Bowery Mural

Lower Manhattan: Museums and Monuments

Sunday, 14 September 2014

I sort of had a plan for Saturday, the 9/11 museum. But first breakfast! I swear, I seemed to spend a lot of time and thought on food on this trip. Good food though.

Breakfast today was The Grey Dog on Mulberry Street. Five minutes form my hotel and mighty tasty fare. I wolfed it down before I could take any pictures. I bet you're glad. But I had the grey dog breakfast which was eggs, bacon, pancakes, home fries, fruit, maple syrup and a cup of tea - which you could get refilled as many times as you wanted. Nice touch. I was fuelling for the day with my breakfast so I made the most of them. After I couldn't eat or drink any more I headed off into the sunshine and made my way to Canal street to catch the subway to World Trade Centre on the E line. The walk was a bit longer than I expected and I couldn't find the Canal Street subway entrance in Tribeca so at one point I doubled back on myself. Duh. Anyways... I got there eventually and was off again within 5 minutes. 

I made my way to the site which was looking very different to when I visited it in March. That time I had to go to a little shop to get a ticket to enter the site. Now it's fully open and you can get right up to the waterfalls. Now you only have to queue for the museum, which I did. I managed to get into the 11.30am slot and once inside this new building the temperature was cooler (thankfully) and i headed to the toilet. Those refillable cups of tea from breakfast taking their toll...

As an aside, here's a link to a good article on Medium I found by a guy who lives right next to the whole site. Pretty decent read, and the view from his apartment is worth a look. 

There are 2 floors up in the museum. On the first is a theatre showing a 20 minute film of that day in 2001. You're probably best heading there first. The theatre wasn't big by any many, but the screen was  and after a gentleman spoke the lights were dimmed and the film began. Mayor Gulliani and various recognisable people from that day spoke. Amateur footage was shown. News clips were played out. And the devastation of that site where we were sitting was all too real again. It was quite moving actually. I got caught up in it. Plus the fact the in the back row of the theatre were about 8 navy officers dressed in all white uniforms, including little white shoes. 

When the film was over, we filed out a door and down two flights of stairs into the museum, which is actually the bowels of the trade centre site.

There are various bits of twisted metal on display. You'd actually think these were works of modern art, if you didn't know any better. They are quite beautiful. It sounds weird to say that but I love architecture and buildings and all things related, so for me, although these are now symbols of some catastrophic act of violence, the fact that they are still standing in this vast museum is a wonderful wonderful thing. These pieces of metal are marked with which floors they came from - marked during construction of the towers I may add. That's why they know exactly where these twisted pieces fell from.

Also in situ are the very foundations of the towers. You can clearly see how big they would've been and inside the foot area of the north and south towers are exhibitions (no photography in those areas).

In one are various artifacts from victims, such as wallets, shoes, watches and a very old looking Nokia mobile phone. It was very moving reading about who these things belonged to. One wallet was from a British guy who traveled to New York for work. He was at a conference in one of the towers. There was his British driving licence (that ran out in 2010), a Tracker card for the alarm on his car, a BA members card and a Sainsbury's points card, along with a £20 note. Such a shame.

I made my way through each exhibition and took plenty of photos but it felt kinda wrong. They've got the fire truck that was fire damaged and its ladder melted and twisted by the heat. There's various papers and glass from windows. There's crystal from the Waterford crystal new year ball from 2002 which has the names of victims etched in it. There's large banners and drawings from children about the events of that day. There's the 'survivors stairs'. So called because it was a way for some people to get out of one of the buildings. A miracle you could say. I was fascinated by it all. There's rolling news reports playing on tv's. There's the sounds of the survivor stories. Sad. Effective.

Some pictures and writings on The Last Column

Twisted metal, like works of art

When I had seen everything there was to see I made my way up the stairs and into the light. I'd been down there in the dimly lit museum for a little under three hours. Certainly a must see in my book.

By now it was around 2.30pm. I wondered what to do next. Opening my trusty companion Google Maps I realised that one of the things I'd saved (starred) which wasn't too far away was the Irish Hunger Memorial so I walked around by the riverside to see it.

A strange little built up meadow in between two huge skyscrapers. You walk through a dark tunnel which has text written into glass tiles on the walls with the story of the Irish famine. Names, stories, facts, figures, it's all there. Once through the dark tunnel you're out into a courtyard are of a small derelict building, through an iron gate and then follow the path to the top of the monument, where you get a view of the Hudson. All along the pathway are rocks planted in the 'meadow' with the names of Irish counties on them - Dublin, Cork, Wicklow etc. The grass is wild and there's little dainty flowers everywhere. From the top I looked back in towards the city and it was a strange sight.

The old and the new, buildings

looking back into the city, yellow cabs, green meadow

It's not upside down, the rock was like that

After I left here I headed back towards the 9/11 museum site and planned on heading back to the subway. But just across the road there was a street market and as I got closer to it i saw crowd gather and heard some cool music. I stopped by only to be caught up in a 25 minute street show by the Afrobats.

I swear, those guys were great athletes, acrobats and they had the patter to draw a crowd. They certainly know how to work the crowds and get the crowds involved. I tried to get a video but my phone froze and I only got a little bit of footage. As it happens, when I ventured to Central Park two days later, the same group of guys were performing the same show and guess what? I stood and watched it over again because it's that good. You can find them on YouTube if you're interested. Have a look!

When that was over, I walked up the street market and bought a couple of touristy I Love NY t-shirts and a home made lemonade. Just what the doctor ordered.

By now my back was aching having been on my feet since 9am. It was 5pm and time to head back to the hotel. But not before a detour up Chinatown and then onto Topshop on Broadway to buy some shorts from Tophop and jeans from Madewell. Well, it is New York. I have to do some shopping!

Angela x


  1. Amazing, you are such a skilled photographer! I have never visited New York or met these strangers, but there is something both moving and comforting about these pictures.

    p.s. I really like your blog, I have just discovered it, and I must say you got me hooked up :D just to know... where are you from and how old are you? XD I know I might sound a bit creepy, but I'm just curious (I'm a 15 year old girl from Italy if you want to know),

    1. Hi Layla, thank you for the very kind comment. I loved my trip to New York, there are so many great photographs waiting to be snapped. I am from Scotland and I am more than double your age.
      Do you blog? if not i highly recommend it. Your own little part of the internet to look back on in years to come :)


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