The third day. Our first meeting of the trip, I woke up at 8am, took a shower and ate breakfast to be dressed and ready to go by 9am. We get going on the subway to the Smoking Gun, our first stop. Nobody has a clue where we’re going, including Jim. We transferred to the N line (Yellow) and Jim was explaining to us what stop we needed to get off at. He had also circled the stop on his map. Three quarters of the way to where we needed to go and I still couldn’t figure out what exit he was talking about. Finally I asked to see his map, only to discover the circle he had made was on the Green line and the exit he needed was not on the line we were on. Fortunately, a Yellow stop was a mere two blocks from our destination and made it easy to find once we got off. The Smoking Gun was a very small operation run by two of the weirdest New Yorkers we may run into all trip, all joking aside these guys are brilliant. Bill was the Editor and he was a fantastic story teller. He really made the meeting interesting with his debunking investigative journalism. The first story he told us about the Smoking Gun was about documents that they had found that proved Al Sharpton was working with the FBI. The guys also found the woman, Izola Curry, who attempted to assassinate Martin Luther King Jr. before he had really become the famous civil rights activist he is now known for but after 39 years, she was living in an old home center in Brooklyn. After speaking to her, he realized that she really couldn’t remember anything about MLK but the sheer fact that not many people knew she even existed and here she was alive and well. She may well be responsible for the emergence of Martin Luther King Jr. as the leading advocate and face of civil rights. After the smoking gun we went to a little unknown entity separate from Major League Baseball but in control of virtually all of their digital media called MLB Advanced Media. This third party company is contracted by Major League Baseball to do all of their online website management as well as television, news, and replay. We talked to two gentlemen from their business development team, one of them was a vice president in the company and the other was a third year salesman working with corporate sponsorships and business to business promotions for Major League Baseball. After asking questions and given a brief overview of the company we took a tour of the third floor facility. The tour was incredible because I was able to jump on the set of a television set that had been set up for the Washington Nationals network which was really cool. One of my favorite parts of the tour was seeing where they review all of the instant replay for Major League Baseball that they just instituted this season. It was so cool because on television they would always say that they are sending the replay to New York and we were able to see that room where they reviewed all controversial plays. Most people like the institution of replay in baseball to assure that calls are made correctly, but baseball conservatives believe the game should remain pure of replay to preserve the human element of missed calls. I like the latter.
After Advanced Media finished I went to the subway to find somewhere to go while Ali, John, Jordan, and Sam had all gone to watch a live viewing of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. While on the subway, I decided that because it was still the middle of the day that I’d go alone to the 9/11 memorial and the World Trade Center. As I got to the beautiful south tower fountain I noticed several people standing in silence, and others walking through. My attention was grabbed by a security guard that was explaining to a young Chinese woman some design specifics to the towers that had now replaced the fallen towers just thirteen years ago. I listened in to their conversation and after spending twenty minutes with this guy, named Mike the Security Guard, learned everything about his life and had a kind way about him that made people laugh. I went into the museum and spent the next two and a half hours there absorbing the nostalgia that was in every remnant they had preserved from the events of that very sad day. I made my way through the museum and came back to the fountains to say my own prayer to those who did not live beyond that day in 2001, for their families who survived them, and for my family who is more important to me than anything. I still remember that morning when I woke up to get breakfast and my mother is sitting in the living room in tears while glued to the screen. My dad in frustration was pacing in the kitchen trying to get ready to go to his kindergarten classroom that was an hour away. Back then I wasn’t able to comprehend what was going on, why it was happening, and the people it affected. I hadn’t walked through the building, and I hadn’t spoken to employees in those offices. My mom had. Despite the horrible attacks, we are resilient people and look at it as a learning experience in a time when we needed to look in the mirror and ask ourselves what kind of people we were going to be? After my moments of self reflection, I decided to pass the time by going to 42nd at Time Square and almost walked into an off-Broadway show when Sam called me to ask what I was doing for dinner? Apparently Late Night with Jimmy Fallon had released their attendees after the hour was done and we all met up for dinner at the Hard Rock Café. It was one of the most emotionally draining days of my life, but in times of reflecting I think we discover something new about yourself and in the midst of a bustling city I found in myself a new desire. Thank you NYC.