Visiting New York City invariably turns into an exciting exploration even when you don't expect it. In August I was in NYC and ventured to some new places. I saw beautiful architecture and the streets were bustling with that unique lively summer vibe. 

A visit to the World Trade Center's new buildings and fountains was awe inspiring.  The flow of the fountain at the National September 11th Memorial was stunning and quite moving.  Also remarkable is that while the area is busy, people take time to pause and to reflect on the surroundings and significance of the site.  

The contemporary architecture in that area is impressive in both number and scale.  Beyond the fountains in the photo one can see the structure of the new PATH station at the World Trade Center Transportation Hub.  The enormous wings forming the roof of the main hall, called the Oculus, were designed by architect Santiago Calatrava.  In typical Calatrava fashion, the design looks inspired by natural anatomy and is meant to resemble a bird taking flight from a child's hand. The symbolism of hope is both beautiful and fitting. 

As a foil to the quiet thoughtfulness of Ground Zero, I also visited the ever-exciting Meatpacking District. This 20-square block neighborhood on the west side of Manhattan remains lively 24/7. Plenty of cultural and culinary experience awaits at every corner. Facades of former meat lockers as well as a few meat-packers like J.T. Jobbagy Inc. still stand proud along the cobblestone streets. Other attractions include the elevated park High Line built on an abandoned railway trestle and the brand new Whitney Museum of American Art. Whichever neighborhood I found myself in, it was endlessly fascinating to witness a constant mixing of the old and the new. 

Blog post by Mary Jones