Back to the Big Apple

When we last left our intrepid urban explorers, they were trekking across the Great Bridge.  Since the walk to and from Brooklyn wasn’t enough, they decided to get off the subway at an inappropriately faraway stop and walk all the way to a decidedly more somber location…

Ground zero.
I’m sure you remember where you were when you heard.
The owner of this helmet was in a stairwell on the 23rd floor when the tower collapsed.  He attributes his survival to his leather fire helmet.
This is what the plaza will look like when construction is completed.
I loved this note to the FDNY from a schoolchild; it says, “Dear firemen, I’m sorry that you guys have to do hard stuff but you guys are doing a great job.”
Then we headed across the street to St. Paul’s Chapel.  We were there on Ash Wednesday, so we quietly circled the outer rim of the chapel while the priest distributed ashes to a growing line of commuters on their way home.
The chapel was the haven for workers at Ground Zero for months.  They served food, coordinated volunteers, provided counseling, gave foot massages, and supplied cots.  Pews served as beds for those who did not have a cot; you can see in the photo that the firemen’s boots scraped up the paint on the pews.  The song “Amazing Grace” was played by someone on their piano every day for months.
This is the pew where George Washington prayed after he was inaugurated.
A few blocks from there (yes, we’re still walking) …
is a rocky hillside that looks out of place.  We walked by it a few times without realizing it was just what we were looking for.
The Irish Hunger Memorial.
The front of the hillside is reminiscent of Ireland’s countryside (I assume, when it’s not snow-covered), and the back is a shiny black wall embedded with illuminated words from the time of the Potato Famine.
“Our potato crop is lost without exception I believe throughout Ireland.”
“The blight came in before St. John’s Day.  It came like a fog in the evening and appeared low on the water.  Next morning the potato stalks were black.”
Then we took a subway to the Village and walked around some more even though by this time I was whining something fierce.  We had a so-so hot dog at Gray’s Papaya (WHILE STANDING UP, OH THE IRONY!)…
and walked a little more.  Then more walking for another Magnolia cupcake.
Then David couldn’t take my whining about my feet anymore so we got on the subway and went back to the hotel and watched the Olympics.

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