It’s no ride

I’m riding the PATH train into the World Trade Center this morning across from a dad on vacation — it’s that season, suddenly — who’s wearing a baseball cap and shorts over his never-seen-sunlight legs. As we come into the WTC, he brightens up, smiles, and shouts: “Hey, kids, Ground Zero!”

I wanted to slap him. No, actually, I wanted to pull him aside and say:

Sir, this is still a solemn place. It is the site of a terrible crime and tragedy. And for all you know, some of your fellow passengers on this train may have been here that day or lost friends or loved ones here. If passing a cemetery and seeing a funeral going on, would you shout, “Kids, a corpse”? I’m sure you wouldn’t. Please don’t get me wrong: I’m not asking that you treat this like a funeral. It’s not. Just please don’t treat it like Disneyland. Have a little respect. Thank you.

I wouldn’t do that because I wouldn’t want to embarrass the guy in front of his kids, who already appeared plenty embarrassed anyway.