Wednesday, November 11, 2015

NOT Sketching Ground Zero

It was my first time back to the site since before THAT day. You know the one, with that impossibly blue sky. It seemed like a good idea to go back again and sketch there now. After all, 14 years have passed.

As soon as I got off the Wall Trade Center subway stop, though, it brought me back to the days when there were only happy associations with this area. St. Paul's Chapel. Century 21. The traders in their good suits.

And then, the closer I got to the site, throngs of tourists started popping out from every side-- and the stranger it all felt. 

Having lived in lower Manhattan most of my adult life, the memories still haunt--and the feelings are still raw. As fellow blogger, Mark, noted below, it's a sad place to visit.

So I devised a strategy to pay attention to everything else BUT the memorials that day.

Namely the folks of all stripes.

With all sorts of affiliations. 

Boy Scouts


even Urban Sketchers

It was pointed out that of all the trees in the area, only one survived. And that since that day many have been planted, but only that tree remains green. I took this as a good sign of hope against all odds and focused my attention on it.

Lunch at a pizza parlor nearby gave us an opportunity to see (and sketch) more characters.

After a little sustenance, we sketched some more (natch!) 

St. Paul's Chapel aka "The Little Chapel That Stood"

For me, the throwdown (and beer) after sketching is always the highlight of the day.  Especially after being around this somber site all day, it was a nice pick-me-up.

Patricia shows us what she's got

 Our newest members, lovely Lilly and Leiana

Suzala's turn

Susan in the spotlight

 All in all, it wasn't exactly a fun day, but it certainly was a memorable one.


  1. Shawne, a terrific job of recording the days events through a New Yorkers eyes. I love the diversity you captured through your sketches and photos.

  2. This is a wonderful post Shawne - on so many levels.

  3. You did a great job "not sketching the memorial" and concentrating on the sights and characters around it. Love all the photos too.

  4. thanks, Susan, Mark, and Joan. your kind feedback is much appreciated.

  5. You are not alone. I work a block away and looked back to discover that I have only sketched there during the winter when the tourists are not around and the temperature is less than festive. It is a challenging place when you are battling memories while tourists are putting their bags on the name of one of your life long friends in order to take a picture with their selfie stick. I know the difficulty behind making that first visit. I hope to be able to visit the museum one day but that is a long way off, the courage isn't there. Congratulations on dealing with your demons and thank you for sharing your story.