[meteorite-list] Finding ground-zero
From: MacovichCo_at_aol.com <MacovichCo_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:48:59 2004
THIS IS A MESSAGE I JUST RECEIVED VIA A FRIEND...ONE PERSON'S VIEW OF GROUND=
-ZERO AND HOW SHE GOT THERE....
Thanks so much for your kind messages.=A0 There are so many more people in s=
much greater need than I right now, but I very much appreciate your
thoughts.=A0 A number of you responded that you liked to know what was going
on, so I thought I'd try to share with you what I've been up to.
After hearing the reports on tv that no one could get down to the epicenter
of this tragedy, I basically had reserved a spot on the couch for my third
night in a row of watching and waiting, wishing I could "do more".
Randomly, one reporter invited some teenager on the air to say what
supplies were needed down at the scene, and the boy said, "the firefighters
need coffee."=A0 So I looked at my friend who was similarly camped on the
couch next to me, and we both said, "we can get coffee."
One can of coffee became 4 cans....and 3 pizza pies and gallon jugs of
water, which we shepherded into a taxi to head down to Chelsea Piers, where
this boy said coffee was needed.=A0 Chelsea piers are huge - there's an ice
skating rink, golf practice area, community gyms....I wasn't sure where to
stop, but when we saw some firefighters standing among some boxes, we
thought they might like some pizza.=A0 It turns out that this area was a
loading area for community stores to donate goods - supplies of paper
towels, cloth towels, immense packs of bottled water, vast quantities of
Quaker Chewy Granola bars.=A0 Individuals also brought supplies - a six pack
of soda, clothing like t-shirts and pants for the firefighters, boxer
shorts.=A0 One young boy came over with his parents, struggling under the
weight of a gallon cranberry juice bottle, label half peeled off, which he
proudly said he had filled with water for the "police men who fight fires".
Without being told what to do, everyone fell into line, the "pass the
bucket" variety in which you grab from your right and pass to your left, to
get everything off the trucks and into piles on the pier.=A0 One by one, NYC
Police harbor patrol boats would drive up to the pier to be loaded with
supplies to be brought down to the firemen and policemen working at the
site.=A0 With three big tins of heated ziti in hand, I boarded the boat...an=
only when I was handed a filtered mask did I fully realize where I was
The trip down the Hudson River was short....and it was a beautiful, warm
night.=A0 Any other night it would have been gorgeous.=A0 Any other night th=
New York City skyline wouldn't have had a giant cloud of white smoke
billowing up into darkness.=A0 The air quality definitely worsened as we
approached the dock.=A0 The last time I had been on that exact dock was a fe=
years ago when my project threw a dinner cruise for a client.=A0 This could
not possibly have been more different from that evening, when the windows
glistened, and the flags along the harbor flapped wildly in the wind.=A0 Now=
the flags were still, at half mast.=A0 The buildings were covered in white /
gray dust.=A0 Paperwork of those who used to work so far above lay strewn al=
over the pier.=A0 Whole chunks of buildings near the Towers were peeled out
from their place, sides of a building like a banana peel of window frames
and twisted metal.=A0 The World Financial Center glass atrium, the Winter
Garden, was a ghostly metal frame with some window panes still intact - but
the only lights reflected on the few remaining windows came not from the
internal lights, but the eerie refraction from the bright worklights being
used at the site.=A0 With dust on everything, with buildings cut and windows
blown out, it looked very much like a movie set....the glass atrium like
the model for the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars, and the rest like a set
which was painted in the same matte colors without differentiation.=A0 Almos=
like a science fiction cartoon picture.
We took the supplies off the boat, and brought them to the principle
loading area by the pier.=A0 Since we expected rain, everything had been
moved under the building ledges where restaurant outdoor cafes once stood.
Piles of clothing and towels, medical supplies, work supplies like shovels
and pick axes, and food lay arranged in their proper area....and from there
as needed would be taken from their large storage areas to the "up front"
area.=A0 Clutching pans of pasta, I sloshed through the mud puddles, and
navigated around the fire hoses which lay all over the ground, through what
was once the World Financial Center complex.=A0 Volunteers had written
messages in the dust which covered windows: "Let's Show the World",
"America Stand Strong" and "Thank You".=A0 I walked through the building and
emerged on the plaza side, facing what was once the World Trade Center
towers.=A0 The mass of twisted steel, heaps of concrete and huge polished
metal sidings of what was once the WTC ... it's just like what's on tv, but
it's huge.=A0 Firemen were climbing all over these huge piles, covering the
mounds of rubble, passing buckets of rubble one-by-one.=A0 It was unreal.
The sheer volume of volunteers milling around was so impressive - and the
horribly immense pile of material to be cleared was unimaginable.=A0 Just
when you might have thought you were at a construction site, or a junkyard,
you'd find a shoe.=A0 Just lying there.
After passing out food briefly, I spent the next nine hours reorganizing
their supplies inside what was once One Financial Center=A0 The escalators
were still, and dirt was everywhere, but the roof was solid...and would
provide needed protection from the expected rain.=A0 I was humbled by the
police and firefighters who were volunteering.=A0 When I asked one fireman i=
he wanted to lie down to rest, he pointed at a picture of his wife and
daughter, which was taped to his arm.=A0 "Every time I get tired, I think of
them, and I have the energy I need."=A0 A number of policemen there were
"off-duty" - the force didn't want them to risk injury, so they aren't
allowed to work there while on the job.=A0 On their off hours, however, they
can do as they like...and after working 12-16 hour shifts, they're back at
Ground Zero, ready to help.=A0 One policeman has a compromise with his
terrified wife that he'll call her every hour to tell her that he's ok.
The rain came pounding down, and still they stayed out there.=A0 We ran out
of rain gear, and I hated to tell them we didn't have anything to keep them
dry.=A0 We even ran out of garbage bags for a while from which they had been
fashioning slickers.=A0 Rather than get all huffy, or mad, they simply
shrugged and said, "that's ok, thanks for your help."=A0 We ran out of long
sleeve shirts for a while, and though they must have been freezing, when I
gave them the news they said, "ok, thank you for looking."=A0 I don't know
any of their names, because they all referred to each other as 'Brother'.
They helped me to carry my carts of clothing over the fire hoses, and were
incredibly polite.=A0 They made sure I wasn't cold, and continually asked me
if I had eaten anything.=A0 I couldn't believe with everything they were
doing, they took the time to check on me.
I had no idea what kind of wonderful, caring people we have protecting our
city.=A0 These people will not give up.=A0 They just keep going out there.
They nap for a few minutes, and then they're right back on the pile.=A0=A0 I=
was a privilege to help out, even just for a little while, to "do more".
They were there when I arrived in the evening and they remained after I
left in the morning....they will not leave...and they're simply remarkable.
My heart goes out to them.
Hope this finds you safe and well,
Received on Fri 14 Sep 2001 04:05:58 PM PDT