9/11 tragedy happened when I was holidaying in Manhattan. It was my very first trip to the US. On the day when it happened, I stood in front of Times Square watching news on the big screen in complete silence with a large crowd. Having witnessed such a huge event; same as everybody else, my shock and sadness was beyond words.
The day after, September 12th, everything was closed. The city was in a state of shock, uncertainty and mourning – as was I. As a tourist, I had to drop my original plan, which was going to see ‘The Lion King’ on Broadway. Theatres and museums were all closed. Suddenly, I had no where to go… Despite it being the day after such an unimaginable attack on the US soil, it was also a sunny, beautiful and very warm early Autumn day in Manhattan. I did not want to spend my day sitting in front of TV watching more sad news; which I had done the night before. So I decided to go for a walk to Central Park.
In choosing between a Ruby Mae black T-shirt with jeans and a Plein Sud silver silk floral dress; I went for the floral number. The colours and the prints of the floral were very soft and subtle, in another word, it’s not overtly cheerful. ‘I’d wear it as a memorial dress today.’ I thought.
Manhattan is a great walking city. From where I was staying at that time – 38th Street East; between the first and the second Avenue – it’s only a short distance to walk to Central Park. As I walked through Fifth Avenue, it surprised me how empty it was! It seemed like it was only me as there were very few others walking around. There was hardly any car driving by… I had never seen Manhattan this dead, deserted and empty before! ‘The news said it!’ I thought it. ‘It’s a ghost town here!’
As I walked along, I gazed at all those American flags hanging in the shop windows – they were everywhere!! Suddenly, there was a guy walked pass me. He then turned back and smiled at me. He was a tall slim African American man. He soon walked away. Within few minutes, the same guy reappeared from behind. I realized that he must had walked around the block and came back to me…
“Hello!” He smiled. “We’ve met twice in one day, it must be fate!” He said.
Oh well, I did think his approach was kind of cute!
‘Haha!’ ‘Is that so?’ I smiled too.
His name was Joseph and we started chatting. Just like me, Joseph was going to spend the day at Central Park and even brought a rug to rest on. The 9/11 event… it seemed brought everyone closer together. Joseph and I sure talked about the tragedy and how much it affected us as we walked along. When we got there, we realized that lots of New Yorkers were thinking the same thing as we were – spending the day at Central Park.
“You know what grabbed my attention when I saw you?” Joseph asked, while he pulled out a rug from his bag.
I had no idea.
“Well, the fact that you wore such a pretty floral dress!” “You walked so proudly… It’s like you were sending the message out there to the world that your spirit was not beaten…”
“They want to damage our confidence and inject fear to our daily life, BUT look at you! Here you are! In your pretty dress and still living your life!!”
‘Wow! How refresh to hear Joseph’s view just because I favoured this floral dress!’ I thought.
“Remember, LIVING WELL, is the best revenge.” Said Joseph.
Joseph and I exchanged post cards for months after I returned to Sydney in October the same year. Ever since that afternoon, I often quoted his “Living well, is the best revenge.” to others.
And who knew? When I picked out THAT floral dress on that day, that it could say so much….
Photography by : Road Wang
Love the visual of the light in the dark and grasping onto hope instead of despair. That was a crazy time for the country and I couldn’t imagine it being my first time here and witnessing such an event. BTW you wore the dress very elegantly.
Thank you Judah. Yes HOPE – I’m glad that you mentioned it – is what keeps us going even through the toughest and darkest time…
I’d love to think I wore this floral number elegantly; overall, I believe it’s this picture which gives such elegant vibe..,the camera was facing strong light, that’s why it created such an interesting contrast! And I DO love how the light travelled through the fabric…
Well, what can I say about my New York trip?! I didn’t have a trip, I had THE trip!! Something I’ll always remember… How could you not?!!!
Love your post very well written. I have a very similar motto, the best revenge is doing what your enemies believe you could never achieve or do. So you gather up the pain and use it as force to do positive to….and as Sam said which I totally agree..”Living well is the best revenge”. Love your floral dress what a wonderful statement. I purchased a floral dress last year orange flowers and green and white. It is my girly, happy dress. We all need a floral dress ladies. Our statement of happiness…..Oh yes…I purchased for this Spring…..A black Polka dot and white background dress, with small capped shoulders and v neck. I was inspired by your spots blog!:=} Keep up the awesome blogs I really enjoy them:=}
I’m so happy to read your above comment Ann-maree.
You said it well, it’s about lifting our negative energy and turning it into a positive use. To those who were/are unkind to us, why not using the time/energy to build ourselves up instead of handing them the power to hurt us/beating us down?!
Oh, I can’t wait to see you in your new polka dot dress! It sounds fabulous!! 🙂 X X
“Living well is the best revenge.” It’s so true.
Thank you for sharing this with us.
I always look forward to your blog updating. 🙂
Thank you Lingy. I’m glad this story inspired you! :-*
We all remember that tragic day well, your blog of your first hand experience has impact, New Yorkers inspired the world by continuing on with life so yes living well IS the best revenge. Put our troubles behind us and move on positively.
A very well written blog, with a beautiful photo to go with it. Well done, looking forward to your future stories.
Thank you Li. Well said about New Yorkers as they DID inspire the world by continuing on with life!
I’m glad that you enjoyed this story! X X
Reading your story, I relive September 11, 2001. Your choice of the floral print is indeed significant.
It is in fashion with Lifting our spirit, keeping our faith and staying the course. Thank you, Vivienne, for this thoughtful article.
Thank you for your comment; you are very kind to say that Margie.
I do believe in lifting our spirits.., life goes on after all… X X
Floral, femmine and oh so fab Ms Vivienne. A big yes to the philosophy espoused in your musings of a life well lived being a bulwark against the downers.
Thank you Greg. I’m so glad to hear this feedback from you! :-*