Tuesday, February 14, 2006

My Best Valentine's Day Ever

It was very cold outside in New York City on Valentine’s Day. It was too cold for me to spend an hour or so volunteering at Point Thank You at Christopher Street and the West Side Highway after work. So, I decided to walk up Broadway to thank a few Ground Zero heroes face- to-face, like I had done the night before. I had wanted to do something special for Valentine’s Day for the World Trade Center workers that we see, but due to my work schedule, I hadn’t been able to get something together in time.

As I was walking up Broadway, I spotted a relatively new Hallmark store. I went in, thinking that I might be able to pick up some individually-wrapped Valentine’s Day chocolates. It was a very nice store, but then I realized that all of the people in the Valentine’s Day card aisle weren’t choosing cards - they were on line to pay for them! I had no desire to spend a half hour or more on line, so I made my exit. I walked up a little further, and then I saw it - Cookie Island, where “every cookie needs a belly.” I entered the shop and I could tell that I was in the right place. It was a bit on the pricey side, but it was perfect for what I had in mind. The owner and the staff were extremely helpful, and I walked out with a small gift box of cookies, nicely tied with a red ribbon.

Armed with my cookie purchase, I walked up to the NYPD officers who were on duty at the entrance to the Ground Zero Observation Platform. I handed the two officers the cookies as a token of appreciation. They were very nice and suggested that I take them home and enjoy them instead. One of the officers said something about how, with his figure, he didn’t need cookies. I told them that I was not taking the cookies home with me, and the other officer asked if it would be okay to give them to the World Trade Center workers inside St. Paul’s. I told him that would be perfectly fine with me. One of the other officers noticed my Point Thank You “Nuts on the Highway” badge, and offered me a ticket to go to the Observation Platform. I told him that I wasn’t sure that I was ready to go up there yet. He handed me a pink ticket and told me to go ahead. So, I handed my ticket to the officer with the cookie-induced figure.

As I approached the platform, the church bells began chiming the hour. I signed the plywood wall like so many had done before me, and marveled at what a clear, beautiful night it was, with its deep royal blue sky and silvery crescent moon. I noticed the strange coincidence of the two graveyards alongside each other, centuries apart. The site itself looks like a huge excavation pit. While watching the construction equipment, it dawned on me that I have probably thanked at least half of the construction workers down there, and would probably recognize them on sight. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.

On my way out, I made a point of stopping back to thank the officers I had met, and then walked back to my subway station. While it was not a romantic evening by any means, I would have to say that this was my best Valentine’s Day ever!

©2002 by Carol Martzinek. All rights reserved. Distribution via e-mail, disk, print, or any other form is prohibited under U.S. copyright law without express permission of the author.

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