There’s a turn at the end of my block that takes you back to Washington Street instead of letting you merge onto the West Side Highway, and between the turn and the highway, there’s a little strip of plants, a path and an area with benches, some facing north and some facing south. It was on one of the south facing benches that I would sit with my dog, Dexter, after 9/11, trying to figure out exactly where the Twin Towers had been. No one seemed to know the exact spot, except for once a year, on the anniversary, when lights would shine into the sky from where the towers used to stand.
Day after day, evening after evening, Dexter and I would sit side by side on that bench, me trying to absorb what had happened to our country, Dex pressing close to my side thinking whatever thoughts dogs think. And so my husband, Steve, and I began to call that little oasis Dexter Park.
The Towers are gone. And now so is Dexter. But looking downtown, there’s something wonderful to see - the Freedom Tower, tall and elegant, against the bright, city sky.
You won’t find Dexter Park on any map. As far as I know, it has no name at all. But if you find it anyway, it’s a good place to sit and think about things, the good things that happen and the things that are pretty awful. And if you plan to do that, it’s best to have a dog at your side. When mourning a loss or celebrating an achievement, there’s no better company than a dog. Never was. Never will be.