Looking back on September 11 as the anniversary approaches

Two more weeks marks another 9/11 anniversary. Hate tried to destroy us, but the letters in “us” stand for United States, the greatest country on this planet.

In the 1600s, the downtown tip of our land is where the Dutch trappers and traders established a battery of cannons to protect their infant settlement. Thus its name Battery Park. It’s partly where America began . . . where our history began . . . where our city began . . . where 9/12 again began . . . and where I did a walkabout . . .

Construction has replaced destruction. Everywhere, new multimilliondollar residential and professional skyscrapers. Glossy big ticket shops — Gucci, Hermès, Saks, Century 21. Young people leaving offices, pushing baby carriages, walking dogs, pedaling bikes in shorts.

And where else can you do dinner outdoors at a restaurant in the park on the waterfront overlooking the Statue of Liberty? I mean, Wisconsin it’s not.

A tankard of ale away, corner of Broad Street, stands landmarked historic Fraunces Tavern. Circa Colonial 1762, our oldest building is where Gen. George Washington dismissed his troops. The place recently booked a live DJ, but this we won’t even mention.

Cunard’s offices, in front of which grief-stricken relatives stood for news of the Titanic? Today that building fronts crowds taking selfies alongside the famous Little Girl and Big Bull, who gets some folk stroking parts of its various parts.

Pay history some attention

Battery Park, where the Dutch first settled, is where once stood a customhouse. Now what stood there was a FedEx truck double-parked in front of what’s now Museum of the American Indian. Nearby is Evacuation Day Plaza’s sign: “1783. Last British ship left the Battery ending the war.” Nearby that is where, after seven years occupation, Washington marched to Bowling Green, ripped down the Union Jack and hoisted the Stars and Stripes.

The beginning of Broadway marks the beginning of our “I ♥  New York” symbol. Our first ticker tape parade, 1888, was to welcome the Statue of Liberty.

Then come the commemorative embedded sidewalk plaques: Feb. 21, 1790, memorializes Gen. George Washington. It’s a prescription away from a Duane Reade, where one guy exited carrying contact lens solution. A listing announcing where Washington slept is near a fragrant TGI Friday’s.

Hamilton’s hangout

Across from a fast-food joint stands King’s College, where, long before Lin-Manuel Miranda wore those tights, is where Alexander Hamilton studied.

And at Broadway and Wall, Trinity Church. Daughters of the American Revolution’s American flags surround Hamilton’s burial plot. His tombstone reads “the Patriot of Incorruptible Integrity.” Plus: “He died July 12, 1804. Aged 47.” (These nice ladies somehow neglected to mention Alex also founded the New York Post . . . I mean, understand it’s not that I’m looking for the DAR to give me a plug or anything.)

Alongside Hamilton lies his wife, whose inscription reads: “Eliza . . . widow of Alexander Hamilton. Born at Albany . . . Interred here . . . 1854.”

One downtown legend is a reminder that Robert Fulton invented the steamboat in 1815. Another’s: “June 1932. Amelia Earhart, First Transatlantic Solo Flight by a Woman.”

But lest anyone think olden days were our glory days, Battery Park City’s home to Tyra Banks, Oliver Stone and DiCaprio, when he’s not on a plane.


And, listen, if you have a minute, take a look at the $4 billion Oculus in our new World Trade Center.

To live down there, save your money. Who knows, it might be valuable again someday.

Only in New York, kids, only in New York.



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