Be nice to New Yorkers every now and then

Photo via Flickr's Kmulvey

The most positive thing I remember about 9/11 is New Yorker’s urgent need to help. After the attacks, my Brooklyn Heights dormmates and I went to the Schermerhorn Street Red Cross to donate blood (when people were being found alive). We waited in a three-hour line of people. My roommate and I piled up every bit of clothing we loved and took it to the Cadman Plaza Library, but their space was full; too many people had already donated. The next day, we took the A train to the Javits Center, and waited outside for hours in the rain again for hours, only be told that we couldn’t help help dig at Ground Zero; Too many people had already volunteered.

New York became a small town that I was proud to live in (unlike my hometown). For days and months after, New Yorkers dropped their tough facade and totally smiled at you, said hello and asked if you were okay. I remember a spokesperson for the Red Cross saying they wished people showed such generosity every day, and not just in times of crisis. Maybe we should. Maybe it’s the act of reaching out and not the actual fruits of our labor, that helps humanize us. Here are some ways you can show your love of felllow New Yorkers, every day of the year.

The Red Cross isn’t just a place for donating blood. It’s an organization that strives to alleviate human suffering worldwide. It needs volunteers throughout the city and the world.

The New York Blood Center is always in need of donations: blood, plasma and platelets. The Brooklyn donation center recently reopened in downtown.

New York Cares is the Goliath of  New York-based volunteer organizations. After taking a quick orientation, you can receive a calendar of opportunities that include working with seniors, tutoring teens, and teaching literacy low-income adults. has a great aggregate of all volunteer opportunities in New York City.

Brokelyn has a full  list of Brooklyn’s other  best volunteer opportunities —from animal rescue to community service.

Maybe you’re Brokelyner who actually has money to donate. Lord knows that the New York City Public Schools sure could use it. Donate any amount here.

Sue Smith attended Pace University during 9/11 and is honored to have this writing assignment. HerTwitter feed is much lighter.

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