11 years later, let’s never take being a New Yorker for granted

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Williamsburg crosswalk today. Photo by BrooklynSpoke.

Ten years ago today I came to the city with a crew from my college newspaper to report on the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The first thing we noticed, which hung around us all day like an eerie mist, was how unnaturally quiet the city was that day. You could hear notes from bag pipes flowing up the avenues from the financial district as if everyone had agreed to stand on the sidewalk and let them pass; even the subway rumble seemed to be toned down to a respectful underground shuffle. A decade later, as your Facebook feed fills with remembrances from kids who were in elementary school when the attacks happened, the city is mostly as loud as it ever is, people are on their way to work, we can see a new tower rising over lower Manhattan from our Brooklyn rooftops, Osama Bin Laden got shot in the face and now lives in a pineapple under the sea and Bush’s mood ring terror code system already seems like a cartoonish historical footnote.

Tragic memories aside, there is truly no better day to appreciate being a New Yorker, the city that ate the rest of the country’s political bullshit for the past 10 years and kept going, where, despite all the uproar from Palin-types, people now go take photography and bread-making classes at a new community center/mosque near the World Trade Center, bothering no one after all, where you can barely walk by a park fountain on a sunny day without seeing a gay couple getting married and where the reassurances of a friendly bagel shop worker are enough to make your entire day. So let’s do something nice for the city today/this week/this year: Sue put together a great list last year of ways we can volunteer or donate across the boroughs. If you’ve got a favorite NYC charity or group you want to plug, tell us about it in the comments. And if you aren’t moved to feel special today, let brother Jon Stewart bring you home.

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  1. I’ll put in the same plug I put in all the time: give blood/platelets to the NY Blood Bank as often as you can. They always have shortages, and usually hook you up with free swag if you do. Plus, you’re literally bleeding for your country, which is some strong imagery to throw in the face of haters. And if you give enough blood, you might get to bear hug the president one day.

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