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BS: A New York Minute

SINSULL 25 Sep 01 - 09:55 AM
catspaw49 25 Sep 01 - 10:28 AM
InOBU 25 Sep 01 - 12:09 PM
annamill 25 Sep 01 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,Souter 25 Sep 01 - 05:54 PM

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Subject: A New York Minute
Date: 25 Sep 01 - 09:55 AM

My nephew sent this to family and friends - his musings on seeing the Twin Towers for the first time since the disaster. He asked me to share it with my friends:

I went down there today.

Was that ghoulish? I don't know, probably, but I had to see for myself. But that's done now, once was enough.

For the last two weeks I have been sorry I didn't look at the towers more closely, enjoy them more, go to the concerts they used to hold in the pavilion, drink more slow cups of coffee on the benches outside of Building 5. I wish I had appreciated their being there. But the scene I saw today is not one I wish to linger over. It's one I wish to hold onto, so that I may never forget, but I hope time will eventually pull a gray sheet over it and leave it to hang somewhere within reach but not within sight.

Walking towards the smoke, I didn't know what to expect. Turning the corner and seeing what's there now left me feeling like I'd been kicked in the gut. It doesn't loom towards you since it's surrounded by tall buildings. This is still Manhattan after all, and once you're here, nothing looms, it just appears. One second you're walking towards it and the next second it's there.

The skeleton of one tower is still standing. I don't know which one. I've never been able to keep them straight. It's twisted and looks like it could topple at any minute, but it's still there and it stands a good seven stories high. Having seen it for myself, I disagree with anyone who says it should remain standing as a monument. Once you've seen it for yourself, you realize that it would not stand as a testament to those who died, it would stand as a creation of hate, a monument to terrible, calculated evil.

I wish I could begin to explain to you what it is like there, at what we're all supposed to call "Ground Zero." I feel like my account is so insignificant and so far from the real truth, given the stories the rescue workers and salvage operators can tell. But this is what I do, so I have to try.

The air is thick, even where I work, four blocks away. You don't walk in it, you walk through it. I could feel my throat start to burn again, though to a much lesser degree than it did on my march through Chinatown and up through the East Side on the afternoon of the 11th. There are still fires burning, if you can believe that, two weeks after the towers collapsed, but the smell is different from what I remember. There is still the powerful smell of ash and chalk dust, but there is something new, something whose source I do not even want to consider.

A small village of tents has sprouted up across the street from the wreckage, in the square where I used to go get my lunchtime falafel. Where the speed-chess players used to draw crowds there are now dozens of first aid stations as well as people handing out drinks to fatigued rescue workers. The crowd of onlookers while I was there was well behaved, many just like me, workers allowed back at their desks for the first time, walking over on their lunch break to take a look and prove once and for all to themselves that, yes, they really are gone. Like me, they walked up gingerly, hands stuffed in their pockets, and stood still for a few seconds to look. They took in the twisted metal, the pile of debris, the smoke, the blown out windows of the surrounding buildings, themselves looking out of place, somehow alien, never before having been visible to people from this side of the plaza. Then, like me, they turned around and trudged back towards their offices, back to their desks, to call someone they care about just to say, "I Love You."

We were all expected to stay behind police barriers, and we all did. Some people had come to pray, some had come to cry. There were groups of tourists getting their pictures taken, smiling and waving to the folks back home. Not even complete and utter destruction was going to keep them from getting their pictures taken at the World Trade Center. And in little acts like that, in the forced smile of a French woman trying to get that "here's me at the…" photo of every New York City landmark she had placed in her months-old itinerary, we see life moving on, at least I do, and it makes me feel a little bit better. It's a start.

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Subject: RE: BS: A New York Minute
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Sep 01 - 10:28 AM

"I feel like my account is so insignificant..."

Sins, tell your nephew that nothing could be further from the truth. Beautifully written with several very well turned phrases that speak to many of us......"...I hope time will eventually pull a gray sheet over it and leave it to hang somewhere within reach but not within sight." That says it all doesn't it?

Your thread title.......That phrase came to mind during the attacks......that it would forever hold a new meaning for me.........


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Subject: RE: BS: A New York Minute
From: InOBU
Date: 25 Sep 01 - 12:09 PM

I know how you feel, I never liked the buildings, but I can't stand seeing the empty sky where they were. I keep going back in my mind to the bookstore in the concourse, the dark cafe with the bad food I used to meet my wife in for a quick bite before court or some other bother. I miss the only view I really liked of the buildings, coming up out of the path train and seeing the white lines rising up the cliff face. I even miss the untainted memory of that memory, Now, when ever I think of that path train exit, I remember the young office worker Genie and I sat with a few hours after the buildings fell. He was covered in ash and crying. He had just come out of the train when boddies were flung out of the building by the explosive shattering of the windows when one of the plans hit. He said the boddies exploded like apples when they hit the sidewalk around him. Now, that is all I can remember about coming up from the train into all that blue sky and white stone. I think of how much of that stone I breathed in two weeks ago, and how a little of that building is now part of me. Pray for peace, work for justice, let's end all this maddness - Larry

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Subject: RE: BS: A New York Minute
From: annamill
Date: 25 Sep 01 - 12:51 PM

I just can't do that...yet..

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Subject: RE: BS: A New York Minute
From: GUEST,Souter
Date: 25 Sep 01 - 05:54 PM

I didn't like them much either. They blocked my view of Independance Day Fireworks. They were unstable. They attracted tourists, and probably terrorists (God was I right about that last one!). But I saw them fall, and I just started sobbing. Riding the boat into Manhattan, I'd deliberately look somewhere else, so no one would think I was a tourist. That's how my sister and I recognized them, they couldn't find the WTC. But if I ever got lost, I could just see them and know I was looking south. I had no idea I got lost so much. I used to go to the Borders bookstore before viviting my mom's office. Then I might visit the farmers' market, or get one of those falafels. I went to Stuyvesant High School for a while. Right in that area. Sometimes I'd cut school. I could've been there, in the bookstore. Now I can't do that ever again.

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Mudcat time: 22 January 12:40 AM EST

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