Four more fortnights on the perimeter:
11 to 24 September | 25 September to 8 October | 9 to 22 October | previous 23 October to 5 November ||
next ... and after || Updates and corrections || 30 May 2002: Job done? || Winter Garden photo update ||
What next? || Greenwich Village park continues tradition honoring fallen firefighters

<wtc map>
1 WTC: North Tower
2 WTC: South Tower
3 WTC: Vista Hotel
4 WTC: Southeast Plaza Bldg:
      Commodities Exchange
5 WTC: Northeast Plaza Building
6 WTC: U.S. Custom House
7 WTC: Tishman Center

1 WFC: Dow Jones
2 WFC: Merrill Lynch
3 WFC: American Express
      (north of Winter Garden)


Circumnavigating the frozen zone              

Five fortnights walking the perimeter

Fortnight five

6 to 19 November

Copyright © 2001-2005 Diane Fisher
except photos copyright © 2001-2005 by the respective photographers.
Tuesday, 6 November: Another sunny Tuesday, another mayoral election. What a dismal choice this time--but an easy one. ... The Times notes that "at least one retail operation displaced by the attack had signed a lease for new space in the vicinity: the Amish Market, a food store that had been at 130 Cedar Street, a block south of the trade center, is to reopen at 17 Battery Place, about half a mile away." Now that's an I-told-you-so that does give me pleasure. I was right about the Amish Market's adaptability, wrong about the old address, which I thought was on Liberty. <photo update, 6 July 2002> I suspect that a lot of what I've been thinking of next to the site as Liberty, actually is Cedar. The block between the WTC and the building where the Amish store was--one listed in that notice to police as too dangerous to enter--was undeveloped.
Wednesday, 7 November: Well, somebody won--best man or worst, I'll withhold judgment till we see where Bloomberg wants to take the city. We didn't get much of a preview from his campaign-by-tv-commercials. To my mind, the big loser is supposed campaign finance reformer John McCain, who campaigned in NYC--which has as close as you can get to a model campaign finance law--for a candidate who ran, outside the law, probably the most expensive mayoral campaign anywhere ever. $40 million to $60 million are figures I've seen lately. McCain cost Bloomberg $3000 and I'll never take another word out of that particular Senator's mouth seriously. I suppose an argument could be made that a Republican who stands next to a G.O.P. governor at an endorsement press conference and declares himself a liberal--as Bloomberg did--could be expected to bring a little light to the benighted G.O.P. More likely he just got drilled on what good Republicans are supposed to say about liberals and will be marginalized like any other elected Republican who doesn't toe the fringe-right line. ...
As I munch a muffin in SoHoMade Soup on Varick I watch fascinated as a backhoe operator uses his rig to skillfully lift plates that will be laid over whatever it is other construction workers are doing under Charlton Street at this corner. Down Hudson Street where the WTC should be are the arms of two tall cranes against blue sky. I detour to West Street. Cranes all over the place, several doing local construction jobs. Piles are being driven into the river just above Christopher for God knows what. Probably luxury apartment buildings. The East Side is the lower extension of Westchester, Battery Park City was built as an unattached extension of Westchester and now is going to be extended up the whole lower West Side for the gas mask market. I'd like to see a big comeback of crime in the streets.
I've come up to Christopher and West to see how Point Thank You is doing out there on the median. A guy I take to be the stalwart is talking with a burly guy wearing a windbreaker with a native American emblem on the back who looks to me like a recovery worker. They're it--along with several thank-you signs. Mr. PTY sends cheers and thumbs-up to every identifiable recovery vehicle passing either direction, each vehicle waves or honks thank you in return. <photo update, late June 2002> It's just unbelievably touching. The recovery worker--if that's what he is--crosses the highway and gives me a big hello as he gets into his SUV. Now Mr. PTY is alone and I consider joining the watch for an hour or so. I have the time to spare. But I'm about to lose my composure bigtime. The gratuitous acts of kindness are what undo me. I turn into Christopher and head to the PATH station; with effort I manage not to burst into tears on the train. I've got to do something about this.
In Hoboken, for-rent and condo-for-sale notices have replaced MISSING notices. Double concrete barriers block the end of the street at the old Erie and Lackawanna terminal, a passenger transportation nexus: ferry dock, Jersey Transit and PATH trains, and buses. One set of barriers for each national highest alert the administration's (s)elected spokesman has declared? From Frank Sinatra Park--the Hoboken waterfront--I count five cranes across the river in my neighborhood. <photo update: Hoboken street poster, April 2002>
Since Monday, the ferry has been making different stops in downtown Manhattan. No more scenic tour of the tip of the island. The ferry stops first at its regular dock at the WFC. I'm not sure where the path out of there would lead now and I continue on to the terminus, Pier A, the Victorian old NYFD pier on the west side of the Battery, formerly charming white wood with red trim, now steel gray with green behind a computer manufacturer's huge ad mural. <photo update, 6 July 2002> A discreet sign explains which big-bucks businesses will occupy the pier. For sale: the best of Manhattan. Not sure why we haven't already seen huge murals hanging from the Brooklyn Bridge. I count five cranes at the recovery site.
<map: the frozen zone> For the first time, I'm on the river side of West Street at Rector. Steve, who is on lunch break from jury duty, tells me he worked for years in a WFC building. He's as confused as the Italian fellow the other day about which WTC building is which. The view of the wreckage is better from this side of West, but I'm not sure whether the debris south of 6WTC is parts of one or both towers or the Vista or all of them.
A half block up Greenwich Street from Rector, a guy, apparently a civilian, calls a cop over to our side of the street. He asks if the cop is here every day. She says no. He tells her anyway what he'd been going to--that she should be wearing a mask. She nods as he makes his case at some length, then crosses back to her side. A flatbed exits bearing two twisted girders and stops in front of me. The driver tells the cop the trucks could get out easier if she'd back up her diagonally parked squad car. He chains down his load and drives out. The squad car doesn't budge, the cop remains maskless, another truck moves up in line.
photo: Mark Mozaffari            
Flatbed before being loaded at the WTC pile.
A big black burst of smoke from the southwest section, reminiscent of 11 September, fills the site end of Greenwich Street. My mouth tastes metallic. My head aches. I'd forgotten to mention the headaches that go with the smoke. I resolve not to come down here again without a mask. Every time I get home I find a new layer of dust in the shades that hang from my neck.                    

I'm peering into the trench on Rector Street. Such a bunch of spaghetti you've never seen. Construction foreman Joe D. greets me heartily. What's down there? I ask. Phone, water, gas, steam, electricity--you name it! says Joe.
I've described almost none of the aural backdrop to what I've been writing these many weeks. Immediately below a second-floor office where I once worked, a subway station was being extended; deafening construction racket continued for years. At some point during that time I was sitting with friends in a bar on Long Island. "I can't hear or talk over this noise!" one friend shouted in exasperation. Until he said that, I hadn't noticed that our conversation had risen to a screaming pitch because of a garbage truck grinding at ear-splitting level immediately outside the open door next to the booth where we sat--or that the extension of the Christopher Street subway station had trained me--for all time--to block ongoing steady loud noise.
And ongoing steady loud noise is the frozen zone's sound track. On the perimeter one can't hear the machinery at ground zero. The constants on the perimeter--above the usual city din--are shouts, jack-hammers, generators, heavy trucks, frequent sirens, and occasional choppers.
At street level near that second-floor window that was broken on the west side of Broadway near Dey the shattered plate glass window of the New York Stocking Exchange--a sexy skivvies store--is still behind the metal grill-covered entrance <photo update, June 2002>. Taped to the front of this store and others that still are full of dust and debris are new notices:
"Attention: store or restaurant owners!
Do you have cats here? If so, the ASPCA will take care of them for you for free until you can take them back. Or, if you no longer want to keep them, we will place them up for adoption. Please call the ASPCA [numbers ...]. Thank you and best of luck."
I browse some stores and head home. The show on Prince Street has closed for the day and some of the volunteers are having a drink in front before heading out themselves. <photo update, April 2002>
Friday, 9 November: After not seeing him for years, I run into Steve, the ex-editor who was working on the Green campaign, again in a photolab on Chambers Street. The loss leaves him out of work and in a real hurt, he says. One of the good guys--he'll land on his feet, I hope. The other customer I talk with is an expat true to her French genes: she's beautiful and chic. The gray dust coated her apartment on East 46th Street, was in her hair, on her clothes, in her eyes and nose and mouth, she says, but is not so bad now. She was in Turkey at the time of the quake, and is beginning to wonder. ... She gets her news from Belgium, Quebec, and Paris--not the same news Americans get, she tells me. She'd mentioned that she's back in school for a year, and I ask what she's studying. Mortuary science. I might be tempted to say Only in New York, but she was a practicing mortician in Paris till an American chain bought her funeral home and laid her off; she's back in school only to get New York accreditation. How did she (of all people, I mean to imply) get into such work? She lived near a funeral home, was out of work, and asked for a job. ... I have no other business to transact near the frozen zone, and return home without walking farther down Broadway.
Monday, 12 November: Two months yesterday, the end of week nine today. I need to do a couple of errands downtown, but they'll have to wait. I started getting a cold Saturday night, went to Stephen's party anyway, and I've felt yukky ever since. I do not have anthrax. ...
Crikey! How much more of this can the NYFD and NYPD take? Another passenger airliner crash into occupied New York City buildings--this time houses in the uniformed forces'   front yard, in Belle Harbor, out in the Rockaways. Friends of Ed's and mine lived in Belle Harbor when we all were right out of school, but I don't know anyone there now, or any Dominican New Yorkers, not even friends of friends. What a terrible day for those communities. More dead than at the Pentagon. Email from Jean, who lives in southern Florida:
"I spent the day wondering if I should make a phone call to my next door neighbor, Capt. C. & Laura (his cute wife). What would I say, one way or the other? Finally, this afternoon the school bus arrived, and Brian C. appeared and walked past our house to meet his kids. Thank God, he is HERE! he is alive! ... George rushes out to shake his hand, chat and walk to the bus to meet the boys. ... Brian walks slowly home w/ his boys, their heads down--sad, depressed or who knows how they really feel today ... it could have been Brian's flight, one that he regularly flies."
The way we are, 12 November 2001.
From the window behind my monitor, I was used to seeing airliners constantly just after taking off and just before landing at EWR. These days, and nights, Newark air traffic is so light, from where I sit you wouldn't even know an airport is there. ...
The NYPost went to the wood with news that they've spied Bloomberg consorting with known liberals. So satisfying to know that the Post didn't endorse him--too independent for Rupert's taste, probably--and Donald Trump endorsed Green. Howard Rubenstein must be busy trying to generate obligations.
W. actually said the P word at the U.N. yesterday. Good for whoever programmed him to do it! I'd like to check Ha'aretz to catch the moderate Israeli reaction, but my Internet access went south Saturday. On the rare occasions I've been able to establish a connection since, it won't hold. My ISP swears the trouble must be my PC or the phone company. A different PC behaves identically. So much is going on underground in this nabe it could well be the phone company. I don't know when I'll be able to upload this--or get normal service again.
Seems to be some progress on the war front. Foreign critics who like to distinguish between U.S. policy and the American people's wishes must be having a hard time making that distinction these days with polls showing 90 percent popular support--even mine--for self-defense. (Arundhati Roy's explanation: A malevolent government has drugged "a distraught, confused people" with vitamins or anti-depressants.) Wow! There's Nelson Mandela on tv declaring his support. Folks I asked Saturday night who I expected to have strong reservations are worried only about civil liberties--as am I. What folks were talking about was what they'd've been talking about if 11 September had been just another day. Nice party.
But, as I write this, the fires are burning at two ground zeros and I can't breathe through my nose.


Four more fortnights on the perimeter:
11 to 24 September | 25 September to 8 October | 9 to 22 October | previous 23 October to 5 November ||
next ... and after || Updates and corrections || 30 May 2002: Job done? || Winter Garden photo update ||
What next? || Village park continues tradition honoring fallen firefighters || recommended reading :
Eyewitnesses, in their own words; heroes; Afghanistan then and now;
Israel and the Palestinians; intelligence gathering; on watching
what we say; some other politics; periodicals; and archives.

Copyright © 2001-2005 Diane Fisher except photos copyright © 2001-2005 by the credited photographers.

adpFisher nyc 6 July 2002