Ground Zero Journal
March 7, 2002 -- Lots of dust on the streets still. Now that they've opened up Church St, it's bizarre. So many tourists walking about, taking pictures. All this blue sky above huge construction site that was the world trade center. Kind of quiet. A bit surreal. A couple taking a picture of the bare wrought iron of the canopy of the millineum hotel, which can be seen if you sneek a peek through the construction site walls cordoning it off -- they must've stayed there once.
January 18, 2002 -- Walking down Broadway in front of the Nasdaq Building tonight at about 8:45 pm. All the tourists are up by St. Paul's Church, so by the time you get past 195 Broadway, heading toward the Nasdaq building, there's not many people on the street on a cold Friday night. A Verizon truck rambles down Broadway to my left, and the fella in the passenger seat yells out to me "Excuse me, do you know where the World Trade Center is?" Was about to turn and answer him, when I realized he was a maroon (and a moron). Everyone has a sense of humor but...
January 4, 2002 -- Story this week has been the ramp. They built the ramp, and people have come. And they are waiting in lines for 3 to 5 hours to walk up the ramp and view the rubble. The ramp is down on Fulton Street by St Paul's Church, and snakes down Broadway, up and down the side streets between Broadway and Church, ending down on Park Place. If you're a tourist, it's the thing to do.
December 27, 2001 -- There are more tourists in lower Manhattan than I have ever seen. You can walk outside, shake a stick and hit 7 tourists. The line for the bathroom at the Starbucks by city hall goes 20 deep; place is a standing-room-only mad house. Part of this is because it is so cold this week-- nothing like a bitter cold day to make everyone appreciate a hot cup of coffee. Part of this is because with Christmas landing on a Tuesday, 'seems like everyone has the whole week off. Part of this is because the WTC site has become NYC's biggest tourist attraction. And part of this is because you can't walk in half of lower Manhattan anymore -- with the WTC site fenced off, all of the tourists that might have been by the trade center have been forced over to Broadway.
All that's left of the trade center is blocks and blocks of rubble. You can get a lot of good views of it now, but there's nothing to see. I'm betting most of the viewers have no idea how huge those buildings really were -- to look at rubble puts the whole thing out of context -- you really need the before and after.
The noxious smell from the fires is mostly gone now. A woman cop directing traffic and helping people cross Broadway had a gas mask hanging from her neck. Doesn't make one feel too secure. And the NY Post reported that cops up by Times Square have been outfitted with radiation detectors. This is almost as disconcerting as the anthrax scares of two months ago, when you had to think twice about taking the subway. Yet people trudge on. You walk outside, and there are so many people on the streets that you figure everything has to be ok. Life goes on.
And I hear they're filming another Charlie's Angels. Drew Barrymore will probably be kicking the pants out of arab terrorists in this one. This makes me sick. I mean, arab terrorists make me sick, because they are stupid egotists falsly portraying themselves as righteous warriors -- and there's nothing worse than being stupid and righteous and egotistical at the same time. And Drew Barrymore makes me sick.
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