[meteorite-list] Latest from New York [OT + Long]

From: geoking_at_notkin.net <geoking_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:49:00 2004
Message-ID: <v04220810b7c883a0945e_at_[]>

Dear Listees . . . Greetings from the Ashes:

We spent much of yesterday loading supplies onto tug boats from a
make-shift harbor here in Jersey City. I must have moved 1,000 crates
of Aquafina bottled water, and boy are my arms tired! Those supplies
(water, food, flashlights, batteries, towels, clothes, dog food for
the specially-trained dogs, you name it) were ferried directly across
the Hudson to the WTC ruins. The boats brought back a small but
steady flow of tired Jersey firemen and construction workers.

Heavy rain began last night, and continued through this morning. In
the mid afternoon I managed to make it all the way down to West St.
in lower Manhattan (a mile or so north of the WTC, on the West Side
Highway). On my trip in, I'd been surrounded by dazed and pale faces,
but as I walked south toward the plume of smoke still spiralling up
from near Vesey Street, the clouds broke, giving us a cool blue sky.
My mood began to change and I think, so did the city's. Everyone is
sad and shocked, of course, but they're done with sitting inside and
watching CNN. I saw hundreds of people on the West Side Highway
holding big hand-painted signs which read "THANK YOU," and "YOU'RE
people were waving flags, cheering, clapping, and offering cookies to
the endless line of dump trucks, garbage trucks, 18 wheelers, and so
on that have -- evidently -- arrived from all over the country to
help move debris. Every fire truck and police van received the same
round of genuine, almost rapturous applause. New Yorkers cheering
police cars? That was definitely a first for me. I saw an old lady
who could hardly get around on her own, carrying a small bag of water
and candy bars to a drop-off point. Donations for the workers. Two
sassy young latina girls draped in Stars and Stripes and offering
cookies to every passing cop and worker. A very well-to-do society
woman taking a tray of lasagna to the firefighters. And more
cameramen and satellite dish trucks than I have seen in my entire

I met three firemen from Memphis, Tennessee who had driven all the
way to be here to help. And another group from Ohio, with "Local 95
Ohio" pencilled on their fireman's helmets. Police units from all
over Jersey were very much in evidence, and I frequently saw fire
trucks and police cars from towns I'd never even heard of. The police
were much more friendly and patient than we are accustomed to,
politely asking "Sir, please stand behind the white line," as
President Bush's motorcade thundered by.

Many or most work vehicles displayed American flags, with signs like
"WE ARE ONE NATION," hand written, and stuck to their cabs with duct
tape. A Con Ed truck went by, packed with men in blue helmets, one of
them holding up a sign which read: "WE'RE ON IT NEW YORK!"

As the sun set, I headed north and east, and arrived at Union Square
Park in time for the unofficial candle-lit vigil planned for 7 pm. I
came upon an enormous collection of candles, NYC postcards, flower
bouquets, notes, letters, and so on which covered part of the park
near Broadway. As dark settled in, people poured in by the thousands,
many of them carrying candles. Sitting by the memorial I found myself
looking at people of at least 15 different ethnic backgrounds. Behind
me, a group of Buddhist monks were chanting; directly in front, a
gang of students sang "God Bless America"; off to one side, a
fabulous trumpet player belted out "When the Saints Go Marching In."
It could only happen in New York.

There is little vehicular traffic south of 14th Street, and people
are making the most of walking, in what are almost pedestrian-only
zones. Restaurants are quiet, but open. One bar on Third Avenue
handwritten on a chalkboard out front. The East Village streets were
alive with light -- almost every shop, bar, or restaurant had candles
burning on their own patch of sidewalk, or American flags draped in
the windows, or both. I stopped in at my friend's night club, where
some local musicians were working their way through a lively acoustic
set. "We're playing good American music, just to show the bastards,"
my friend the promoter explained.

I experienced a tremendous feeling of solidarity and determination on
the streets. Sadness too, obviously, but I have never seen New
Yorkers out, together, like this. And -- for the moment at least --
New Yorkers have lost their aggression. Not because they've been
cowed, but because it occurred to everyone at the same time to be
considerate of their neighbors' grief. An amazing event, indeed!

I promise more pictures tomorrow. It's obviously a lot easier to take
them, than to get them up on the website.

Best to all, and especially to my friends in Denver.

Geoff Notkin
Documenting the disaster at: http://www.notkin.net/disaster.htm
Received on Sat 15 Sep 2001 12:53:49 AM PDT

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