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by Patrick Patterson, New York Correspondent.  [February 6, 2002]





[]  New York has long been a mecca of historical sites and fabulous wonders -- no more so than after 9/11, when hometown lookiloos and curious visitors jammed in and around Ground Zero for a peek at History.

To make their rubber-necking a more pleasant, family-friendly affair -- and to keep the jostling jovial throngs from hindering work crews -- the City of New York erected a viewing platform at Ground Zero.

The Hollywood Investigator sent one of its many Big Apple correspondents to the South Street Seaport ticket booth -- where eager sightseers obtain their free tickets to the viewing platform -- so that we could take our hugely vast family of investigative minds on a virtual tour -- behind the scenes at Ground Zero!




Whew, that's a long line! But happily, we do the waiting for you! Luckily, our reporter remembered to bring plenty of sandwiches.



Said our reporter: "I sensed a city unifying in the face of adversity.

The crisp wintry air was tingly with anticipation as we neared the ticket booth.

It's January -- yet it feels like Christmas.

Reminds me of the line for Space Mountain at Disney World!"




The ticket booth!

(Hey, was this thing designed by the guy who did Starbucks?)




Forgot what the Twin Towers looked like? No matter! Tables behind the scenes at Ground Zero abound with tastefully-framed photos. Here's a young man selling artsy black and white photos. Cash only!




Don't like black and white? Frames too pricey for your purse? No matter! There's a sales table for every aesthetic taste and budget. Here are some colorized photos wrapped in cheap cellophane.




But, if you already have enough 9/11, Twin Towers, Rudy, Bush, and giant Miracle Cross photos to open your own museum, we also have some lovely wall calendars.

(Hey, what's that in the upper right hand corner...?)



It's a prayer station!

You've heard of Little Italy and Chinatown?

This is New York's gaslight district.

Just off Wall Street, the area is famous for its money lenders, orphanages, and poor houses.

[The Hollywood Investigator has since identified them as Mission NYC Ministries.]




No American tragedy is complete without a Wall Of Remembrance, and Ground Zero is no different.

As this second line inches toward the viewing platform, sight-seers find plenty of graffiti space to share their prayers, poems, flowers, ribbons, candles, crosses, flags, t-shirts, teddy bears, and finger-paintings.




Many folks posed before the wall for keepsake family photos. But to show them in the act, we'd have to show you their faces. And being a family paper, the Hollywood Investigator has refrained from publicizing the photo hounds faces -- thus exercising this paper's usual good taste!




Here's the ramp to the viewing platform overlooking Ground Zero.




Our reporter reports: "One feels the excitement as one nears the top. This must be what the first man to climb Everest must have felt!"




What a majestic sight! One pities those unable to visit the Big Apple to enjoy this experience firsthand -- or through the Investigator!




But wait, there's more! Just around the corner -- behind the scenes at Ground Zero -- we find this additional bonus! A statute on the back of a pickup truck. It's -- no, not the famed and controversial Firemen's Statue -- it's a statue of Depression Era construction workers.




Our reporter reports: "These metallic men were so lifelike! Especially the one on the far left. He actually appears to be moving!"



He IS moving!

That's no statue.

That's Italian sculptor Sergio Furnari, perched and sitting pretty -- behind the scenes at Ground Zero!




Well, it's been a long day and we're tired. But it's a good kind of tired. The kind of tired that follows a full and fulfilling family day.

We laughed a little. We cried a little. We enjoyed that vicarious thrill that comes from being a part of History -- without actually having suffered for it.

Now our reporter goes home ... by foot and behind the scenes at Ground Zero!

Patrick Patterson lives in New York. He has previously covered the February peace march and post-9/11 security in New York. His experiences as a Los Angeles based paparazzi are revealed in Hollywood Witches.


Manhattan Sharks

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