One of my most favorite tributes was done at Bryant Park. There, they lined up 2,753 empty chairs on the lawn, one for each person who died at the World Trade Center on September 11th. The chairs all faced south towards Ground Zero. Seeing all those empty chairs in perfect rows on that lawn was so striking and quite emotional. It was artful and beautifully done.
Chairs on the Bryant Park lawn
2,753 chairs, all facing Ground Zero
As you may recall, my sister Heather was in town this week, and on Friday we went into Times Square for another 9/11 tribute put on by the Broadway community. Apparently, after 9/11 ten years ago, the Broadway community got together and performed "New York, New York" in Times Square as a way to encourage and uplift New Yorkers. On Friday, to commemorate the tenth anniversary, they did a repeat performance in the same spot in Duffy Square. Members of the cast from all (or at the very least, nearly all) of the Broadway shows were in attendance. Former Broadway performer and NYPD Officer Daniel Rodriguez sang "God Bless America," and then the Broadway casts performed "New York, New York." It was a great moment.
Crowds gathered at Duffy Square to see the Broadway performance
Broadway stars singing "New York, New York"
VIDEO: Broadway stars performing "New York, New York" in Times Square, 9/9/11
On September 11th, Times Square was decked out in remembrance of the anniversary.
Flags and memorials decorating the tower below the New Year's Eve ball
More flags on the other side of Times Square
More remembrance on Aeropostale's sign
American Eagle's huge sign was completely decked out as a flag
Of course, it wasn't all beautiful tributes - there were some reminders of what it really means to live in a post-9/11 New York, like road blocks in major areas of Manhattan, letting only one car through at a time. (It is my understanding that this was in response to the rumored car bomb terrorism threats last week.)
NYPD keeping the flow of traffic under control
Hoboken had its own memorials, too. Hoboken lost 57 citizens in the World Trade Center attacks, the most of any zip code. Many of those were young professionals, in their 20s and 30s. Many young husbands and wives were widowed, and many of those who were single were not even identified as missing until mail started to pile up, cars were not moved, or dogs whined to be let out. For those who were safely on this side of the river on 9/11, Hoboken has an exceptional view of downtown Manhattan and many people gathered along the Hoboken waterfront to watch the events unfold that day.
To commemorate Hoboken's ties to 9/11, they have posted plans for a new permanent memorial to be built in Pier A Park.
Flowers adorning the depiction of the future memorial
Last night Hoboken held a lovely interfaith memorial service along the water at Pier A Park, facing downtown towards where the Twin Towers once stood (now replaced in the skyline by the ever-growing new Freedom Tower, clearly visible as it now seems to be the tallest building in lower Manhattan). The Hoboken High School band played the National Anthem to start things off, the Mayor and several Senators/Congressmen spoke, and religious leaders from a wide range of religions and denominations offered their thoughts on the day.
Crowds gathering for the memorial service
And of course, at dusk, the city turned on the Tribute in Light: two beams of light to symbolize the two towers, as they have done every September 11th for the last ten years.
The Tribute in Light, now standing alongside the new Freedom Tower (the tall building with the blue lights - it was lit red, white and blue all weekend)
That evening, Hoboken made a national television appearance when a U.S. Marine played Taps in Pier A Park, which was broadcast before the Jets Sunday Night Football game. Eric and I were there for that, and it was quite moving, as Taps always is. To see that soldier playing such a touching piece with the Tribute in Light behind him was very emotional.
VIDEO: Taps/Tribute in Light at Hoboken's Pier A Park
Our family with the Tribute in Light
All in all, it was a week filled with lovely tributes, and I'm glad to have been here to be a part of it.