Can’t keep us down, we’ll dig deeper

Sarah Steimer

Enormous holes dive into the earth, uncovering thousands of multicolored stones and bedrock. It is the site where once, 20,000 years ago, a glacier slid painstakingly along what is now Lower Manhattan. This summer, for the first time in many, many years, these rocks saw the light of day.

Americans have once again proved they can find an upside to anything, most recently the site I just described – also known as Ground Zero, where the Twin Towers once stood and where workers have begun preparing for the new World Trade Centers.

As the excavation began on the site where Tower 4’s foundation will be laid, engineers noticed there were discontinuities in the bedrock. They had to make sure the building would not stand on ledges that would be sure to crumble under a building’s weight. The potholes will be filled and the ground secured before concrete is poured, but not before America oohs and ahhs over the phenomenal geologic structure in the middle of the greatest city in the world.

This story made the front page of the New York Times Web site on Monday and served as further proof that if you look at the cloudy American sky, there’s a silver lining. In these times of great turmoil – the stock market struggles, the election battles, the new Facebook design – it’s good to see there’s always light at the end of the subway tunnel.

And to find the bright side to a story on Sept. 11, of pure American tragedy! Perhaps THE American tragedy to date. What’s even more, it’s a story about the great geological structures under the earth. Take that, we’re attractive on the outside and the inside. Well played, nation.

The story the New York Times ran was brilliant, describing the geological structures themselves, showing a photo of the glacial pothole with great city buildings in the background on a sunny day, and even quoting the “average guy” construction worker on his take of the whole affair.

“And a mechanic who introduced himself simply as Al made it plain that this was one New York pothole he would miss. ‘I think they should keep it,’ he said. ‘Turn it into an aquarium. Fill it with fish. Do something special – not just another building.'”


If only bin Laden could hear this. Take away our buildings and you give us physical and psychological insight. When bin Laden hands us lemons, we’ll make fish tanks.

It really does show the strength of Americans, though. Even with plummeting faith in our leaders, citizens will flock to the voting booths because they have hope. Even when pollution smogs up the skies, everyone breathes easier knowing that scientists find new ways to reduce greenhouse emissions every day. Even when terrorists attack the country, we will point out the beauty of the earth that now lies uncovered.

This story of the “Grand Canyon of Lower Manhattan” and other silly little stories that seem a degree below important help us acknowledge that things could be worse. That there’s a pro to every con. There’s always reason to celebrate.

Even when it seems like everyone is taking selfish gulps, try to remember the glass is half full, America.

Sarah Steimer is a junior magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].