Today was yet another surreal day, with deserted streets, barricades, and a constant cloud of smoke everywhere. Lower Manhattan was truly a war site. The smell from the debris is still coming through my window. You could see people wearing masks in the streets (I made one out of an old tshirt). Spent most of the morning replaying to emails and answering calls (the cellphones were working ok this morning and then connection went bad again throught the rest of the day). In the afternoon I took my bike and tried to visit a friend of mine who lives in Lafayette and Spring. I’ve got stopped by the police on Houston and Lafayette. People can’t go through to or get out from Houston. My friend had to come all the way from his appartment to see me. Before he got out he checked with one of the cops that he would be re-admitted into the area later on. We took our bikes down Lafayette, which was mostly empty. The dust and smell coming from downtown was really thick. After I left my friend I went to see some other friends in Brooklyn. Crossing the Brooklyn bridge was an incredible experience. I had to go all the way East and take the FDR along the Hudson. Below Houston you could only see cops, firemen, paramedics and all sort of uniformed people. Almost no civilians. The sight from the Brooklyn bridge was depressing: the bridge was empty and when you looked back, a big cloud was replacing what before was a classic landmark of Manhattan, the WTC. The view from the Brooklyn Height Promenade wasn’t better, but at least you could see a crowd, walking in silence and slowly, like carrying a weight on their shoulders. But not everything was sorrow and mourning: you could see lots of gestures of solidarity everywhere. Brooklyn firemen getting ready to assist their Manhattan counterpart, flowers on the benches of the promenade, etc. In Brooklyn the atmosphere (and definetly the air) was clearer. I went through Prospect Park and could see people picnicking, rollerblading, etc. By dusk I went back home and then met some friends for drinks. The streets of the East Village, normally very noisy and crowded on a night like this one, were still empty. The only noise came from the emergency trucks and cars going downtown. I have lots of footage from today but haven’t had time to publish it. I’m supposed to go to London tomorrow, but still unsure about this. If I stay, I’ll upload those images.
The BBC picked up my comments of what happened yesterday. You can check it at http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/talking_point/newsid_1537000/1537530.s
Thanks everyone for your messages. I spent all my morning answering calls from yesterday (phones weren’t working) and replying to the various emails I received. I’ll try to keep this weblog updated so you can follow what’s going on in NY. I haven’t been outside yet, so nothing to report. My neighbour confirm this morning that his friend (the one who worked at the WTC) is ok!
My only and main thought right now is this: there’s not such a thing as an outside “evil”. “Evil” (and goodness) is withtin all of us. I know the anger and sorrow of everyone in this city, I’m still under shock, I thought the horror happening before my eyes. But looking for punishment or thinking of any armed response is not a solution, is just more of the same stupidity. What we need know is to open our eyes, put our vision beyond this island, beyond this country and try to understand why things like this happen. Why those who commit this horror also do it in “the name of god” or fighting against what for them is “evil”. Probably the worst sin is just to be blind, not to acknowledge the real problems of this world, and not trying to find the real solutions. It’ll take time and strength, but one day we should also prove to ourselves that we’re able to build the society and world that WE want.