November 1st, 2011
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This past weekend I visited some people I love, in a city I love, even though the weather forecasters were predicting snowfall in October.  Despite the drumbeat of weather predictions, I didn’t believe it would actually happen.  I thought it might be cold enough to snow but I never thought it would actually stick to the streets and accumulate.

Obviously, I was wrong.  By Sunday morning, CNN said New York City’s Central Park received 2.9 inches of snow and thousands of dollars in tree damage.

Saturday morning, on the way to New York, it was heavy pounding rain.  Thank goodness I was not driving.  I was on a Vamoose bus headed for Manhattan.  Even though the traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike was heavy, my Vamoose busdriver was a pro!  We left Bethesda at 7 am and arrived in Manhattan a little after 11 am.  I would say that was great time under any weather conditions.

I then met my son, who is a senior at Fordham University, and we ran in the chilly rain to the subway to travel downtown and see the new 911 memorial at Ground Zero.  By the time we came out of the subway at the World Trade Center stop, the rain had turned to big wet snow flakes and the temperature had dropped dramatically.

On the way to Ground Zero, we walked past Zuccotti Park, home of the Occupy Wall Street protesters living in wall-to-wall tents.  I don’t know how they were able to stay warm because the city had taken their generators away from the site the day before.  I was freezing and could not feel my fingers as we walked around the city for about an hour.  I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to be camping out on the cold ground in a nylon tent with no heat.  The OWS protesters deserve a lot of credit for their steadfast commitment to a critical economic issue that desperately needs more attention.

Despite the weather, my son and I remained anxious to see the new memorial and we didn’t care how harsh the weather got.  The recently televised dedication ceremony on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and all of the pictures we had seen of the site made us want to go there even in the driving rain and snow to see it up close and personal.  Sadly, our visit to the 9/11 memorial was not to be because somehow we missed the information that visitors are required to reserve a pass to gain access to the memorial built to remember the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives to terrorism that awful day.

I guess we are spoiled by the fact that in Washington, DC visitor passes are not required at the numerous historic memorials scattered around the Nation’s Capital.  You do have to go through security checks but you don’t need a pass to gain entrance.  Unfortunately, we didn’t see the 911 memorial on Saturday since we didn’t have a pass, but we walked across the street to the new World Trade Center Financial building and went inside and looked at the 9/11 site from there.  It was enough for that day.  We felt we had done our best.

In the spirit of sharing, if you do intend to visit the National September 11 Memorial in New York City, you need to log on to before you go to visit the site and reserve a pass because visitor passes are required and will be checked.  Also, you will only be admitted at the time printed on your visitor pass.

We were disappointed but we’re not going to let it get us down or prevent us from seeing the new 911 memorial.  It’s worth another try and now that I know the registration routine for visitors, I’m looking forward to going back to the hallowed area of Ground Zero.

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