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Damaa --

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Wide Awake
by Damaa --   

Last edited: Saturday, September 10, 2005
Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2002

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The third and final part of a series of articles about the healing of New York in the wake of September 11th's destruction of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

October 5, 2001

Part III - Life goes on in the city that doesn't sleep


It is almost one o'clock in the morning on Saturday and people are still pouring out of the subway stations leading to Times Square. Hundreds maybe even close to thousands have gathered to resume life as it was close to a month prior when the sidewalks were full and the street traffic was gridlocked. Yellow cabs with fares in their backseats crowd the streets and blare their horns impatiently as traffic crawls at a snails pace.

There is almost a New Year's Eve excitement to the crowd. Many wander aimlessly under the neon lights and excitement of Broadway and 42nd Street. Asian street artists are busily sketching the faces of visitors and New Yorkers alike. Everyone appears relaxed and happy to be enjoying the unseasonably warm weather that can't decide if it is summer or autumn. Last week the city yawned awake but this week it is wide awake.

Restaurants like BB King's, Applebee's and Chevy's are back to business as usual serving dinner and drinks to the late night movie-goers and Broadway theater crowds. The trains are packed almost to capacity as they travel into the outer boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. I was lucky to get a seat on the A train heading into Brooklyn from 42nd Street. Surprisingly, the train even stopped at the Chambers Street/WTC station after almost a month of bypassing it.


For the first time in over a month I ventured across the Brooklyn Bridge. I wanted to document our new skyline since I had taken the old one for granted in the time that I've lived in New York. I looked in the direction of the office buildings along the southern edge of the island but couldn't distinguish where the towers used to be. As I walked home I saw a photo of the towers in the window of a shop. I stopped and stared strangely at the photo. The towers were no where near where I had been searching for them. It's amazing how quickly we forget. Perhaps it is our mind's way of helping us heal.


The city has been changed and the broken skyline is a constant reminder of the horrible day that deprived its citizens of direction. If you've never been to New York then you might not understand that those twin towers symbolized more than wealth and power. They were a beacon that guided us and kept us heading in the right direction. It is extremely easy to lose your sense of direction while wandering the crooked little streets of Greenwich Village. Everyone's secret for finding their way was to look in the direction of those towers and you knew where you were. The Empire State Building located in the center of Midtown serves the same purpose when heading northward. Since September 11 she has stood proudly shining red, white and blue lights defiantly skyward. An old clique says that a picture speaks a thousand words. I think that one says a mouth full.

Related Pieces:

Part I - Our City Grieves
Part II- Yawning Awake

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