Prints In The Dust:
Copyright 2001 by Mordecai Siegal. All Rights Reserved
One of my pleasures each morning is watching my neighbors from the terrace of my little Greenwich Village apartment as they give their dogs their morning stroll. I stand near the ledge, sip coffee and sometimes talk to a friend on my cordless phone. I live on Charles Street just two blocks up from the Hudson River and about two miles north of the financial district. If Paris is the City of Lights certainly New York is the City of Dogs. Perhaps a million of them live here. Across the street are two Welch Terriers owned by a very successful painter, and next door to her is a woman with two majestic white Standard Poodles. Next door to my building is a young Boxer, as frisky as a teenager. Dogs are everywhere up and down the block, around the corner and on every street you see. But in an instant last Tuesday morning the dogs and their owners disappeared along with the World Trade Towers. Everyone seemed to go home and they took their dogs with them. The street poles and fire hydrants went unserviced.
The police refer to it as The Frozen Zone, the press calls it Ground Zero, and a Cardinal called it Ground Hero today. But to the hundreds and hundreds of rescue workers up to their helmets in hell it's called "The Hole." Somehow, television and photojournalism do not have the capacity to convey the extent of the devastation. It takes up many blocks of black, smoky, twisted metal and glass daggers. Many of the wonderful office buildings surrounding the Trade Towers have also gone down or have been irreparably damaged and will eventually be torn down. It reminds me of the newsreels of war torn Berlin I saw as a child. Only occasional walls stood like old movie sets with a façade in front and nothing in back. I can only tell you that all the blocks and all the buildings have been burned, smashed, and squashed. It is a sickening sight, not because last week it was a glorious representation of human achievement and now it is gone, but because there may be as many as 5000 people in there, but not in there.
When the second tower collapsed, I was on my terrace talking to a friend on the phone. I could feel slight vibrations in the balls of my feet and I looked up at the Today Show on my TV screen. It was a sight that didn't seem real or probable or even possible. But there it was, a huge, frightening cloud of black and white smoke enveloping the streets of the financial district like a tidal wave. I have thought a lot about that scary smoke and my dear friend, who was evacuated in the nick of time from the World Financial Center across the street from the towers. She put it succinctly: It was a huge billow of human energy, life, and agony, mixed into pulverized concrete and steel. In a matter of seconds all of it had vaporized into white dust. I couldn't help but notice that millions of scraps of paper remained intact. As an author of many books I mused that the printed page will probably outlast everything.
had many inquiries this week asking about my safety and well-being.
To those who sent me emails and phone messages, I want to you thank
you for caring. I am well. At least I am well physically. Like everyone
else in the country, I was quite shaken up and have run the gamut of
emotions from profound sadness to anger to depression and finally, to
exhaustion. There is a large gap, like missing teeth, where those two
magnificent buildings stood. I can't tell you how much I loved looking
at them and how they gave me a thrill each time I would come back to
the city by car and look at our skyline across the river from New Jersey.
I loved looking at them as I sipped coffee from Rafaella's sidewalk
café as I peered down Seventh Avenue between pages of a book.
Now they are gone, for a while.
People along the sidewalks of Greenwich Village cheer and applaud whenever trucks go by carrying exhausted rescue workers. It gives me a chill to witness it. Two young women I know volunteered to deliver hot meals for the rescue workers prepared and donated by a consortium of New York's four-star and gourmet restaurants. The young women were exhausted and told me that they had to go through nine separate checkpoints manned by police and national guardsmen. On their last run they were told it was okay to go into Ground Zero if they can take it but the only place to deposit the meals was where the morgue was set up . (The location changes every day.) Sweet, brave souls, they did it.
Anyway, traffic is now flowing south in Manhattan again, at least as far as Canal Street, and the Village came alive this Sunday afternoon. People were in the restaurants and sidewalk cafes. The best sign of renewal was the sight of people walking their dogs again. But you know what? Those dogs are getting a lot more attention than usual. I see many people hugging them and talking to them and looking very proud. There are several hundred rescue dogs working deep inside "The Hole" and everyone know this, especially the dog owners. Nobody is working harder than the rescue dogs. Everyone is proud of them.
everyone else here in Manhattan, we are still standing and holding our
place and I feel very close to Americans everywhere tonight. We are
connected. We really are one people, one family.
Goodnewsforpets.com is produced by Germinder & Associates, Inc., a public relations and marketing communications firm.
For editorial and sponsorships, contact Lea-Ann Germinder, APR.
Germinder & Associates, Inc.