as they didn’t do all they mush protesting – just carried signs in a manner which it was hard to read them, and spoke to the media.
By the time I finished lunch, they had mostly disbursed, leaving just the tourists. The city also replaced the signs which were previously on the fence facing Church St, which gave a brief history of the area and of the WTC, which had long been covered by graffiti. The same signs are back, with new clean prints, but this time on the fence facing Liberty St. It should be noted that Church St is the main North-South route in Lower Manhattan, (wider even than Broadway, which parallels it one block east), and has a wide sidewalk. Liberty, on the other, is a tiny alleyway , probably not widened since it carried horse drawn carriages. It has no sidewalk to speak of, but that doesn’t matter since it’s been closed to traffic since 9/11. (actually, it may have been close to traffic since the 1993 bombing – I used to cross when I took the PATH train to the WTC, and I have only the vaguest recollection of cars driving down it.)