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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Oh New York's been such a wonderful place to visit since 9/11

The other day I was skimming a Conservative blog.  One of the posts talked about how filthy and horrible Times Square used to be but how wonderful it's been since 9/11.  Also said that New York was a horrible place 20 years ago.

Do people really believe that the transformation of Times Square and Manhattan happened because of 9/11?

Yes of course, the entire structure of Manhattan was changed since 9/11.  It takes years to build buildings, idiots.

Downtown badly needs to be rebuilt, but somehow hasn't been.

Two things really upset me about this post: it was the author's first visit to Manhattan in 20 years, and 20 years it was so dingy and horrible.  It wasn't. Obviously you don't appreciate ornate pre-war (World War Two) buildings, and yes it was less safe--crack epidemic--the years of Ford to city: drop dead had just ended, and we were using  mostly private resources to redo the parks, Times Square and other places.

Many of my friends lived in the Times Square area--affordable housing, then, and we knew what streets to avoid.  If you walked on 42ND street, you dressed down--and that was in tourist guide books then.  If you dressed down nobody would bother you; once when I was totally dressed up, the only person who tapped my shoulder was a policeman who told me that I shouldn't be dressed so well.  told him I'm a New Yorker and put on my street face.  He looked at me, and said "oh, okay go on."

The other thing that bothered me about the post was the pride the author took in not touching a bag that she saw on the ground.

First rule of post 9/11 survival.  See an unattended bag--even if you're 99.99% sure it's somebodies lunch, tell the nearest policeman or National Guard.

Don't be so frigging proud that you didn't touch a bag that might have contained a treasure you could have used.  You think you're so goddamned patriotic because you're a repubcon. Screw you you could have been partially responsible for a building being blown up.  Oh but then you would have been a safe distance away and could have written about a horrible tragedy you saw in the distance, and not even realized , or pretended not to realize, that it was the bag you saw that set it off

Another thing that's been pissing me off: when people want to justify military action, or even not burning a flag--they invoke the Trade Center attack.  Some of the most militant and active anti-war activists are relatives of victims.

80% of all people in Manhattan who voted in the last presidental election didn't vote for Bush for good reason.  He's not our president.  He did as little as possible to help us after the attack, but eighteen months later, went to war in our name?

Have said this too many times before, will say it until the day I die, I, and most people would have supported a war soon after the attacks.  We would have been its biggest supporters.  But not eighteen months later, for reasons we didn't understand.

New Yorkers have conciously and subconciously adjusted our lives because another terrorist attack could happen and it probably would happen here--won't be Hussein, could be the society to liberate the Bush family.

Until you've walked in our shoes for awhile, don't tell cute ancedotes about my city.  We're not cute, and we're trying to live as normal lives as possible. It's not easy.

here's the link to the post and I copied it.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to find the conservative blog this later appeared in with all kinds of comments.  Here it is: a cute anecdote in a cute blog


Posted by Hello

A Trip to New York After 9/11 Reveals How Much That City Has Changed

The Bag

For need of a concrete example in the change in the city of New York’s environs, attitudes and appearance, nothing makes the case more handily than my experience with my sister and the bag.

Though make no mistake, I was wary about the day trip to New York to attend a play as part of her late-life matriculation requirements. All aspects of the trip, from the four hour bus ride to the theater tickets were handled by my sister’s college. It was, by all appearances, a most ordinary sort of day visit, the kind planned and executed by the thousands every day.

It’d been over twenty years since I’d last visited New York and my memory of the trip was not a pleasant one. Times Square, for example, at the time of my prior visit, was a seedy area, populated with sex stores and peopled by many prostitutes. And while New Yorkers have always been known for a churlishness, if not downright hostility, my prior experience in interacting with the locals was extreme even by churlish standards.

I was with my boyfriend of the era and during one brave foray into the streets we were exasperated by a panhandler who wouldn’t take “NO” for an answer and proceeded to follow us for several blocks. We approached a police officer for assistance, pointing to the human of our turmoil and explaining the un-nerving stalking by same.

“What do you want me to do about it?” was the response of this New York City Keeper of the Peace.

When we consulted a subway ticket taker for more detailed route instructions, he responded, churlishly, “Are you writing a book?”

A prostitute, loping along on impossibly high heels that caused us giggles, turned and confronted us menacingly. “What the hell are you looking at?”

Still, I figured, a school trip. It would likely be well-arranged and designed to shield us from these sorts of incidents.

“The theater is in Times Square,” my sister told me. Images of nasty prostitutes, peep show stores, unhelpful police officers and determined panhandlers popped into my head. She was so excited about the trip, however, that I kept my doubts to myself.

Adding to the dread of my twenty year old experiences in The Big Apple was my concern about security. It’d been a scant two years since some terrorists took control of American airplanes and rammed them into the World Trade Center. Since September 11 there had been countless terror warnings, all that included New York City.

Posted by Hello

My sister and I chatted happily during the entire trip from Delaware to New York. Upon arrival I braced myself for the disappointment in my sister’s eyes as she witnessed the mess that was New York City.

We disembarked one block from the theater. My eyes grew big and round and my mouth grew speechless. For a magnificent city unfolded before me. Broadway, Times Square, 5th Avenue were all around. Times Square itself was the scene of huge, bustling crowds, street vendors, trendy boutiques, handsome theaters and tall buildings that defied the ozone layer. Unabashedly American, state-of-the-art billboards shouted product brand names, displayed stock market tickers and showed newscasts in progress.

We had a few hours before the beginning of the play thus sister and I decided to explore. Every street was bustling with people, visitors, natives, independent street entrepreneurs. All, to my complete surprise, orderly and well-behaved. Several times we lost our way and approached the nearest police officer for assistance. Which there were plenty, I noted. Every one was nothing but polite and helpful.

My sister and I gleefully explored the streets of New York City, all on foot and all mesmerizing. “What a grand city,” I told my sister.

It was in front of the CNN studio where I spotted the bag. It was a gift bag, one of those affairs meant to eliminate the bother of wrapping. I wasn’t sure of the decoration on the bag but by the red-corded handles and stature of the bag, I knew it was a gaily decorated container meant to hold gift treasures, ideally hidden by brightly colored tissue paper. I peered inside and saw some “stuff” but I couldn’t positively identify any individual item. The most obvious detail about the bag was how it sat alone and untended on the busy street of Broadway.

I sidled toward the bag. There was no larceny in my heart but after casual and guarded observation lasting a full five minutes I was sure the bag had been hastily forgotten, left, most likely, by a busy tourist.

“This bag,” I said to my sister in a conspiratorial whisper, tapping the bag surreptitiously with my toe, “seems to have been left here.” My sister followed the tapping of my shoe and saw the bag, alone, forlorn, obviously once owned by somebody.

“Don’t,” my sister said simply. For a minute I didn’t know what she “don’t” wanted me to do. In fact, I had no plan at all as concerned the bag and was looking for suggestions.

“Obviously someone left it here,” I said to my sister. We both scanned the surround. Hundreds of people bustled by, CNN was showing the nightly newscast on a wide-screened electronic billboard, police officers strolled the sidewalks and streets. No one showed any interest in the bag.

“Maybe whoever owns it will come back for it,” my sister offered. I cast my eyes again at the many people all about and pondered anyone so stupid to think that a return trip to retrieve the forgotten bag would yield any bag at all. Perhaps if they were close by, my eyes told my sister. We waited fifteen minutes. Not necessarily for the retrieval of the bag but for attending to our tourist duties. I remained close by the bag but my hands never touched it.

“If you give it to a police officer who’s to say that the owners will know where to go to retrieve it?” my sister said. My thought exactly. It wasn’t as if there was a Lost and Found kiosk on every New York City corner. With bus boarding time almost upon a decision on the bag had to be made soon. By then my inclination was to take the bag for myself.

“If I don’t take it somebody else will,” I told my sister’s furrowed brows. “Since I spotted it first it should rightfully be mine.” The furrows on my sister’s forehead deepened.

“Don’t,” the brows said.

“Okay, let’s go,” I finally said, exasperated by the scolding brows.

“You’re going to leave it?” my sister said, with her mouth.

“Yes I’m going to leave it. I’m tired of arguing with your eyebrows,” I said, then hefted my own packages in preparation for the hike back to the bus. I left the bag where it stood.

The incident has become a form of folk lore in our family. For we did, indeed, depart from New York City and left the bag behind. I chide my sister that there may have been untold treasures in the bag, treasures claimed by someone else and probably not the original owner.

Likely the bag held such as postcards and tourist notions. More important, the arguably joint decision of my sister and me to leave the bag speaks more to the change in tone of The Big Apple than any value associated with the unclaimed parcel. My sister’s eyebrows told a compelling story of harmony, offered a hope that we would not take that which was not ours, described an atmosphere of genial humanity, lamented the poor tourist schlup who left his souvenir bag behind. The New York City of my twenty year old memory would never have inspired such eyebrow morals.

It is truly a magnificent city, made more magnificent by the manner in which it plowed on despite a horrific terrorist attack.

If you don’t believe me, travel down to the front of the CNN building. That bag might still be there.

Posted by Pia Savage at 10:21 AM in Sidebar | Permalink


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Pia, you need some help. By the way you can keep "your" city.

Posted by: TheChosenOne | Jun 23, 2005 11:22:43 AM

I need help!

Do you seriously believe that New York was rebuilt after 9/11 as this woman thought?

If you think that not reporting an unattended bag is a good thing than you deserve to find one and it go off in your hand, but since your the Bastard's brother, don't want him unhappy.

I'll keep my city thanks

Posted by: pia | Jun 23, 2005 1:25:03 PM

Why is everyone being nice to this guy. Stop being soooo liberal and smack him!!! Trust me he'll start stuttering once you dazzle him with truth and facts.

Posted by: The Bastard | Jun 23, 2005 1:30:45 PM

What facts? the transformation of Times Square began long before 9/11--did Conde Naste rely on government hand outs? Don't think so; tax breaks but that's a bit different

Downtown is still suffering as the Bastard knows; we just began getting our proportianal amount of 9/11 aid last year; Ground Zero is still a hole for tourists to gawk at and feel national pride or something

Most of us wanted war, but not when it came.

And if you see an unattended bag you report it. First basic rule of post-9/11 life. Second rule: all kids have cell phones so that they can stay in touch with their parents
third rule: worry about all allergies because they could be 9/11 dust in your lungs
fourth rule: therapy helps--that one's for you chosen one
Unfortuantely most kids I know who live in Manhattan have become depressed and have needed therapy to get over the after affects--and it was paid for not by government programs but their parents and insurance

Living in Manhattan has never been easy but it's been much harder now. Highest cost of living in the country; no affordable housing.

But many people think we deserve it. Let them rot in hell

Posted by: pia | Jun 23, 2005 2:03:16 PM

Seeing as I can't bring up the link to what you are referring to I cannot see how you are taking the statement out on context.

Posted by: TheChosenOne | Jun 23, 2005 2:39:43 PM

It was something that I accidentally linked onto while answering a comment somebody made on my blog

The more I thought about the angrier I got.

Repeated the story as it was written--not out of context.

The writer seemed to think that 9/11 brought about wonderful changes to New York, and somehow Times Square was cleaned up and changed after it.

The author was so proud of coming into sin city for a day trip because she remembered how horrible it was 20 years ago, and decided to write a story about how she saw a beautiful bag on the street that might have contained wonderful things but didn't pick it up just in case it had a bomb, but she didn't report it. Never explained that one.

We don't need or want holier than thou tourists who are so proud of visiting our city because they could be putting their lives in danger.

What about the people who live and/or work here?
Your brother for one? OUr lives will never be the same

Yet we have the whole fucking country telling us that not only aren't we patriotic because we didn't vote for Bush but they are for visiting.

you and Karl Rove can kiss my New York tush.

Posted by: pia | Jun 23, 2005 2:53:41 PM

Well for one I have never heard once someone utter the words, "New York isn't/wasn't patriotic because they didn't vote for Bush." Two, I was born in Yonkers and lived in Jersey for 18 years and left as soon as I could. I've always said since I left in 1985 that New York/New Jersey are a nice place to visit but not live. Doesn't mean I hate you people either. I had a choice, bitch and moan about living there or move. I moved. Third, the lady was an idiot for not at least reporting the bag but to somehow insinuate it is some kind of "republican issue" from a "conservative blog" has nothing to do from a liberal or conservative standpoint. The lady was just fucking stupid. Fourth, my life will never be the same since 9/11 big deal. I live in Minnesota and move on. It could be us hit next. One of the 19 plus trained to fly planes 25 miles from me. Fifth, New York is a filthy place to live and expensive. You choose to live there in those conditions. If you don't like it, move. No one is holding a gun to your head to stay there. My father and mother were raised in New York and when they had us children moved the fuck out of New York for those reasons (expensive, filthy) including crime. Doesn't mean they didn't enjoy growing up there. They just got smart and moved. Last but not least, Sixth, I'd be more then happy to kiss your tush any time you'd like. Hopefully not sloppy seconds after Karl Rove, lol.

Pia, I think I'm falling in love with you.

Posted by: TheChosenOne | Jun 23, 2005 3:38:48 PM

Gee, chosen one, thanks I guess. Nebraska? Nebraka? Thought that was a Bruce Springsteen cd.

I have hearrd everything from "you people have caused housing prices to go up all over the country because you're leaving in droves." (Hair salon in Hawaii) Don't know a person who left personally

To how we aren't patriotic because we don't support the war, and the war was all about us. (San Diego, a glass shop in Balboa Park)

Posted by: pia | Jun 23, 2005 4:33:15 PM

Here's the article Pia was referring to The Bag...

Posted by: sally | Jun 23, 2005 5:44:44 PM

Pia, thanx for providing the link and thank you also sally.

After reading it I think as far as the "bag" goes the lady was surprised that the "bag" hadn't been stolen. I don't think it hit her at all that there could be a bomb in it. She was clueless to that fact.

I read the story as if she was on her second trip to New York City in twenty years and wow, how it has changed. Nothing to do with 9/11/2001. Pre-orPost New York.

Pia wrote: "Don't be so frigging proud that you didn't touch a bag that might have contained a treasure you could have used. You think you're so goddamned patriotic because you're a repubcon."

I mean, why the hostility? Over a bag? Do you go to sleep at night pissed off because the neighbors kid is being brought up Republican. So, I guess you'd end up hating that kid.

Posted by: TheChosenOne | Jun 23, 2005 7:04:28 PM

Uh Chosen one. I was unaware that New Yorkers were "rude and churlish" before 9/11. Spent half my life giving directions to tourists, as do most New Yorker's.

I know the mother of the last cop to be buried. For over a year she thought he was in an air pocket; then she was convinced he had amnessia. What do you say to comfort her? Every single New Yorker has stories like these. I was lucky, every person I personally know survived

My mother died suddenly a month after 9/11, and frankly I for the first time I found New York to be a "rude and churlish" place. Would get over due notices before getting the bill for things--anthrax--they weren't delivering mail for awhile, or mail would come very late. It would have been a joke but bad credit isn't.

Call to explain that besides late mail, anthrax, 9/11, my mother had died, and so I was a bit distracted, I would be asked if she had died in the attacks. No, then sorry, not our fault your mail isn't being delivered and your mother died

That whole first year was horrible, and nothing I would like to relive, or talk about in more depth.

Prefer people like you to people who talk about wonderful New York became. Because it didn't!

By the time of the 2003 Blackout, yes it was changed, but we had to go through a hell of a lot of shit to get there.

And if we're so great why didn't we get our share of federal aid for over two years?

Find cute stories like this to be self-congraluatory and idiotic

Actually my father was a Republican and I adored him. Never judged a person by their politics until it became shoved in my face. Like Rove today

Yes I'm angry over a bag because the writer used it to frame a cute stupid story when there was nothing cute about 9/11 or its aftermath

Posted by: pia | Jun 23, 2005 7:45:13 PM

right two more things: your brother is a real hero to me and:
the repubs are down in every opinion poll, everything's being to fall apart for them, so Karl Rove makes a purposely divisive comment?

Is that supposed to make y'all fall into line?
Can't think for yourselves? have to let Rove do your thinking for you?

Posted by: pia | Jun 23, 2005 7:54:10 PM

Pia, for one I don't for a second pretend what anyone of 'yall went through it would be immpossible. I personally don't like my party and I surely don't like yours either. From all the news I do watch from both sides and this is not just post 9/11 but pre 9/11 your side is so pessimist and has a double standard for everything. THAT'S how I see it.

I'm truly sorry for everything you and everyone there in NY have had to go through. The Bastard and I also lost our mother suddenly the month after 9/11. I hate and I mean hate BOTH parties for what took place on 9/11. And I really HATE when people take sides on who was right and who was wrong. From 1992 to 2000 it was President Clinton and his clan along with the Republican controled House and Senate's fault along with from when President Bush took office and the Republican controlled House and Senate's fault. And they have ALL snow balled the American public about what happened and what is being done. Why do I then take a side? Makes no sense. I guess because everyone else along with me thinks they have an answer when none of us even knows the tip of the iceberg of what really happened. They are ALL fucking assholes!!!

On a closing note. Don't take this wrong. I don't live my life by polls. And as we both know anything and everything can happen leading up to the day of an election. If 'yall are happy about being ahead in a poll/polls, hey great. 'Yall could be setting yourselves up for a big fall.

Have a great political day and weekend! Stay cool!

Posted by: TheChosenOne | Jun 24, 2005 11:25:09 AM

Pia - I love your city. It is where my spouse is from, I love the architecture, I love the garbage, I love the art, the subway, the multiple languages spoken, the hookers that will walk up to your car and move the sideview mirror so they can re-apply their lipstick, I love the noise and I love the fact that if you are annoying, that the average New Yorker will be honest enough to respond in kind. I appreciate people who are direct. Some people refer to that as "churlish and rude" but the fact is, I find that a New Yorker will let you know to your face what they think of you and/or behavior with direct honesty...but (and I've said this before) if a piano is about to fall on your head, that same person will push you out of the way, even if it means they get hit with the piano. In L.A., the person will see the piano, walk by and say nothing - and if questioned about it later, will say "it's not MY fault it landed on them!" Oh, and as someone who lives on a coast...and thre is no way to make this not sound snarky, but I have little patience with anyone from the "Heartland" speaking their authoritative opinion about NY and 9/11 when the chances of their grain mill or Walmart getting hit are just about nil.

Posted by: frstlymil | Jun 24, 2005 3:50:47 PM

My name is Pat Fish and I wrote that awful, horrible story about The Bag. Damn near blew up NY City too because I didn't report a Hallmark bag about the size of a book left sitting on the sidewalk. Me, about seventy thousand other tourists and plenty of cops.


This whole post requires me to respond in a rebuttal.

About liberals and how they are so damn mean.


It was an innocent little story!

Damn, the city didn't blow up because of the Hallmark bag. And the incidents I cited on my earlier visit REALLY HAPPENED!

And yes, silly, silly tourists do go back home with these things as part of their memory. Liberals just don't get LIFE!

I live in a tourist area and they get on my nerves big time. But they bring business and reduce my property taxes. Need to think of this once in a while.

Mean. The whole reaction to a very sweet and kind story....just plain damn mean.

Check my Blog. My fine rebuttal will be there next Thursday.

Way I figure, Liberals are just unhappy people.

Posted by: Pat Fish | Jun 30, 2005 9:32:30 AM

I am mean, nasty, unhappy. You got it; I live to destroy and hate people.

Actually none of the five.

While I apologize if I may have offended you, I have spent my life hearing stories about the horrible place I live in.

Your cute story made it seem as if New York had been a horrible place before 9/11 that you needed to be vaccinated against after you left.

It never was a horrible before 9/11. It's much more difficult to live in since then.

But that's the part that tourists don't see or don't get talked about.

We have the highest cost of living in the country. The middle class is (basically has) been squeezed out of Manhattan and now the boroughs.

many businesses left downtown and have not come back; many of their employees are still unemployed.

Then there is that large hole in the ground.

Unfortuantely domestic tourists don't spend very much money while in New York. Not only don't they reduce taxes they add to them--police, fire, parks, everything else. New York City has a high personal income tax. We're still paying for all the things that I mentioned above.

Yes I take bags left on the street very seriously as I take security checks and anything that can possibly stop terrorism.

You self describe your story and thus I suppose yourself as "sweet" and "kind." Aren't you supposed to turn the other cheek, and be oh so much more wonderful than me. After all I am a mean nasty horrible New York woman.

Posted by: pia | Jun 30, 2005 10:17:52 AM

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