Posted in coco, travel

New York over the years

Lately, with all the documentaries about 9/11 and New York, I’ve thought a lot about my trips to New York. I’ve been there a few times over the past 20 years and of course, because of 9/11, the city changed in those years. Most obviously the Manhattan skyline. So I went through my fotoboxes (unfortunately I don’t have all of that digital yet) and looked for pictures of the New York skyline. Here’s my personal New York-journey through the years.

In 1996 I enjoyed this view from the Empire State Building:


Early 2001 I saw the Twin Towers up close and personal:

A few years later, the skyline had changed, picture taken from the Staten Island Ferry:


And this year I finally made it back to NY and saw the new tower from both sides, one picture taken from the Empire State Building and one from Liberty Island:

The skyline changed, the city changed, but it is still one of all time favorite cities in the world. Hopefully I’ll be back again soon.

Posted in column, travel


One of those days. You still remember where you were, with whom you were with and what you saw. I was at work and the first message I got was from a friend: ‘A plane fell down on one of the Twin Towers.’ We were both shocked, because we were on top of one of the towers a few months before. Unexpected trip to NY and somebody told us the view was stunning from up there. I remembered being up there, standing against the window, looking down. Unbelievable high. And then up to the top. Outside. Beautiful.

That day I just cried. Hearing about the people jumping out the windows, seeing the scared people in the streets and of course thinking about the people in the towers, but also in the planes. It was just too much to handle.

Since then I was back in NY a few times. The first time I went to Ground Zero. Heartbreaking. But I didn’t break down until I saw the Hilton Hotel. Remembering that in 2001 I stood there as well, taking a picture of the Twin Towers mirroring in the hotel. The hotel was still there, but in it there was no reflection of the towers.

This year I finally got back to NY and visited Ground Zero again. It just gets to you, but I think the city did a great job with the memorial and the museum. Very sophisticated, honoring everybody who died that day. The pain will never go away, especially for those families losing a loved one that day, but it’s become a great place to remember.

RIP and never forget!

Posted in coco, column, groupie

How to embarrass yourself at first sight – part one

It’s a very cold day in New York, february 1996. I’m standing at the artist entrance of the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. Friends from the USA, Canada and Holland are getting together that weekend to see Jeff Trachta perform his role of Danny Zuko in the musical Grease. I’m waiting there to just say ‘Hi’ to Jeff, but it’s cold and I’m unsure if he’s not already in the building. A man comes out of the artist entrance and smiles at me. Nice guy.

A little while later the same man comes back and sees me still standing there. He smiles again and while I’m getting really cold, I said ‘Hi” and asked him if he knew whether Jeff Trachta was already in. He didn’t, but he went inside to have a look. And sure thing, a few minutes later he stuck his head out again. Jeff was already there and he was rehearsing, so he couldn’t come out. No problem. I thanked him, because now I got to go back to the warm hotel and wait for the others to arrive.

The musical is fantastic. Grease used to be one of my favorite movies growing up and the cast is really really good. Half way through the show Teen Angel makes his entrance. For a second I stop breathing. Isn’t that the friendly man from earlier? At the end of the musical one of the cast members introduces him as a very special guest star: Al Jarreau!

It takes me a short while to figure out who he is, but when I do, I’m ashamed. He’s a way bigger star as all of the people in that theatre together and I asked him if he could check to see if somebody else was already in the building. Way to make a first impression! 🙂
Nice as he is, he doesn’t have a problem with it. I feel the need to apologize, but he laughs about it. He thought it was very funny. And I never forgot his name, when I hear ‘Roof garden’, I think about that cold day in New York.