September 17, 2001
A report from New York
"What a trip! Home is sounding very good right now. Fortunately my daughter and I were staying in Midtown Manhattan, not Lower where the towers were.
Yesterday, after the catastrophe, she and I walked up to Fifth Ave. where we could look back toward the towers and see the smoke cloud - truly a horrifying sight. The streets were clogged with people just wandering around not sure where to go or how to get home. Many thousands ended up walking across the bridges that were otherwise closed to traffic.
We witnessed, however, great concern by the people of New York for those in need. On the way back to our hotel, which was evacuated in our absence, we saw a woman collapse on the sidewalk. She was immediately aided by those passing by. It turned out she was diabetic and needed sugar. People were passing all sorts of candy through the crowd to her.
Everyone is stunned by the incredible loss of lives - not only the civilians in the towers, but those in the airplanes and the firemen and police who are missing. TV stations keep showing the gurneys and wheelchairs waiting at hospitals, but there are few survivors at this point who need medical help. Thankfully we are all safe, as are our friends who live here. My daughter and I left Manhattan this morning and braved the N.Y. subway system. No taxis would come to Brooklyn.
We made it, but if I ever travel again (a big if) I will only use a backpack. I was ready to abandon my mega-suitcase many times.
We are all still safe and in Brooklyn, but the effects of the disaster are being felt everywhere, as I'm sure you're aware. Although the mayor and governor continue to urge people to remain calm and not take out their anger and fear on those of Middle Eastern descent, a friend of my daughter-in-law and an Indian companion were the victims of racial slurs and verbal attacks last night on the subway.
In the neighborhood JD and and my daughter-in-law live in, there is a small fire house half-way down the block. On my walk today I saw a list posted of 12 firefighters (including the captain) who are listed as missing. I talked to a NYFD rep. parked outside the station who told me the station is generally manned by six firefighters, but when the call from Manhattan came on Tuesday morning, it was during the shift change, so both shifts went and were among the first units into the towers ‹ a terrible tragedy among many.
This has hit this neighborhood very hard since most of the residents knew the firefighters and their families. Many have left flowers and candles, and others are bringing food to the firefighters manning the station now.
Carol - I finally got your phone message late last night. Long distance service is sometimes sporadic here, as is our TV reception. The signals for two of the stations came from the top of the Trade Center. The only station we get now is transmitted from the Empire State Building. If you still want to talk to me, call or send me an e-mail.
I'll send another message tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed I can get a flight out on Sunday. I must admit the thought of actually getting on a plane is somewhat less than appealing.