Surreal New York

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.