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Friday, June 24, 2005

Ground Zero characters

The Times recently had an article about the new visitors' center at Ground Zero and how it'll be nice to have real tour guides instead of crazy people:

"So much for the homeless-looking character who leads groups of gullible tourists at ground zero, loudly declaiming his completely bogus eyewitness account of the five airplanes that supposedly crashed into the World Trade Center and of the 20,000 people who supposedly died there. (It was two planes, and 2,749 victims.)..."

That made me think that one day we might be nostalgic for the days (years) when there was no official tour offering and the regulars were a bunch of characters.

Crazy flute guy. I used to feel bad thinking of him as crazy just because he can play Amazing Grace on the flute for 8 hours straight. No other song, just that one. Then I took one of the pieces of paper he is always handing out and sure enough, he's crazy. Space ships, aliens caused 9/11 kind of crazy.

Crazy artist guy. I don't think he's crazy, just gregarious. Usually he's wearing a fancy construction helmet. I never got too close, but I think his schtick is that he carries around that huge canvas for people to sign, the way visitors to the site used to write their names on every possible surface befor hanging a t-shirt on the fence around St. Paul's.

Crazy tour guide guy. I didn't think he was crazy, but he's the only one I can think the Times article is referring to. To draw an audience he shouts, "It's history, don't let it be a mystery." Every time I've heard him he's been reciting statistics about the buildings, how many floors, how many steps, how many windows... I always thought he was the best thing there because otherwise people just try to take a picture into the hole and go away not thinking about what used to be there. Hopefully the Times article was talking about someone else.

Not pictured, but I hope to collect them all to win, the "9/11 was an inside job" people who stand in front of the PATH on weekends, and the guy who illegally sells the photo albums and "dia del terror" books. I haven't seen the photo guy in a few weeks though, so he may have been chased away.

The Tribute Center, previously here, now has a banner and appears to have some construction going on.

UPDATE: Got the 9/11 guys.

I don't know what's up with the little umbrella stand.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The illegal photo albums and "Dia Del Terror" book guys.


Anonymous said...

when i wasin new york last year, there was this crazy guy with a flute who looked like steve forbes, or possibly my psych olandlord in germany, anyway, this cat played alouette and sang for like 10 minutes while we were waiting for an express in flatbush. then, he beaks out into, "are you lost? where are you going?" and my friend and i lost it. man i love new york

Anonymous said...

I haven't ever investigated the "9/11 was an inside job" guys. Do they think it was just a massive insurance scam?


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