ne dollar. One dollar. One
dollar," the man said as he held up a postcard showing the New York
skyline as it used to be, with the Twin Towers still standing. Next
to him, a woman offered face masks for sale.
That was the extent of the hawkers we came across as we moved
around the barricaded perimeter of the former WTC, which is little
more than a big, ugly demolition site.
We wanted to visit, not out of morbid curiosity, but to pay our
We lost a family member there, and our respects were intended
for him as well as for all who perished in that place on Sept.
We also had hoped to get a better sense of the devastation --
one that would replace the two-dimensional TV images -- and then be
able to turn and walk away with some degree of closure that might
begin to ease our burdened hearts and minds.
We left the Jersey side from Hoboken, taking a ferry to Pier 11
on the east side of lower Manhattan. Starting at the beginning of
Wall Street, we walked toward Broadway. There were soldiers on
every street corner and throngs of police officers.
We headed north on Broadway, and saw that the perimeter around
the site was blocked starting at around Liberty Street. There were
three viewing areas we found along Broadway: Liberty Street, Maiden
Lane and John Street.
We were among hundreds, maybe a few thousand, of people milling
around, and I could hear people gasp as they turned the corner onto
Liberty Street and got their first real-life view of the site.
Flowers and candles had been left on a table at the edge of that
barricade. People offering religious brochures walked through the
It was a windy day, and the air was full of tiny dust particles
that stung our eyes. From the Liberty Street viewing area, I could
barely keep my eyes open to look at the site.
There was a crush of people along all three viewing areas, many
taking pictures and some filming with camcorders. It was strangely
quiet among the crowd. The sound of a wrecking ball broke the
solemn silence every few minutes.
We found a slightly different view at each of the three stops
along Broadway, but each one was like peeking through a door left
just slightly ajar. We did not find the closure we sought.
I think now that it simply does not exist.
Donna Tunney is executive editor of Travel Weekly, Travel
Weekly Crossroads and Travel Management Daily.