The theme for this morning is New York New York.
- On my way to the subway I stop by the Muffin Ladies store to grab a coffee. I just love this place. Three Jamaican women run it – great muffins, mediocre coffee, great people.
- Many mornings on the subway platform where I start my day there is a fiddler. He is extraordinarily talented. People easily drop dollars into his case. This morning he played Amazing Grace. People were caught off guard when they were brought to tears. I am not kidding.
- On the subway itself I notice how many languages people are reading – French, Chinese, Russian. Lots of Russian. This is a sign of where this train starts – Coney Island.
- The guy next to me gets up, leaves his bags and walks away. He is checking the subway map halfway down the car. I note that this is a pretty trusting move. You just don't really do that in the subway. Perhaps I look trustworthy. But even so, this is highly unusual behavior.
- It is a hot heavy day here in NYC. As we head over the Manhattan Bridge, I think of September 11th. And yes, it is that Manhattan Bridge that Brian Williams talked about a few weeks ago on NBC News. The one that moves a lot and is really old and needed an upgrade from the day it was first built. That's the one.
Speaking of calamities, back to September 11th. I sit here on the subway and remember the skyline that once was. Around 8:35 or so that morning, we heard a plane. I lived downtown. That plane was really low. I turned to my then boyfriend now husband and said "Must be a military exercise."
But no. And then we watched the news. And went to work. And my mother was still in the air somewhere, flying on a United Airlines plane back from Paris. It's not worth re-living that whole day here now, but for some reason this morning I was thinking about how we tried to make things feel normal that night. I went to my future in-laws' apartment on the Upper East side. I walked there since getting a bus was practically impossible. There were hundreds if not thousands of people walking north that day. I walked up Madison Avenue in a crowd of people – felt like mass exodus. And it was. That night, we tried to feel normal and ate dinner on the terrace. And it was normal.
Except for the smell. The smell of burning buildings more than 100 blocks away. It was inescapable and it permeated the City for days.
But here we are now. The City is more peaceful today and that includes Times Square, where I am headed as I write this.
Can you believe it's been almost eight years?
And so it goes.