Our hotel was directly adjacent to Ground Zero in the Financial District in Lower Manhattan.
The World Trade Center site (Ground Zero) is being rebuilt into office towers, museum and memorial, retail and arts centre and a transportation hub.
Right now itâ€™s just a 16-acre construction site; although judging by the look it doesnâ€™t seem like a lot has happened in terms of rebuilding in the past years.
It seems they are still in the early stages of construction.
It was a little eerie and haunting being there, but thereâ€™s a great sense of regeneration about the neighbourhood.
The concierge at the hotel told us how there were more residents in the Financial District than before the 9/11 attacks.
He said he especially loved that young families were moving into the neighbourhood.
I chose our particular hotel for nostalgic reasons.
I made reservations for that same hotel back in August 2001.
So when I saw the hotel again while looking for places to stay for our trip, I knew we had to stay there!
Back in 2001 I had an appointment at the Canadian Consulate in New York.
We decided to drive up from Maryland and make a mini vacation of it.
We’d just started looking into moving to Vancouver, and everything seemed to be moving so fast.
The hotel was far from the consulate but close to my aunt Mary who worked at One Liberty Plaza.
I donâ€™t recall what exactly but there was also something about wanting to be near Battery Park.
My reservation was for September 21st and then 9/11 happened.
The hotel sustained damages during the attacks and had to shut down.
Our reservations were canceled.
In the end we stayed at an awful hotel in Secaucus.
The second day into our trip back in 2001 we walked all the way from Times Square to Ground Zero.
Strangers milling about, looking sad, lost and uncertain.
Some were crying, some hugged their loved ones tighter and other just stood there dazed.
I remember calling someone, I donâ€™t recall who but I think I may have said something like â€œItâ€™s all gone, there’s nothing here.â€
It felt nice to go almost a decade later and see how much it has all changed.
Itâ€™s much quieter now, itâ€™s not so chaotic anymore, people still visit but they look reverent now.
Weâ€™ve all changed.
And sometimes when you go back you realize just how much youâ€™ve changed.