top three

Dad and Gina, 2004Gina has been completely wrapped up this last semester with school activities. It seems all she ever talks about is what Mr. Vertulo, her rowing coach. is planning for her crew/boat placement, how practice went, or what boyfriend Nick thinks of this or that issue.

One evening she was going on about both topics, and for no evident reason, I smiled briefly and a little wistfully to myself. Gina noticed and asked what the expression was about. I hesitated a moment, but then confessed to her that I kind of missed the time when I was the most important man in her life. Gina did her own internal calculation and then replied, “Don’t worry dad, you’re still in the top three!”

Times Square

Our first night in NY, we broke into about 15 groups and dispersed to see 3 different broadway shows. The plan was to rendevouz afterwards about 11pm on the median next to TKS for a photo appointment. We showed up, and it was absolute chaos. It would have been tough enough to keep our kids together if we were alone; BUT there were at least 6 other youth groups with an appointment with the same photographer in the same place. And then the crowd started attracting tourists and hustlers including a guy with a large white python snake under his coat.

The photographer had a small stepladder and a pathetic little bullhorn, and he tried to organize. We shepherded and tried to keep an eye on our individual groups. This night I had mostly freshman women and it was hairraising. It started to drizzle a little, and it got later and later. One of our shows was late getting out, so we ended up going last with the photographer.

click for a hi res versrion of the photo

This picture came out fabulous, and almost makes all the street-level anxiety worth it! (click on the photo for a high res version on my flickr account).

Because we ran so late, the subways downtown closed for construction on our way back, our group got separated, and stranded, and we had to catch a bus for the final leg to the hotel. The last of us limped in about 1:20am. but thats another story.

Ground zero

Our hotel in New York was almost next to ground zero, and I got a pretty good look at it a couple of times from a bus window and from walking in the neighborhood.

Sunday I was accompanying several senior boys on our way from Battery park, and I steered us back toward the site on our way to lunch. I hoped to get as close as possible. There was no obvious viewing point and we settled for passing the site via a covered scaffolded walkway on our way to the Financial Centers for lunch. That route was the ticket, and we passed through a small memorial area with a good overlook of the excavation and construction. There were some fresh flowers stuck in the gridwork, and a large sign listing the names of all those lost in the attack. We stopped for a few minutes. No words were spoken. I became aware of how quiet the place was for being in the middle of New York city.

After a bit, we continued on our way and had some lunch.