Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Closure - Ground Zero, New York City

I have been an intermittent visitor to New York City since the '60s and was ever impressed by the vibrancy and energy of this astounding metropolis. For me therefore, 9/11/2001 became one of those rare and indelible moments that I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing.
In the 15-1/2 years since that day, the memorial site in lower Manhattan seemed at times to have lost its way and thus was high on our agenda for an update. What we found was well worth the visit. The first of several new buildings, One World Observatory, is up and occupied, standing at 1776 feet in height. It anchors one corner of an 8 acre park-like area shaded by 353 white oak trees - one for each lost firefighter. The park includes two one acre man-made waterfalls, a huge symbolic dove taking flight and the whole forms the roof of the underground memorial museum, A triumph in planning, design and execution. Check out some pictures here.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Altkirch, France - June 18, 2012

Back in the relative comfort of France our next stop was Altkirch, a little town of 5,500 or so in the southern end of the Haut-Rhin department of Alsace. The town is traditionally regarded as the capital of Sundgau - German for South Country - the name given to the part of Alsace between the Jura mountains and Switzerlandand. The city's name comes from the German Alte Kirche, or old church.
The town is on a small hill which was the site of an earlier castle destroyed in the 17th century, the remnants of which were subsequently used as landfill before the church was constructed. Although no vestige of the castle remains be seen, there are still a few remnants of the defensive ramparts that once completely encircled the town and a good part of La Vieille Porte - the old gate - still exists at one entrance to the old town. The Place de la Republique contains a few renaissance period houses as well as a substantial sculptured fountain called the Fontaine de la Vierge.
More pictures here.