20 hours, 12 empty cups of off-brand ramen noodles, 2 cramped legs, and there I was passing through Washington on my way to the great big apple. We, my father and I, vainly opted to take the train instead of the similarly priced airline ticket. A 24 hour train ride can be accustomed to taking the “scenic route” and that it was. Ironically, the worst part of the trip was actually getting to our destination and discovering Penn Station to be a madhouse of frustrated travelers. My father, born and raised in Jamaica, Queens, skillfully maneuvered his way through the crowd dragging me along in normal parent fashion. My sister waited outside the station eager to show off her new Long Island home. The house was quiet and barren, the late 70s architecture really created contrast against the next day’s destination.
In the morning, as early as a teenager is able to wake up, our destination was the new One World Trade Center and the 9/11 memorial that quietly sits next to it. Modern feats of engineering have always intrigued me so a trip to the 6th tallest building in the world peaked all interests. As I rolled off the half inflated air mattress onto the dusty hardwood floor I realized the time and scrambled to the bathroom. The face looking back at me in the mirror was one filled with fatigue, excitement, and introspection. On that particular morning, for no apparent rhyme or reason, my mind state was deeper than normal. Everything I saw spoke to me in a very artistic manner. The train ride was long and tedious as we eventually ended up back at the station of madness. Making it to the surface was confusing but once there not a soul could deny the beauty.
The sidewalks were filled with people of all varieties and backgrounds whilst the concrete giants towered over them like guardians of modern society. Car horns blared through the bucket drummers performance as he nonchalantly played his self taught set. The walk was long but filled with excitement. The streets around the massive tower were oddly empty as if it emitted a threatening presence scaring away comparatively tiny humans. The inside was a shock as you soon learn that the atmosphere is purely professional as the towers main purpose is business and not just an attraction. Even still the tourist show did not disappoint with the effort clearly shown. The scary fast elevator ride to the top also taught visitors the history of the tower itself and less about the infamous 9/11 terrorist attacks that occurred one block away. You soon start to realize that the city still fully hasn’t recovered from the attack. The view from the observatory solidified this realization as you could only see out into the rest of the city and not the memorial 120 floors away. Once you got past the… past, you start to realize the true beauty of the tower. Built from the ashes of hate now stands one the tallest and most structurally sound buildings in the world. The 9/11 attacks are sown into the building’s very fabric. New York, the city of imperfect beauty, was tested and fought back with the tenacity and creativity that only the greatest city in the world could pull off. As I sat on the train heading home, with my One World Trade Center lanyard barely hanging out of my pocket, the view from the top of that tower became stained into my brain. Constantly reminding me that even through great trial and tribulations, nothing is impossible.
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