Thursday, June 26
I had been to the 911 Memorial Site two times before this trip, but this visit was no less emotional. The 911 Memorial Museum opened about two weeks, ago, and Brian had pre-ordered tickets for today. That was a good move, as the line for those waiting to get tickets was very long. The museum itself is underground, we entered at ground level and walked down a ramp to the exhibits.
We learned about the construction of the original towers, and saw how little was salvaged from the buildings. Slurry walls had been built to hold out the Hudson River during the initial construction – only one of those walls did not leak after the collapse, and it is on display at the museum. Most of the columns had been destroyed to the ground. One set of stairs survived, it was used by many of the people trying to escape. Iron beams were twisted. A fire engine was destroyed, it showed evidence of burning as well as dents from materials falling onto it.
There were exhibits about the earlier bombing in 1993.
One room had photos of the victims on the walls. I could not bring myself to go in there – it’s so hard to see the faces of so many people who died in a senseless terrorist attack. There were recordings of voice mail messages that had been left by victims. I listened to a few, and that was enough.
We spent almost three hours there. It would have been possible to spend an hour more, but we all felt pretty burnt out before we came to the end. There were exhibits about Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and other terrorists, explanations about how the strike had been planned, and the time the terrorists took to prepare. I chose to skip this exhibit – I did not want to see their faces. Also, it was a reminder that our country has not been proactive about defending us against these terrorists. We seem to always be in reaction mode. Why can’t our security organizations be as creative at the terrorists are?
The Ground Zero pools are so moving, with names of the victims carved into the granite ledges surrounding each pool. There are two pools, each set on the site of one of the collapsed towers. Oak trees were planted at the site, and they’ve grown quite a bit since we were there two years ago.
From there, we took a 90 minute harbor cruise, that gave us some great views of the skyline. We went under the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge. We passed by the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Governors Island.
And, the highlight of my day, we attended a showing of Jersey Boys at the August March Theater, located about three blocks from our hotel. The stage was pretty bare, the different scenes were created by bringing in a few props as needed.
Based on the book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, the musical tells the story of the Four Seasons. In documentary style, each of the four original band members narrated a part of the story from his perspective. I really never knew the back story, so I enjoyed learning more about their history.
Many of the songs were written by Bob Gaudio, who also wrote songs for other artists, like Neil Diamond, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and others. He wrote his first hit at the age of 15 – “Who Wears Short Shorts?”
We heard so many of the songs I loved as a teeny-bopper, as well as many written by Bob Gaudio for other artists. It was like a two-hour concert, interspersed with dialogue. Oh, what a night!