Sunday, September 16, 2001 12:48 AM
Subject: Ground Zero
FYI - I volunteered last night with the Seaman's Church Institute (421 Water Street) distributing food to firefighters, rescue crew and police. This was the place where we
would often go for a bite to eat in between sails and it was bizarre beyond belief to
see this hangout turned into a massive relief station. Everyone we saw were exhausted
but there's a sense of togetherness that blew me away. (I am going back on Thursday,
as I'm co-coordinator for a group that we're sending from the Cathedral. The Institute
wants churches to assume a 24 hour shift.)
At about midnight, I went with three other folks to distribute candy and energy food
to ground zero. If you haven't seen the sight, all I can say is take whatever you see
on TV and magnify it into infinity. I have never seen or smelled a more horrific site -
with the Kegel lights at night, it resembled the Hollywood set from Hell. I spent a
lot of time there this summer sailing in the Seaport. So, a lot of little landmarks
(the Borders sign at the WTC that is ripped to shreds) really brought it home.
Today, I brought some supplies to my buddies, who lives on the boats docked at
the Seaport (Fulton and Front) They are fine. The boats are equipped with generators
and a coal stove and there's a few stores open for them to buy supplies. The Seaport
is trying to open by Wednesday if possible and they are trying to get the fall programs
running as soon as the Coast Guard opens the waters to all water traffic. But right
now, this is a pipe dream as the area still has no phone or power.
Today, three of us escorted a friend back to her apartment. It was the first time she
had been back since Tuesday to her apartment that's on a 32 story floor of a high
rise 8 blocks from the scene (the view from her apartment is mind boggling).
By now, as you must know, they are allowing people limited access below Canal
Street east of Broadway and there were restaurants opening here and there. The
sight of people clicking away with their cameras coupled with the tasteless WTC
souvenirs is in such poor taste that it defies description. My friend commented
that these folks are taking this tragedy that destroyed her neighborhood and turning
it into a "touristy" event. If you feel a need to see the site, try walking down Water
Street south, you'll get as close a view of the site as the police will allow you to
see without a pass. I was able to take the #6 to Brooklyn Bridge but that was
as close as I could get to the Seaport today.
Hope you're keeping body and soul together.
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