KFWB radio reporting for Thursday, September 27th, 2001
Just after sunset, the busboy dropped a saucer on the stone floor and the 100 patrons at the midtown bistro jumped. It's an apt metaphor for what may be the most tense the city has been since the days immediately following the attack.
A confluence of events has heightened anxiety.
The city's three main newspapers yesterday each told different stories of potential further threats to New York - an attempt to a buy a 727 jet... a tractor-trailer packed with explosives... and a watch for hazardous material shipments.
Add to that, it got downright cold and windy yesterday and remains such this morning. And new traffic restrictions enforced carpooling for suburbanites go into effect today - on the Jewish high holy day of Yom Kippur.
Tension has been expressed in more than just anecdotal form. It has suddenly become illegal to stand at a police barricade and photograph the Trade Center site, because, the Mayor says, it's a crime scene.
It must be stated, though, that this city seems to need some edginess off which to feed. Several years ago, an all-news radio station launched an ad campaign making fun of the panicky theme music of its rival station. The ratings for the station with the panicky music... immediately increased.
A few years ago, a man named Kenny Marino went from here to Seattle to watch his favorite baseball player, Ken Griffey Jr. He even got to present Griffey with a t-shirt for Griffey's son. The shirt was from where Kenny Marino worked. The New York Fire Department's Rescue One. Rescue One was at the World Trade Center early on the 11th. Kenny Marino didn't come home.
His wife, holding on to the things her husband loved, took a chance and sent the Cincinnati Reds an e-mail, asking if Griffey could hit "an extra homer" because her husband would be "looking down with a big grin."
Tuesday, Katrina Marino came here from her home in the suburbs and filled out all the forms enabling her to get a death certificate for her husband. That night, back upstate, she turned on her computer and couldn't believe what she saw. Griffey had hit a homer.
Moreover, before their game in Philadelphia, the Reds had shown him her e-mail. "I was so excited," she told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I knew Kenny was very happy somewhere."
Of the home run, Griffey said simply, "Only god knows why." He told the New York Times he wants to meet Kenny Marino's family when the Reds come here next season.
Yesterday, a Cincinnati reporter told Griffey about the start of the story, about the day Marino saw him play in Seattle, and gave him the Fire Department t-shirt. Griffey was stunned.
"Oh my God," he said, "I remember that. I still have that shirt."