In the weeks after September 11th

and our own, much smaller sadness, Nick & I walked from Union Square down to the wreckage of the Towers. Gopnik gets it right:

“What is so difficult is the scale of the disaster: both greater than you can imagine and smaller than you can believe. There is so much left, so many tall glass towers, that if you didn’t know something vital was missing, you would neve guess it. The huge pile into which the towers crumbled looks like what it is, a vast and terrifying graveyard. But just across the street, not fifty feet from the site, stands a building with an ad for E*Trade painted on it: ‘Finally, a place on Madison Avenue where you can invest money, instead of spend it.’ It’s as though the sinking of the Titanic had taken place right beside a subway station and been watched by a frightened or curious crowd who saw something unbelievable, the great ship listing and rising up and breaking in two and the people falling from the funnel, and then walked home from the disaster and showed their families that their hands were still cold from touching the iceberg.”