A Few Days in The Capital of the World

My blogging was light this week because I was visiting New York City with my extended family. I’ll be back up over the weekend with my thoughts on the RNC and so on. If you need some political meat to chew on, here’s the leak of the DNC’s internal e-mails which reveal an establishment — an a DNC chair specifically — who heavily favored Hillary Clinton, to the point of pushing garbage stories deleterious to Bernie Sanders. I expected as much. I’m still waiting for the big wikileaks bomb to drop in November when they reveal that Clinton put Trump up to running.

In the meantime, here’s a few thoughts from NYC:

I first visited this city in 1985 for the National Bible Contest. I visited again a few times in 1995 and 1996 (my best friend lived here) and took my in-laws here in 2003. The contrast between what New York was in 1986 and what it is now is startling. In 1986, New York, like the rest of the country, seemed locked in a death spiral of drugs and violence. Everywhere seemed unsafe. Sirens filled the air. The city seemed steeped in a grim film of soot and decay. Now, to be fair, it probably wasn’t THAT bad. But to a 13 y/o kid from Atlanta, it certainly seemed like it.

But now … the city is safe and clean. Families walk in the streets. People of different races play Pokemon Go together. Everyone is friendly or at worst, indifferent. As a Southerner and a Yankee-hater, I am predisposed to dislike New York. But that’s become impossible. It really has revived itself into a great city.

The last time I was here, the World Trade Center was a giant pit. Now, One World Trade Center rises proudly into the sky and the views from its Observatory are spectacular. Hell, the ride up is almost worth the price of admission. Beside it are two black pools marking the footprints where the towers once stood. Around each are inscribed the names of those who died. It is a somber and moving memorial. My daughter found the inscription “Rahma Salie and Unborn Child”. Rahma Salie was an immigrant, a Muslim woman pregnant with her first child who was murdered by fanatics in the name of God. Names like that go on and on around the pools.


We spent a day touring out to Liberty Island. My grandfather went through Ellis as a 17-year-old German immigrant in 1919. It’s amazing to think about what he thought when he saw the statue (still relatively new) rising out of New York. And it’s amazing to think that hundreds of thousands of people come to our shores every year and have that same feeling of having arrived in a Promised Land.

America is still the Promised Land, no matter what the Screaming Orange Zonker might tell you. Despite the best efforts of our political class, we still have three hundred million people in this country who get up, go to work, put their kids through school, obey the law and respect each other. If that were not the case, New York would still be seeing two thousand murders a year, the WTC would still be a smoking hole in the ground and no one would be breaking their back to get here.

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  1. repmom

    Inspiring words to read with my morning coffee. Thanks, Hal. I’ve only been to NYC twice, years ago. The first trip was in the summer, second one at Christmas. Loved it both times, but Christmas was a special treat. I would love to go back to see the WTC Memorial; can only imagine how emotional it would be.

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  2. CM

    I still have my WTC ticket from 96. The second time I was there was 6 months after the towers came down, when there were still hundreds of ‘missing’ posters around the site. I also look forward to visiting the memorial on my next visit.

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