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What I was blogging on 9-11, 9-13

9/11/01 - I was on the roof of the building at our company, around 15th Street and 10th avenue today at aproximate 1040am when the 2nd tower fell. The World Trade Center is gone.

I started sobbing hysterically. I'm not proud. I just watched thousands of people, innocent lives, just fade away in a cloud of smoke. Everyone in our company looks shell shocked. People are trying to leave town, and no one knows what transport facilities are open.

I'm thinking of Mark Tennenhaus, who worked, last I know, at Dean Whitter. Of Andrew Grossman who was a broker on the top floor, and was on Larry King the last time there was a bombing, and his brother Michael. (update - these people are fine).

I pray for you, and for all the people.

God save us.

UPDATE - the only way to communicate with people is email and instant messaging. hbgmsft on aol hgreenstein on hotmail

Second update - I walked across NYC, first to my family's store at 28th and 6th avenue, then to the ferry at 33rd and the West Side/Hudson River. Commendations to the NY Waterway Ferry staff for being wonderful, keeping order with a HUGE crowd of people, and taking everyone across to NJ for free. The staff maintained professionalism and friendliness in the face of huge amounts people, many who were figurative and literally shellshocked.

My friend Gilad took these pictures.

I'm glad to report that I'm home. hg-brooke-home:


Walking through the Zone

I got off the PATH train from NJ this morning at Christopher Street, and I entered 'the Zone.' Not ground zero. The No Travel Zone. The No Business Zone. The unclear area south of 14th Street in New York City.

There were a few other commuters with me. The first thing I noticed was a lack of cars and people on the street. For non-New Yorkers, Christopher and Hudson is a thriving area of the West Village. It's home to affluent families and a large gay and lesbian popluation. On a typical morning there are the work-out fanatics having juice at the juice bar. I usually see lots of parents walking their kids to a school just around the corner from the train station.

This morning, it was me, a few commuters and pigeons. Oh, and the cops at every other corner.

I saw an article in the NYTimes or the Post (they were giving it away free at Hoboken - thank you) on the train on the way in that likened Downtown to London after the Blitz in WWII. If that's the case, the West Village and Chelsea are like London suburbs in the early 40s. No one had a smile, except the few kids going, presumably, to private school or day care, since NYC public schools are opening late.

A difference

Everyone acknowledges you. Usually, body language in New York is designed to ensure invisibility. No one cares who you are walking down the street. Even in this neighborhood, the only folks who get serious stares are the models that frequent the trendy restaurants and fashion meccas that inhabit this part of town.

But today, everyone on the street was making eye contact. Sharing remarks. Reading signs on the street posts about clothing donations or where to give blood. Folks on the train were silent, until one of the regulars I commute with and I started a chat about some newspaper headlines. Before we knew it, several other folks had joined in. I can think of this as one of the only positive spots in an otherwise bleak day/week/month/all-of-the-above. Most bizzare moment of the morning? A wreath of flowers at the train station from Ramsey auto group, with a note - we pray for all our local citizens to come home, and grieve for the families in our community (or similar sentiment). Everyone stopped to read the card.

As I approached 14th Street and Hudson, the reason for the lack of traffic became clear. Twenty or so NYPD and NY State Troopers with barricades, weapons and determined looks were allowing limited delieveries to restaruants and businesses below the 14th street line, but were talking with drivers and, presumably, looking in the trucks first. Welcome to the new America.

Feeling a little older

Next week is my 35th birthday. I'd been telling folks who ask me "feeling older?" that I'm still in my 20s in my head. I hate to admit it, but after Tuesday, I'm feeling older than 35. I wonder how I'll raise my children differently in post-Tuesday America. One thing I will surely do is go home earlier from work any chance I can. It's not about commuting. It's about understanding that one should act like each day could be their last -- not in a fatalistic way but in a positive way. Example: Last night, after a dinner out with the family, Brooke asked for Ice Cream. There is a Baskin Robbins 3 doors down from the sushi place we ate at, and the steel-trap mind of my three and a half year old keeps that fact at top-of-mind. Normally, I'd have denied the request since her kid's meal came with a healthy fruit dessert. But, hell, I went with the life-is-short-eat-more-ice-cream philosophy. Mint chocolate chip never tasted so good. So the kids got baths later, and went to sleep later. More time to enjoy them.


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Last update: 8/23/2002; 9:17:59 PM.