Rain on the tail end of hurricane winds was forecast to persist for the rest of the day. I left David's apartment shortly before noon, after a relaxing and delicious mid-morning bagel and lox breakfast with Leslie. First on the agenda was a ride down to Ground Zero, where thousands of people had gathered earlier in the morning for the eighth 9/11-memorial service. The enormous pit, where the World Trade Center towers once stood, was still largely visible, but construction for the Freedom tower and five skyscrapers, with in the center a memorial and museum are now well under way. From here, my cycling excursion went through the financial district, along the East River, to the United Nations building where we had kicked off the Blue Planet Run two years earlier. This time around, the weather was nasty, and the wind and waves coming off the river splashed and crashed on the otherwise pleasant pedestrian and bicycle path. My new rain jacket was doing its job, and kept at least my arms and upper body dry! Then it was on to Central Park, for some "soggy" picture moments at the Bethesda Fountain, in the heart of the park. For the return trip, I followed Broadway, via Time Square, and all the way back to the Lower East side.
I loved weaving in and out of traffic, surrounded by yellow cabbies, racing to beat the traffic lights on the next block. Urban cycling at it's best! It was almost theatrical and certainly amusing to see these hundreds of people armed with their umbrellas, en masse, crossing the busy intersections, battling gusts of winds, flaring up from time to time. Many umbrellas didn't survive these forces of nature, and incapacitated with their wings clipped, littered the sidewalks near and around trashcans. Totally drenched from the non-stop rain, yet enthralled with this almost despondent yet spirited experience, I got back to the apartment by 6:00 pm ready for a hot shower and a change of dry clothes. That night, looking out from the apartment's window, two shafts of bright lights pierced into the gray and cloudy sky. A tribute in light, originating from near the Trade Center Ground Zero site, in memory of all those who died during the September 11 tragedy.