KFWB radio reporting for Tuesday, September 25th, 2001
This city's mood can often be gauged in subtle ways. A week ago yesterday, when Wall Street reopened, and the financiers were forced to go by foot, through narrow sidestreets, past checkpoints, a city police officer shook his head in amazement at the good behavior. "My kids don't listen to me this well."
Sunday at the Prayer Service at Yankee Stadium another officer got emotional. "The people have been wonderful," he said. "It's like they don't want to be a burden." There were tears in his eyes by that point.
And this morning, two weeks to the day that the World Trade Center was attacked, there is an article in the newspaper The New York Times, totally unrelated to this sad anniversary. It is a profile of Roger Clemens, who will tonight pitch the Yankees' first home game since that day. It portrays him as half-Texan, half-Manhattanite. As features go, it's a long one: 1200 words. It doesn't mention the Trade Center once. It quotes three ordinary Yankee fans, and three fans only... Alex Nivar, Kurt Englehardt, and John Melville.
Nivar is identified as a New York police officer. Englehardt, a Port Authority police officer. Melville, the troop commander of the State Police here in the city. Coincidence? Possibly. Unconscious barometer of who this city is thinking? Don't bet against it.
A week since I've been down here and it just isn't any better.
A night's heavy rain has tamped down the fire and the wind has blown much of the smoky haze uptown. And thus from Rector and Washington Streets, that sixteen-story remnant of The Trade Center's ornamental metal facing looms more clearly, and somehow larger, three blocks to the north.
It slopes back gently against the mountain of debris, as if it were resting against it. It is a creamy white. The sky is visible through the ornate design. A week ago, I thought it looked like the Colosseum in Rome. Today, I can see it for what it is: a living version of those World War Two photos a bombed-out cathedral in Lyon, or London, or Dresden.
A week ago I told you about some kind of awning or tarpaulin, shredded during the chaos, blown up onto the fourth floor fire escapes at 92 Greenwich Street. Today, today, there's somebody up there with a garden hose, washing those shreds away.
It's time to step back down Washington Street and try to collect myself. But where? I'm five blocks away now, and there's a Pontiac SSE parked here, painted with debris as thick and unidentifiable as the ash off a wet fireplace. It just isn't any better.