Fenced off space with meaning: The evolution of ground zero and my place in it
Not so long ago I lived in Battery Park. Rather I lived three blocks from the World Trad Center. Rather I lived very close to Ground Zero. My apartment building which was close to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel became a place where cops could go in and get warm. It was not rare to see machine guns in the lobby. Every morning I would walk 40 minutes to work because I liked to. I would often set off at 7am and walk back at 7pm. My walks helped me clear my mind. During my walks I day dreamed and thought of voyages grand and small.
Everyday, I had to pass Ground Zero. Every morning I would pass by before the throngs of tourists came by. Everyday I would pass by as the construction workers were starting to come on in. Coffee cups were all about the landscape.
I saw the change of Ground Zero from ashes to housing a reflecting pool. Of course, as a girl raised in New York I was familiar with Ground Zero before it was Ground Zero. I knew it as the World Trade Center. I knew it as a place where all those fancy dress men would go to work. When I was a 12 year old girl living in the South Bronx, my friends and I traipsed on down to South Street Seaport and hung out for a bit at the World Trade Center. I remember that day with fondness and a sense of nostalgia for days where we didn’t really know where we were going but we knew we were in the midst of an adventure. I remember the sun beaming down on us and we ran in silly circles for no good reason. I also remember years after that, I was living in DC and I went on a spur of the moment trip where I ended up in NYC for the weekend at a Wall Street hotel that was super cheap due to there not being any Wall Streeters around. It was $100 a night. What a steal in New York.
Years later, after I passed on a daily basis the construction site that the World Trade center became, I went to visit the memorial that now stands in the location I used to run circles of. Spaces change. We change. Reflecting pools, both metaphorical and literal, take root and cause us to pause. The site is industrial and cold yet invites comfort and warmth. Evolution of a space. Evolution of our place in said space. A changed window onto the world.
Just a few Monday morning thoughts.