Greet Spans 200 Years of City History
Patrick and Joan Godfrey, who live just outside London, England, never expected to have a top city official show them around lower Manhattan on their most recent visit to New York. But, sure enough, when they arrived at Seven World Trade Center with their assigned Greeter, Karen Brueckner, on a rainy Tuesday morning in late October, they found Deputy Mayor Robert C. Lieber and Big Apple Greeter Founder Lynn Brooks standing by to give them an extra special greet.
Mr. Lieber, New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, is the organization’s latest celebrity Greeter for a Day, and this decidedly 21st century building was the starting point for their time together. The architecturally distinctive 52 story structure, completed in 2006 by Silverstein Properties, was the first New York skyscraper of the new century. It stands on the site of the third World Trade Center building to collapse on September 11, 2001, after being badly damaged by debris from the falling North Tower.
From the 21st century, the group walked a short way through the steady rain to City Hall, built just two hundred years earlier, making it the oldest city hall in the country still being used for its original function. Here the Godfreys enjoyed seeing the keystone-cantilevered staircase that encircles the rotunda, recently restored 18th and 19th century portraits in the Governor’s Room, the ornate City Council Chamber — and the high tech accoutrements of the 311 call center.
Asked why he chose to participate in the Greeter for a Day program Mr. Lieber responded, “This wonderful organization makes a unique contribution to New York’s economy because of the special access it provides for so many visitors to the city’s neighborhoods, history and attractions.” Evidently the Godfreys agree. In an e-mail following their visit to New York Mrs. Godfrey wrote, “After two and a half weeks full of new activities Patrick and I both agree that the best day of our whole trip was the one we spent with our Big Apple Greeters. Please pass that on if you can.”
Story by Jack Olive