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New York, Act 3, Scene 2

March 12, 2013

A taxi whisks us to the the World Trade Center Memorial site, down Broadway, past Times Square, the theater district, the diamond district, the garment district, the flower district, past Greenwich Village, Soho and Tribeca, past the signs directing toward the Holland Tunnel and the Brooklyn Bridge. Density, buildings packed so close together the eager tourist has no idea where one leaves off and the next begins: Apartments, offices, store fronts. Air conditioning boxes stuck like scabs on rain stained windows. But where are the people? The streets seem empty. Perhaps the New Yorkers are all in the 20 or more Starbucks lining the streets of New York. I had tried to count them, but the cab moved too fast, and there were too many. Were they drinking paper cups of Sunday java, lattes, and espresso, reading about life in the Big Apple in the New York Times?

Little traffic this early morning means we are dumped,, abandoned in front of an old cemetary near the ticket office. We walk across the street to where tourists wait in long lines.

“We have reservations,” Tim tells an attendant, and he directs us to the front and into the Tourist Center, bypassing the crowds in line.

“What’s this?” I ask, fearful of retribution by an angry crowd.

“Most people don’t know they can phone for tickets in advance,” the young man says. “We put aside the tickets for those who reserve them and then distribute the rest on a first come basis. We may run out of tickets before we run out of people.” He smiles, displaying huge white teeth rimmed in gold. “Sometimes people get all the way down to the site before they are told they need tickets, and they have to walk all the way back here.”

Cell phones pay, I thought as we enter the small gift shop to get tickets. Tim’s cell phone is not just cell, he says it is Smart, and now I understand.

  -to be contd.-

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