By Renee Lishka
My first visit to New York City is a trip that I will always remember. The sights, the sounds, the bustling of the New York City traffic that had only echoed in movies and television shows before. I wanted to take in as much as I could in the two days I spent there. I wanted to remember everything I saw, everything I heard so that whenever I closed my eyes I would remember it exactly as it was when I was there. I still remember it.
Another thing I remember are the many tourists carrying around selfie sticks. Before going to New York I hadn’t seen very many of them, but tourists were carrying them around everywhere they went. From Times Square to Greenwich Village, even to the World Trade Center Memorial Site. As someone who seemed to be on the outside looking in on various perspectives of the phrase, it began to irritate me to see such an abundance of the most annoying contraption ever invented. I began to ask the question, are people just too self involved to notice the world around them?
I admit that even I have taken a selfie on occasion, but not very many. Most of the occasions were because of a haircut or because no one else was around to take one. Traveling to New York alone, I did take a selfie or two just to document and see myself in the city I always dreamed about going to.
The thing that bothered me about the people with the selfie sticks were the excessive use of it and how often the camera was turned on themselves rather than what was around them. Here I was in the most prestigious city in the entire world and it seemed people were more worried about making sure they capture themselves with the Statue of Liberty behind them, rather than turning around and admiring what’s in front of them. To me, going to a site where thousands of people died tragically and using a selfie stick to take a selfie (and smiling) just didn’t seem right to me.
Going to the World Trade Center I felt the presence of all the people who died there that day. I felt their sadness, their anger and the longing the must feel for eternity to connect with their loved ones, as they tried to that fateful day. My heart swelled with sadness as I stood there and watched the the waters trickle down to the imprint of one of the Twin Towers. Tears escaped me when I saw the faces of those victims inside the World Trade Center gallery. I felt that being there was not about me, but about being there for those people and showing love and support for the families who lost their loved ones that day.
Taking a selfie should not be permitted upon such sacred grounds. NBC reported that the Pope Francis visit to New York will involve a ban on selfie sticks. If caught with a selfie sticks they will be confiscated and people will not be able to get them back. I know that there is a time and a place for fun and using selfie sticks, but I also think that there is also a time and place to where people should put their cameras down and just enjoy what’s in front of them without worrying about taking the best photograph. Because while it’s great to capture those moments on our cameras, it’s also even better to experience those moments and remember them forever.