What We Feel and What We Mean
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Category — What it Means

But there were tears…

“In bed that night I invented a special drain that would be underneath every pillow in New York, and would connect to the reservoir. Whenever people cried themselves to sleep, the tears would all go to the same place, and in the morning the weatherman could report if the water level of the Reservoir of Tears had gone up or down, and you could know if New York is in heavy boots.” – Jonathon Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close  

Michael said something quite haunting to me that day we all went to the memorial. He said, “What if the water in this waterfall was actually the tears of the survivors.” First, I thought that was absurd, but then, realization slowly apporached me, as well as our little hero from Foer’s novel. The water in this waterfall could be the tears of everyone who was affected by that monstrosity that occured: it’s endless. Just like every evil act humanity has laid upon itself throughout the course of time, a scar remains that is worth mourning about.

In all honesty, the memorial seemed out of place… It is surrounded by extremely tall buildings and insane traffic. It’s so beautiful, so serene, so relaxing. It shouldn’t be there. But I think that’s the brilliance of it.

It shouldn’t be there. That day should have never happened. The memorial is so unusual. It shouldn’t exist. But, it does. It’s beautiful. Out of disaster, a spark of beauty can grow.  The people who were in the memorial the time we were there were walking around, relaxing, thinking, wondering… dreaming. Sooner or later, the memorial will be finished and it will be fully public. Sooner or later, the scar of the demolished buildings and an empty worksite will be complete with the standing of the freedom towers and the promenade. Sooner or later, the beauty will be truly visible. We will never forget. But, the memorial helps us remember that out of such a disaster, beauty can still be seen. No matter what.

October 4, 2011   No Comments

9/11 Memorial

Maybe it is because I may not have that deep of a personal attachment to the site, but I felt sort of disappointed. The arrangement of the trees and the art noveau buildings in the space seemed to be a like the work of a deranged, angry hipster, not like the symbol of hope for the future, or the patch of green in the desert. The alternating cement and trees was, for me, reminiscent of a prison, and though it may attempt to symbolize the fate of those aboard both flights, my expectation of the memorial was one of recognition but of transcendence, not wallowing. However, the very impacting and very appropriate feature was the two waterfall-pits. The positioning and seemingly endless abysses were not only the only esthetically pleasing things at the memorial, but the only significant ones. The water that never stopped flowing represented not only the tears for those lost, but also the acceptance of their passing, just as the water passes.

October 3, 2011   No Comments

9/11 Memorial

When we started walking towards the 9/11 memorial, after passing security, Jonathan Edelstein and I were having a conversation about the tragedy that happened. When we saw the memorial I stopped for a second, mid sentence, and got the chills. Pictures do the memorial very little justice. Before I saw it up close and personal I thought it was just a big wishing well type of thing. But when you actually see it and how big it is you start to realize how big the twin towers really were. And thats just the size of the foundation we were looking at. The actual towers seemed like they were never ending, as if they were heading towards the heavens. The people in the buildings and on the planes have reached the heavens and this memorial is here as a tribute to their lives. Each one of them has a story and each of those names had a person behind them with an actual life.

The architectural design of the memorial is amazing and everything built must have been for a reason and I think was intended to have meaning. I don’t know what that meaning is exactly but for me it is sort of a mirror of what was. Just like from ground level you could never see the top of the towers, if you are standing on ground level you cannot see the bottom of the inside of the memorial.

Heres a video I took at the site.

9/11 memorial

October 2, 2011   No Comments

My experience with the 9/11 memorial

So after visiting the 9/11 memorial again, I came to a realization that I didn’t notice the first time I went: the memorial is out of place. Located in the heart of the financial district of New York, I feel like it is in the wrong place. As business people go to their jobs in the mornings, there are people at the memorial right next door mourning the loss of September 11. Once the memorial fades from the public eye, and life goes on as normal, will the memorial be lost in the shuffle? Will it be overlooked, as routine as the office jobs that go on in the buildings next door? On the other hand, a place like the memorial in the middle of Lower Manhattan seems awfully like a sanctuary, an Eden of sorts. Where else in the area can you go to find open space like this, with grass on the ground instead of cement? This was intentional, in my opinion. It was a conscious move made by the artist to evoke a sense of relief and calm from the chaos of Manhattan. But overall, I feel now that the memorial could have been in a much more suitable place.

September 30, 2011   No Comments

9/11 Memorial

There are so many aspects one could review in respect to our little outing.  Professor Ugoretz mentioned context, both external and internal, but as all we New Yorkers know, trying to describe the context of the chaos of lower Manhattan becomes a chaotic task in and of itself.  I will therefore limit myself by only expounding on a few details that stuck out to me.  First, I’d like to say it’s interesting how I stepped out of one scene of immediate violence (the shooting of which many of us stumbled onto on our way to the memorial) and into a scene of past violence.  Next, one of the first things I noticed when I got off the subway in Manhattan, was how touristy the area had become.  There were signs up pointing the way to the memorial, and long before I even got there, I was immersed in crowds of people taking photos.  There’s nothing essentially wrong with this, but it somehow, to me anyway, cheapens the spot.  Instead of being a place of peace, or rest, or quiet, it was overflowing with gawkers, and it seemed awfully morbid.  At the same time, I realize I make a part of the morbidity of this tourism.  I was there gawking with the rest of them.  The next thing I noticed was how loud everything was despite the seeming solemnity of the place.  The construction was going on full force, as well as the sounds of the city.  Life was going on outside the memorial.  As for the fountains, I thought them especially beautiful.  The noise of the waterfall helped drown out the other infiltrating noises.  I thought about how they are literally grave markers, which made me suddenly reluctant to lean on them.  And the way the fountain was constructed, with the water flowing continuously toward the middle until it fell away to some space I couldn’t see, seemed in my mind to make some sort of an afterlife, in a fanciful and tragic way.  It was the way the water moved, the shapes made by light playing on the falls, like fleeting spirits, and the reflections of the building surrounding it like odd, cubist sentinels.  I kept thinking about how all these building were witness to the destruction, and how all the people in those buildings were witness to it too.  And all those people with sad faces, who perhaps knew the names on the fountain, made me think of that river in Hades, the river Lethe.  Anyone who drank from it was given the gift of forgetfulness, and of oblivion.  I’m not sure if this is a pleasant connection to make with the tragedy of Sept. 11 because we can never truly forget, nor should we, but I thought the thought anyway.  And then I sighed to myself, and went home.

September 28, 2011   1 Comment