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More crying in public & the Central Park Conservatory Garden (where there were no tears)

I’ve lived in NY my entire life (save for 4 years in college), had family and friends who worked in the Twin Towers, and as of a few weeks ago, have been working in one of the brand new buildings at the World Trade Center myself.

I walk by the 9/11 pools every single day. The entrance to my building is a handful of feet from them so every day in order to get into my building I walk through tourists, police officers, construction workers, and, on some wonderful occasions, FDNY cadets. In all these years and with all my opportunity, I have never once walked up to the pools. Until yesterday.

views from 4 wtc

Now, it’s a very strange thing to be down here. Working in this building is incredible (seriously, look at those views) but it’s a very strange feeling to walk through the memorial multiple times a day as if it were normal business. I listen to music or podcasts every morning on my way down to work but the second I get out of the train station and up to the FDNY memorial, I take off my headphones. It feels disrespectful to zone out here.

For whatever reason yesterday afternoon, I didn’t want to just walk past the pools as I made my way to the Hudson River for a lunchtime walk.  I walked out of my building and instead of walking straight ahead, I veered slightly right. With just a step or two, I heard the water falling. That alone was enough to get my heart racing, but I continued until I was directly in front of one of the pools.

12 seconds. I probably lasted 12 seconds of staring into the pool, which seemed significantly larger than any photo I have seen or the view from my floor of the WTC. I struggled to catch my breath and my eyes teared. I couldn’t stand there a second longer.

The pools are beautiful. They really are. I guess I’m just not ready. It became one of those moments where everything seemed like it was moving in slow motion and I found myself looking at the people around me… how are they here and taking photos? Am I the only one who needs to sit down?

As it became such an emotional afternoon for me, I was really glad that I had already made plans to visit the Central Park Conservatory Garden after work.

central park conservatory garden

If you live in NYC or are planning a trip to NYC in the near future, the gardens are amazing right now. There are no words for what this garden did for me as I meandered in and out of its paths. It was so quiet (the kind of quiet one rarely experiences in NYC) and I almost felt transported out of reality.

central park conservatory garden 2

All the noise from the day and all the mental chaos in my head seemed to just fade away. I felt like I was walking through my own little fairytale… minus Prince Charming and woodland creatures to clean my apartment. Maybe I’ll pick them up next time I’m there.

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Thoughts on the 9/11 Memorial? I’m almost surprised I had such an intense reaction since I was physically underneath the pools and walked around the museum before it was a museum a few years back.

Any other peaceful places in NYC I should check out?

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