Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sixty at Sixty - Walking in the City - The Tribute in Light, NY

I don't often get to walk in the city in the evening. The length of the commute from Westchester County makes it difficult to find companions willing to venture into the city for the evening, and safety issues rule out solo adventures, so when I heard about a Shorewalkers' walk in Brooklyn on September 11th to take in the sights of the Tribute in Light it seemed an ideal opportunity.

Tribute in Light is an art installation commemorating 9/11. Twin beams made up of 88 7000-watt light bulbs laid out to create two 48-foot squares representing the shape and location of the Twin Towers span four miles from the roof of a parking garage in Battery Park up into the sky. The lights are turned on at sunset and remain on until dawn on September 11th each year to honor the victims and can apparently be seen from 60 miles away.

On Monday, sunset was at 7.11 pm. Our walk started at 7 pm outside Brooklyn Borough Hall which displayed a banner listing the names of the victims from the neighborhood.

We headed out to the promenade to get our first view of Manhattan's lights. I wonder if there will ever be a time when you can take a photo of the city skyline that doesn't include a crane!

Many of the old piers in Brooklyn have now been re-purposed for recreational activities. The one below had a soccer pitch, the next had basketball courts, handball courts, a roller rink, and outdoor gym equipment. Judging from the number of people participating, the facilities are obviously very popular with local residents. What a wonderful location to exercise!

As darkness fell, the twin lights could be seen, the views getting more spectacular as it got darker:

7.47 pm

8.15 pm

The closer we got to Brooklyn Bridge, the more crowded the Waterfront became, everyone keen to get the perfect photo, whether it was with a phone or a top of the range camera perched on a tripod. I think I was definitely in the minority by using a basic digital camera!

8.44 pm

As we crossed the Brooklyn Bridge we could see small white specks circling within the beams. It turns out that these are migrating birds which are attracted by the artificial light. Unfortunately, once they fly into the light they become disorientated and can fly around in circles until they are exhausted or crash into windows. In order to protect the birds, Audubon volunteers monitor the number of birds that fly into the beam and if the number exceeds 1,000 or an exhausted bird drops to the ground, the lights are turned off for twenty minutes to allow the birds to get away from the light.

I think the lights of Manhattan are a magical sight at any time of the year, but with the somber addition of the Tribute in Light, this was definitely an evening to remember.

When Mel is not out exploring she writes contemporary fiction with a twist of mystery and suspense. Her latest novel Trust No One is now available from Amazon. 


  1. Beautiful! I still remember exactly what I was doing when I heard the first plane hit the Twin Towers. I expect I always will.

    1. My sister in England called to say they had just seen on the news that a plane had hit the Towers. I turned on the TV, saw what I thought was a replay but she said, "no, that's a second plane." That is one phone call I certainly won't forget.
      It's hard to believe it was 16 years ago.

  2. A lovely tribute. That day, Mark and I had come back in from a walk and were putting in a yoga tape when the news came on and showed the second plane hitting the tower. I thought it was a movie trailer :-(

  3. I still can't watch replays of the planes hitting the building and I won't watch a movie/tv show if I think there are going to be any similar scenes, no matter how futuristic/unbelievable the movie might be.