Djcnor’s Weblog

If the Mumbai events had happened in NYC…

Posted on: November 29, 2008

On 9/11, I was in New York City. In fact, I was just 30 blocks away. I spent the day walking north since I lived in the Bronx, staying out of the shadow of huge buildings just in case another one was hit, then walking through Central Park since there were not likely to be any targets there, then stopping at Mt. Sinai to give blood because surely there would be survivors who needed it and it was something I could do to affirm recovery, and then heading home when transportation out of Manhattan opened up.

And afterwards, I, like any number of other New Yorkers, came right back into Manhattan as soon as it was possible, and I kept on doing it. It seemed like, for a very long time, every subway card I rode in held someone gray with dust from ground zero wearing an expression as gray as the dust, as if their ability to feel had been shorted out. But we kept on doing it, day after day, and things got back to normal, pretty much.

The death toll of Mumbai will almost certainly be lower, but I can’t help imagining how we New Yorkers might have responded to an attack like that in Mumbai. I imagine attacks on Grand Central Station, the Plaza and Chelsea hotels, Mt. Sinai (counts as both a hospital and a Jewish target) and Bellevue hospitals, one of the big dim sum restaurants in China Town, all in one day.

It would have been much harder to come back day after day, unable to avoid the sites of the attacks without drastic measures. It was hard enough looking down 7th Ave by chance and sensing something “wrong” in the skyline just a moment before the reason for the “wrongness” landed back in your consciousness.

I hadn’t spent much time near the towers except for a 3-month stint in which I worked at a bookstore in the bottom of one, and that had been some time ago. So I didn’t have that much reason to go that way after it happened either. Yet, I was definitely aware of avoiding going down there. In fact, I never did until there was a combined protest/memorial action during the Republican Convention in 2004.

My heart goes out to the people of Mumbai who will do just that, because there is no choice. But my heart knows a little bit more than most others what it will feel like.


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Djcnor’s Weblog

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