New York City Your Best Tool for Learning English

I’m sure we can all remember where we were on September 11, 2001. I was in high school, my junior year, in Latin class. At that point, very few people had cell phones – and the ones that did had the very basic Nokia devices. Googling the news or watching live streams wasn’t even a possibility. Silence struck the rooms and the halls. We were all laced with fear and concern. When I came home from school that day, I remember the hugs my parents gave me. I remember the eerie silence and sadness at dinner that night. I think even then, as a teenager, I knew that nothing would ever be the same.

Fourteen years later, I moved to New York City. Despite the excitement and pride that I felt once I got here, I also knew that I had respects to pay. I knew that New Yorkers had a pain in their heart that I would never be able to understand. The first time I went to visit the 9/11 memorial, I was overcome with emotion. It was almost as though you could FEEL the loss. It was so incredibly moving. Every time I go back down to the site, I’m moved and humbled.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of that tragic day. It’s an anniversary that won’t be celebrated. It’s a day that will have every single person reflecting on the tragedy, remembering loved ones that are lost, honoring those that served and fell.

This will be the 6th year that I’m in New York City on September 11th. Every year, there’s always a silence that falls upon Manhattan. It’s almost like people whisper instead of talking. You catch people lost in their thoughts, gazing out the windows. Some people cry. It’s a day that affects everyone.

Since this year is 20 years since the attacks, you might be thinking about what you can do to honor those that lost their lives. It’s a bit tricky due to the ongoing pandemic and the safety measures that we’re all taking to stay safe, but there’s plenty that you can do to mark this historic day.

1. 9/11 Memorial and Museum

This location will be reserved for family members of those lost for health safety purposes. While the location will be highly trafficked this day, it’s best that you reserve this spot to let the victims’ families have this moment to mourn, honor, and grieve. This memorial is always open, so if you feel the calling to show your respects, please consider a different day of the week or later in the month.

2. Visit your local church or place of worship

Most holy locations will be holding special services on this day for people to pay their respects. No matter your belief system or religion, you’re bound to find a location that will fit your needs so that you can honor the anniversary in your own way.

3. Stream the experiences

Because of our place in the current pandemic, it’s also not a terrible idea to honor the day by staying home. Thanks to our streaming capabilities today, there are tons of documentaries that tell the personal stories of people affected by 9/11. You can revisit the day through other peoples’ memories, learn about those that lost their lives, and honor their memories through storytelling. I’ve done this a few times on select years, and it always leaves me humbled. I recommend this for anyone that is looking for a way to understand, cope, and mourn.

Like the Titanic sinking, Pearl Harbor, or the JFK assassination, anyone alive during historic events like this will never forget where they were when they heard about the attacks. I’ll never forget that day in Latin class, and I’ll never forget the feelings of sadness when updates continued to come in that day, that week, and that year. While I wasn’t in New York City when the attacks took place, I know people that lost loved ones. I’ve listened to the stories of those that were here, who they called, how they coped.

Now that I’m here, and now that I’ve seen the memorial and visited the museum, there’s a newly found relationship I have with the event. Emotionally, I feel connected. Our company will be holding multiple moments of silence on the day, and while I’m not a religious person, I do plan on paying my respects to the fallen. I plan on calling my family and telling them how much I love them.  I plan on going to bed that night, thankful for my life.

Category : Stay in New York

With September all of a sudden here, you might be wondering what there is to do this month to keep yourself entertained (and safe) as we get closer to cooler temps and shorter days. September is one of my favorite months of the year, just because there’s a crisp in the air that makes outdoor activities comfortable and fun. As we continue operating with the pandemic and doing what we can to stay safe and protected, you’ll want to approach anything you think of with some careful planning and consideration. We still don’t know how much longer we’ll be living in this state of uncertainty, but while we do, it’s so crucial that you and your friends think carefully about every activity you take part in.

A good rule of thumb before committing to any activity is to research their refund policy and how they’re navigating safety – this is a good habit to integrate so that you can make plans without worrying about losing money if the event gets cancelled or coming into contact with someone that isn’t vaccinated. We’re doing better than last year, but we still have to operate with caution. With that said, here are a few things I’ve got my eye on this September in New York City that I’m looking forward to.

1. Times Square Ferris Wheel, through September 12

This is a brand new and limited-time event, so be sure to do your research on this one! First of all, if you feel like braving the crowds in one of the biggest tourist traps in the city, good for you! Secondly, if you want to grab a brand new view of the city in an experience that is only here for a short period of time, be sure your phone is charged for the incredible photos you’re about to capture! Of course, since you’ll be in the epicenter of the Big Apple, you’ll be able to interact with people from all over the world, putting your combined native language and English translation skills to use big time! Don’t forget your mask and your hand sanitizer!

2. Governors Ball, Citi Field, September 24 – September 26

After being cancelled last year because of the pandemic, there’s a lot of anticipation for this year’s event for that very reason. Large crowds are tricky to navigate during this time, so it’s important to bring your mask, plenty of hand sanitizer, and be smart about how close you are to others. The organizers are requiring proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result, so you can rest a bit easy with that consideration! As of now, it sounds like the event is still on, so get excited! There are tons of big names in the lineup this year, so start preparing by building a GovBall playlist on Spotify, which will put your English skills to great use! Before you know it, you’ll be singing along in real time to some of the biggest names in music right now!

3. The Magic HOUR art walk, South Street Seaport, through September 30

The pandemic has impacted every single person in this world in countless different ways. For those of us that stayed in the city during the 2020 year, our experience was unique due to the high COVID diagnosis rates and the limited healthcare crisis. For artists, this was a moment of reflection and expression and inspiration – if you’re interested in taking a peek into others’ experiences, this is the immersive art walk for you. This exhibition houses the works of over 30 artists through multi-sensory exhibitions that will transport you to the experiences of so many that will make you relate, understand, and feel connected in a time when connection wasn’t possible. While this event is outside, still be sure to bring your mask and your vaccination documents so that you can feel safe and confident during your experience.

The world is still adjusting and healing from this ongoing pandemic. We all need to continue doing what we’re doing to keep ourselves and everyone else safe – but that doesn’t mean we have to stop living and experiencing the beauty of New York City. While there are certain things that are opening back up, we have to treat these allowances with respect – we do that by being mindful of our behaviors, respecting others’ space, and protective ourselves. The end of COVID is hopefully in our future, so let’s keep working together to make that someday soon.

Category : Stay in New York