Free World - September 15, 2021

“New Yorkers who were babies at the time of 9/11 are now grown up, nearly ready …

“New Yorkers who were babies at the time of 9/11 are now grown up, nearly ready to start their adult lives. People who were 20 at the time may be raising children of their own. And those who were middle-aged in 2001 are now thinking about what it will be like to grow old here, a bittersweet mission in a place that changes by the day, if not by the hour. The city doesn’t slow down, even when we do. But we do have space for memories,” writes Stephanie Zacharek. “A closed restaurant or store or nightclub is never fully forgotten, as long as there is a New Yorker alive who once loved it. We also have our own physical memorial to those who died on 9/11, which, like the buildings that once stood there, divides New Yorkers sharply. Some grumble that it’s a tourist attraction, but it’s one of my favorite spots in the city. On a hot day, the air around those deep, sloping pools is always at least 10°F cooler. It’s a place of true tranquility, of mournful reckoning, an instance of urban planning striking just the right note in the face of a city’s overwhelming grief. But as beautiful as it is, I think the truest 9/11 memorial isn’t made of granite and water. It’s the population of New Yorkers who got one another through that sooty, uncertain time of despair and signed on for anything and everything that might lie ahead. We barely speak to one another, but when we link arms, watch out. The memorial is everyone who stayed.” Read more, and see more pictures, at the link in bio. Photographs by @arnold_daniel for TIME


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