late and too many days later. The muse has left town and only now slowly
returns. This is a fairly depressive entry and I am not proud of it. I
should know better. I've contemplated not sending this, to wait and try
again. But, hey, you have to try, for better or worse. I hope I haven't
let you down.
was our first "normal" day and I have a lot kicking around in my head
from the weekend. That's for tomorrow. And I haven't forgotten the
pictures. Just haven't gotten to them. I will.
you're new to this list, the entries are chronological starting from the
bottom. Each entry is separated by a dashed line and is marked by the
date, starting from 9.11.01.
also cleaned up some of the more egregious grammar and spelling
mistakes, and I thank you for having patience with my sloth. I will try
to be more careful.
again, thank you for your feedback and thoughts; it's been uplifting and
eloquent beyond belief. I am trying to compile all of them, and with
your permission, would like to post them on a temporary web site my
friend Lisa is designing for this diary. I won't put anything on without
has even been some negative feedback that has inspired a lot of soul
searching. Something to write about. Maybe I should have done that
instead of this....
Friday and the 14th, but I am really writing this days later.
I’ve been hard pressed to write. I woke up late again, maybe 10ish. I
think the planes overhead woke me up. It’s too close to the sounds of
promised to have lunch with a friend from my improv class. He’s 19 and
only been in town about 9 months. We’ve bonded but I feel like an old
fogie always giving him advice, but he seems to want it… We are supposed
to meet at 1:30 but I want some time to write as well. But I seem just
to waste time, checking and answering emails, phone calls, checking the
news. Anything but be productive. 12:30 slips to 1:30 then 2:30.
have finally taken down the barricades from 14th and Houston
Streets. Traffic is now allowed to Canal St., which has become the
northern limit of the recovery zone. The Police Command post
across the street from me on Canal and Church has become a beehive of
activity and some top brass, a dozen or so cops and a few State Troopers
man it. Traffic to and from ground zero are in constant motion up and
down Church Street. Large trucks carrying huge boxes of equipment head
south, empty trucks come back.
logistics of this effort are staggering. Think about it. You have a
small army of workers; security, support, medical, labor, fireman, cops,
EMT, doctors, volunteers, clean up crews, engineers, politicians, etc.
Thousands upon thousands are at work in a small area. There seems to be
no real central direction, yet everyone seems to be making progress.
have to feed, house, cloth, provide sanitation and showers.
is heavy equipment parked all over the city, ready to start the real
cleanup once the Search and Rescue phase is finally called off. Food is
in constant supply, hot and cold meals 24 hours a day. Water, drinks
(Red Gatorade!), hot coffee, tea ready and available everywhere in the
sorts of equipment to support the rescue workers are becoming more and
more available. Socks, work boots, jackets, flashlights, batteries,
gloves, rain slicks, picks, shovels, buckets, masks all flow in
supplies are oversupplied; some are in short supply. There is a lot of
confusion as to what you’re supposed to donate today. This morning all
they wanted was heavy equipment, no more blood, no more food, no more
boots. Tomorrow, who knows what they’ll need. I’m sure it will show up,
in force, and donated. Volunteers, in many cases, off duty cops and
firemen, will split it up and deliver it.
go to war, we know we’ll win for we’ll bury them in cardboard boxes
before they know what hit them… A large part of our victory in World War
II was that none of the Axis powers could keep up with our production;
we drowned them in materiel. After the war we dumped tons and tons of
planes, tanks, guns, ammo, uniforms, everything, into the sea. We
couldn’t store it all…didn’t want it all. And we knew that the new
technology made everything that came before it instantly obsolete. Who
needs a P-51 when you have a jet?
beat Red Gatorade?
of all the issues and obstacles that need to be addressed. You have
power out in the most important part of the city, the financial
district. Tremendous amounts of communications and processing facilities
are dust. Thousands of businesses are office-less; tens of thousands of
people are homeless. Your transportation system is blocked going south
and coming north. Your ports are closed.
Stock Exchanges still have systems that work? Your largest bond broker
lost three-quarters of their employees. The world’s largest banks and
credit-card processors are running from disaster recovery sites, do they
you have to deal with keeping businesses in the city. You need to help
those businesses that are still in the area from going out of business
because they have been shut down for a week and there are 50,000 less
people to shop.
300 firemen are gone, and their equipment destroyed. Police have taken
big losses too.
President is in town.
don’t forget we’re in the middle of an election year, we’re supposed to
change mayors in the middle of all this…
works, for better or worse, it’s getting done. Our mayor is everywhere,
our governor is everywhere, and our two senators are everywhere.
Somehow, in some unknown way, it’s all coming together. And it hasn’t
even been 3 days. Flow…
Theory comes to New York and discovers the American Way…
finally settle on lunch at 3:30 despite the fact I haven’t written a
thing. Even though Canal St. is now open to traffic, we have to head
uptown, north, to West 4th Street where the subways are now
terminating. Layla is cleaning her place and is having a night out with
friends. Dinner, a show, and a nightcap. It’s a welcome change from the
from the past few nights…
though the checkpoints are down, the streets are, well, quiet, sparse.
Many of the ritzy Soho stores are open, but their biggest crowd is their
own employees. It is quiet, the narrow streets sad and depressed. The
clear sky, marred only by smoke, somehow lights but doesn’t illuminate.
We walk quietly up the street.
Houston St., previously a checkpoint, the usual Friday cross-town
traffic jams are invisible. It’s deserted, except for a line of big
generators parked on the curbs and by the median strip. Even they’re
quiet, awaiting their discovery (“hey, we got noine generaaters on
Houston” ) and a chance to come to life; to bring life back to a wounded
and there pedestrians walk, but they are quiet, it’s a solemn and quiet
is suddenly sad and depressed. Last night’s foray has not brought the
same peace, the same sense of helping the first night brought. We are
walking through the morgue and it’s depressing.
wants a café and it’s 3:15. We stop at a local place, normally packed
and noisy, now there are only two others inside and we have a choice of
a million tables.
Although we’ve helped, despite the deception required to do so, despite
the response, both our own and yours to our first night’s mission, it
all seems so inadequate and useless. The results are intangible and
there is still ground zero. We couldn’t change that, we couldn’t wake up
and it would be all better, a bad dream, a new Bruce Willis flick, Penn
and Teller’s best illusion yet… And the grim reality was yet to be
Everywhere families hoped that their loved ones would turn up. Posters
were beginning to be taped to every surface. We saw the white
dust, concrete, plaster and DNA and understood. But we didn’t believe.
We didn’t have hope, and we didn’t believe. We knew reality, it wasn’t a
movie set, Bruce wasn’t going to walk from the rubble and kiss the
blonde. Why didn’t anybody else see this?
did, they do. But they have hope.
hero’s who now live at ground zero have hope. It drives them beyond all
you battle because you give up hope.
you battle because you have hope.
hope there is humanity.
have that in abundance.
to New York.
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