21 May 2006

Ground Zero

After 4 nights in a midtown hotel, on Saturday we shifted south to be closer to the work action for next week. Travelling down Park and then onto Broadway in the cab took us from the refined avenues of the well-heeled to the working class bustle that is Soho and Tribeca. What a contrast, and what fun it is to be in this area! Our hotel, the Millenium Hilton, is smack next door to what used to be the WTC towers and is now a gaping hole in the ground which was quickly dubbed to be Ground Zero on the morning of 9/11/2001. Our 54th floor hotel room gives us an eagle’s perspective of the site.

It’s incredible to know that the buildings surrounding the site escaped relatively unscathed as the 2 100+ storey towers pancaked down in clouds of dust. The Hilton’s windows were blown out and everything was covered in powder, but that was it. M still shakes her head over the fact that on the Saturday before 9/11/01, she and 2 friends were standing on the observation deck of the WTC and looking out over New York – among the last 3 days of viewers to stand on the platform.

Our room also looks down onto the Hudson River which is always awash with vessels of all kinds, including barges, yachts, ferries, pleasure boats and cruise ships. Beyond is the Jersey shore, and as well as the sightseeing helicopters and light aircraft that skid past our window, we can see bigger planes landing and taking off at Newark.

It’s a stunning view – we’re happy!


BuJ said...

wow! M was there 3 days before 9/11?

that's scary.. but thank god she's here today :)

the reason the two towers collapsed was due to fire not from the kinetic energy of the planes. when that happens, the building becomes more mellable (since it's a steel-framed building, not concrete). when the building becomes mellable enough (which takes a couple of hours) the biggest force on it is gravity which acts downwards not the force of the crash which acts horizontally but only for a fraction of a second.

hence why the building fell neatly downwards, not all over the place.

plus the generally symmetric arrangement of the floors helped.

nzm said...

Buj - yes, having been in NYC over the weekend before 9/11 was truly sobering, and knowing that we stood on top of the South Tower only 3 days before it came down was chilling.