Lower Manhattan – A day of Civic Lesson for the kids

It was November and the weather was just perfect to walk around the city.  Early November is NJEA convention in NJ and kids are off school for a couple of days to a week depending on the school district.   If you happen to be in Orlando or Aruba at this time you will hear a lot of Jersey twang.  We decided to chill at home but after 3 days of having kids glued to their electronic paraphernalia, it was time to get them to see the challenges of the Nation.  Why not make a day out of visiting lower Manhattan?

First stop, Zuccotti Park to see the Wall Street Protest and then around the corner to see the 911 memorial,  both humbling experiences.  Each touches the observers in their own way.

We were four adults visiting Z Park and each had our own opinion and feelings on the protests.  The kids had no opinions since thankfully none of their lives had been significantly affected by the changes in recent economy.  As we got closer to the park we could hear the drums and felt the energy of masses.  The countless tents stood at odds with the sleek modern and ornate art deco buildings surrounding the park.  My first sight was to see a wall two deep of humans surrounding the perimeter of the park, each holding their camera or phone up to take pictures.  Initially, we too followed the gawking suit since it seemed odd to walk into the park, almost as if we were about to enter uninvited into someone else’s home.  After the initial reticence, our courage took over and we found ourselves walking through the center of the park.  The little city had its own pedal power generator, sanitation department, library, comfort tent (that provided warm coats and gloves) and animal shelter.  One generous lady was sitting there knitting sweaters for the occupiers for the upcoming cold weather and was kind enough to let me take pictures of her.  There were others who wanted donations for their pictures: one lego guy claimed he was not making money, just collecting donations to buy more lego pieces (looking at his collection bin and the number of lego pieces on the board, lego prices must have gone up significantly!), whereas the American Indian tent specifically asked another photographer to place money in the bin before she could take a picture…….I say there was a hint of capitalism here!  My thoughts veered to Ayn Rand and objectivism through out the visit.
Here are the images.  You form your own opinion!

Looking in from the periphery.

Walking in to the park.


Liberty Plaza right next to tent city
We found a park bench , had a picnic of our sandwiches and fruits before heading off to the 911 memorial.

The security lines at the memorial were quite long despite the pre assigned visiting time slot.  I would stand in the lines all over again though.   The sheer size of the pool and the unending black hole brings up the true depth of our nation’s loss and yet at the same time, the sound of water calms the sadness to bring serenity ( the only word to describe the feeling when you stand by the pools).  A park ranger mentioned that he was anticipating feeling angry when he first took the job but he feels at peace working in the park.  The Survival tree is a perfect embodiment of the Nations survival.  A family member had left behind a stuffed bear at the tree which brought tears to many a visitors eye.  All special mementos left behind are collected at the end of the day and will be placed in the underground museum once it opens.  My words will not do justice to the memorial so simply enjoy these images…..

The setting sun cast the most beautiful rainbow in the waterfall.

A stream of water for every victim.

Survival tree in the forefront of the freedom tower


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