Sunday, May 30, 2010

silent city (lyn)

In the days following 9-11, New York City stopped.  It was an eerie feeling to be at home and at once feel not at home.  The streets were quiet.  From my home on East 79th Street, I could look south and see a large plume of dark gray smoke, a reminder that the Twin Towers were still smoldering.  Restaurants were empty.  People were sad.  No one could contemplate going out to be entertained.  The trees with posters of missing friends and relatives enveloped us, the lucky, who hadn’t posted them.  The local fire station was filled with flowers, to honor the nine firemen who never returned to their station.  The nation mourned.  But it was a different kind of mourning that happened here.  The kind that gets in your bones and never leaves.

I go outside this morning and the stillness of the city reminds me of those awful days.  But it’s a different kind of quiet.  It’s a holiday weekend and people leave town.

I spend the day reading and relaxing.  I spend the evening having dinner with three good friends.  We are the only diners in the upstairs part of the restaurant, and only a few diners are downstairs.  I abandon any point-counting for a few hours but Zelia convinces me (with a look and no words) to order the steamed vegetable side inside of the mashed potatoes. 

Leaving dinner we all comment on the silent city.  We can cross Third Avenue without waiting for a red light.  We can have a private room in a usually packed restaurant. This kind of quiet is nice.

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