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  • Writer's picturePatrick Baechle

New York rest stop

Rolling my bicycle off the ferry boat onto Battery Park filled me with joy, but I almost started crying when I looked up at the buildings.

When I was an architecture student, I remember standing at the base of the twin towers, looking up and gulping at their massive height. Many years later, months after the terrorist attack, I walked around this very battery, peering through these buildings, trying to get a glimpse of the debris pile and the workers cleaning it up. This place, I was standing in yesterday, was eerily quiet and empty 20 years ago. There was a big collapsed hole, in the barrel vaulted glass roof, of the Winter Garden building, where heavy materials had fallen through; and there was a thick layer of dust over everything, leaving the surtounding streetscapes looking gray and dismal.

I remember walking around the corner and seeing the piles of teddy bears and stuffed animals. There were so many, they had built a temporary canopy over them. These stuffed animals are now preserved and part of the 911 memorial museum under the plaza. For those who have never visited this site, or the museum, it is an extraordinarily moving experience and I encourage everyone to visit it someday.

So back to the Ferry landing. I'm walking through the plaza yesterday, in front of the WinterGarden, and the place was jammin.

There's a trio playing some great music. There's a giant sand castle. People are moving everywhere; strolling; dog walking; skateboarding; bicycling; unicycling; fishin; jogging. It's a happy place again. There are lots of new buildings; sculptures; fountains, benches; umbrella tables and garden areas with beautiful flowers.

I love New York. It is so interesting. A Almost everything is exquisitly designed and crafted. There is so much art. The people are so interesting. They are like works of art themselves. There are so many varieties of people; so many colors of people; in so many unusual outfits; so many ways people express themselves and with such creativity. So rich. So fun.

The spaces of New York are awesome. The buildings create canyons of space. Each one with different texture; different reflections and different scales of proportion. They are filled with so many sounds; constant noise; motors running; construction equipment banging and clanking; car horns blaring; sirens wailing; and as I sit on a bench along the street, close to the sidewalk; so many languages conversing, so many dialects and slangs; so entertaining to absorb.

I could take photos of New York City all day long but, no photo could ever come close to describing the experience of being here. New York City is a multi-sensory experience. You have to feel it, hear it, taste it and smell it. It really is like no other place on earth.

So now I am resting here. Staying on the quieter Lower East Side, in the very fine care of Pam's brother Dan and his beautiful wife Rina. Walking around the Chelsea art district visiting galleries.

I am plotting out my return route. Someday I guess should come home.

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