Eric Kaye lives past the 14th street
barrier in Manhatten. He owns a recording studio on 14th Street.
He has been sending out e-mails to describe his and other
people's emotions around him.
I'm alive. I saw both buildings go down, and my apartment
is very dusty right now.
I'm still a little freaked out. Phones in NYC are mostly down,
but email seems to be fine.
2 Day 3 Day 4 Day
Everyone here is still very much in shock.
The smell is the first thing I notice. The wind has shifted to the
north, and the air reeks of burnt steel. I'm about a mile and a
half from what was the WTC, and in the Closed Zone. All businesses
are closed and traffic prohibited below 14th St. I'm OK, as are
all my immediate family and friends. I am beginning to hear of various
friends of friends that weren't as lucky.
The second thing I notice is the silence. Those of you that have
been here know the city has a pulse, a definite rhythm you can feel.
Today there is no pulse in lower Manhattan.
The streets stream, but not swarm, with people, mostly wandering
around in stunned silence. There is no anger here, only shock. The
occasional silence is broken up by one of the F-15 and F-16 fighter
jets that are patrolling the airspace above the island.
The sky is eerily cloudless, save the large white one that still
hangs above lower Manhattan. Our mayor has done an extraordinary
job,maintaining calm, and reminding us that anger, hatred and prejudice
caused this, that ALL New Yorkers are victims, and to try not to
harbor feelings of hatred and vengeance. That statement probably
single-handledly prevented a large rash of anti-Arab backlash.
They're not accepting blood down here, and the nearest centers
a few miles away have lines 4-5 hours long to give blood. There
are thousands of people down here wishing there was something, anything,
they could do, but there are more volunteers than jobs for them.
Local phone service seems to work, but long distance is still spotty.
If there's anyone you haven't been able to reach by phone, I can
probably make the call for you.
There's not much else to say. Everything else can be seen on CNN.
Most of us are just wandering around with pits in our stomachs.
Walking out my door this afternoon I saw a large group of maybe
fifty people standing in the middle of my street. Thinking it was
some sort of vigil, I wandered over and spotted a rather familiar-looking
shank of white hair in the center of the crowd.
President Clinton was slowly walking down University Place, doing
his best to comfort the neighborhood. His eyes were red and puffy,
and he was as emotionally shaken as all of us. He was talking to
a volunteer fireman in front of me, thanking him for his efforts,
then continued along.
I found myself face to face with the President. I merely shook
his hand and said, "Thank you."
It's amazing how comforting the handshake of the President of the
United States can be.
New York has always been a traditional stronghold of Clinton support,
and I'll try to keep partisanship out of this as best I can, but
this was an act that will stick with me for a very long time. I'd
always wanted to meet the man, but not under circumstances such
as these. Regardless of his peccadillos with interns and pardons,
this man was deeply and emotionally moved, and sought to help by
going to the neighborhoods of the Closed Zone. It was almost as
if he wanted to comfort all of lower Manhattan, one person at a
It's amazing how comforting the handshake of the President of the
United States is.
My observations and stories are not nearly as emotional nor heartwrenching
as that of many New Yorkers. I merely watched the towers fall. I
did not lose a loved one, nor was I injured nor escape a close call.
It seems that most New Yorkers, myself included, find catharsis
in simply relating our experiences. Everyone wants to let their
story out, regardless of how close they were to the impact. It's
a way of coping.
Above 14th St, life is slowly returning to a dulled sensation of
normal. Cabs and buses throng the avenues, although the normally
insistent car-horns are much quieter.
Below 14th, it is still very silent. Businesses remain closed and
traffic remains barred. Residents wishing to return home south of
14th St, are forced to show identification before being allowed
to pass. Few seem to mind this extraordinary police action which
seemed unthinkable 3 days ago.
The smells of burnt steel are slowly fading, and being replaced
by hundreds of missing persons fliers, taped up on every pole and
wall in sight.
My friends and family are all safe, although it will be a long
time before anyone feels "normal".
The flags do not comfort me. While I believe I live in the greatest
country in the world, the sight of thousands of American flags makes
me feel as if we were at war. I don't think the analogy is apt.
There is no foreign government to pulverize. How can you fight an
enemy who won't even claim responsibility?
Yes, the flag serves a symbol of solidarity, but it does not serve
to strike fear in the hearts of the so-called enemy, only to strengthen
Today's rain has cleared the air, although it has made the recovery
effort more difficult. Traffic has returned, stores have reopened,
and the roadblocks are gone, except for a small area in the southern
tip of the island.
I can't remember the last time I had a good laugh.
Media fatigue is beginning to set in. Today is the first day I
will not save the newspaper. A makeshift memorial has been set up
at Union Square. I see nearly as many journalists as mourners.
The shock is wearing off, and the questioning has begun. Instead
of "Who do we kill?", it's more along the lines of "How
and why did this happen, and how can we prevent it from ever happening
It's not retaliation we need. It's re-education. Hundreds of millions
of practicing Muslims are as horrified as all of us. Islam is a
peaceful religion. Certainly no more harmful than Christianity,
Judaism, or Hinduism, all of which have given rise to their own
The fringe Muslim extremists that chant "Death to Americans"
are no different than the fringe Christian extremists who chant
"Death to Blacks and Jews". They've merely been more successful.
No true religion preaches murder of innocents, regardless of the
chapter and verse you may find in the Koran/Bible/Talmud/etc.
The President has declared war on those who harbor these terrorists.
Those harboring nations include Canada, Germany, and the United
States, where the pilots received training. These countries obviously
do not support these groups, but the same freedom afforded its citizens
allow for the easy propagation of those wishing to destroy it.
Freedom, our greatest asset, has been turned into our deadliest
Victory will not be achieved when we destroy those responsible
for this action, but when we eradicate the hatred and intolerance
that breed these despicable actions. While it's vengeance we seek,
it's compassion we need.
The T-shirt I wear today contains neither red nor blue, only white.
However, it is most definitely not the flag of surrender.
Capitalism has returned. Street vendors are selling postcards
of the WTC for $1 a pop, and on nearly every corner is someone selling
American flags, hats, or t-shirts boasting "I survived the
World Trade Center".
Thousands upon thousands of candles litter Union Square, and the
statue of George Washington is holding an American flag, placed
there by NYU students.
The missing posters are still up, as are the thousands of flags,
but the sense of foreboding is mostly gone. The city is definitely
on the rebound. The bars of NYC were as crowded this weekend as
I can ever remember them.
It's almost as if en masse, the city is fatigued of thinking about
the past week and just want to have a beer already. People are getting
weary of hearing about it 24-7. It seems as every person in this
city with either a pen or an internet connection has expounded on
their personal experience. There's really nothing more to say. It's
all been said, and we're starting to get tired of it.
I've received emails and phone calls from all over the globe, offering
places to get away from the city for a while. The offers are most
appreciated, but strangely, I can't think of any place I'd rather
be than here in New York, my home.
With Tuesday's events now a recessing memory to most of the planet,
most New Yorkers are also returning to their lives. Unfortunately,
we still have a daily constant reminder that we live in a very different
world today. It only takes a brief look towards that void in the
Thank you for letting me vent.
eric kaye music nyc
music for film, television, and commercials
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