Liberty and the pursuit of happiness

I was in Central Park by 630am – and it may have been too early.  There weren’t that many birds around.  I added Magnolia Warbler to my list for Central Park but saw few other warblers.

I added cream cheese bagel and coffee to my waistline and got a cab south down Broadway.

Walking the last few blocks I came to Ground Zero.  I was struck by the buildings around it, still standing close to where those horrific events that killed 3000 people took place.  What must it feel like to go to work next to this site every day?

There’s not much to look at – but plenty to think about.  If you didn’t know about what had happened here it would look like just another building site.

Turning my back on Ground Zero, physically but not emotionally, and taking a few steps West, I could see the Statue of Liberty, designed by Frenchman, Frederic Bartholdi and built by Frenchman, Gustave Eiffel, this symbol of Freedom  has welcomed immigrants and visitors to the USA, and specifically to Ellis Island for 125 years.  Inside there is the inscription which includes the words ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free’ by Emma Lazarus.

I walked through Battery Park enjoying the sunshine and popped into the National Museum of the American Indian. Here I learned that a good horse had been worth 8 buffalo hides or 15 eagle feathers or 10 weasel skins or 3lb tobacco or a rifle and 100 loads of ammunition in the early 1800s and that many Indian tribes called horses, brought to the New World by the Spanish, after dogs; Big Dogs, Elk Dogs, Red Dogs, Mystery Dogs or Holy Dogs.

Before I took the return trip on the Staten Island Ferry – best value attraction in New York – it’s free, I remembered the billboards and news coverage I had seen telling me the world was going to end today.  Maybe it will – there’s still time – but I’m reasonably confident there will be a blog tomorrow.

Within these few blocks of downtown Manhattan I had been made to think about people’s lives ending out of the blue at Ground Zero, their ways of life drastically changing as the native American culture was largely overwhelmed and America giving many a new start in life on Ellis Island.  Anything is possible here.