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The Terror Warnings: A New Yorker's Perspective

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posted on Aug, 2 2004 @ 10:31 AM
While I believe that the govt is not above the use of fearmongering for political reasons, I do believe that there is some substance to the latest warnings. Maybe some of this belief is due to the fact that I am a New Yorker. Step into my viewpoint for a second.

On 911 I watched the second plane hit from my subway car that was stuck on the bridge. Actually, I didn't actually see anything--I was looking at the WTC towers and they looked perfectly normal, with no fire coming out of them. I wondered what everybody was screaming about. Later it turned out that I had psychologically blocked the view of the flaming, smoking towers with a "screen" because it was too traumatic. Then I got off the train and went to my job. Everybody there were walking around like zombies and I didn't know why. Then we were all called into the conference room in time to watch both towers collapse. We then dispersed into the chaos. There was no transportation and so me and a friend literally ran 20 blocks to her apartment. We had no idea what would be next; it was a siege mentality. I frantically called my boyfriend's work but there was no answer. When we were all finally accounted for & I was back at home, I watched CNN 24/7 & saw all the gory details. I drank a lot of alcohol. When I went back to work the following week, every train ride across the bridge was filled with foreboding & terror. When a normal malfunction would happen, like the train being stalled due to a switch problem, most people in the car were agitated or stressed. All I pictured in my mind again and again was a fireball ripping through the train or the bridge exploding. This feeling went on for two months. Also, when a manhole cover exploded or we heard some other loud noise at work, we'd all freak out and initially conclude that it was an explosion. And let's not forget about the fire alarm going off...

During the years that followed, we have had several scares where a box has been left outside the building and then there's 100 cops surrounding it. Oh, and bomb threats. But most telling of our state of mind was when the blackout happened last year. When our lights & computers pooped out, there was hysteria. People were looking out their windows in fear and waving to others to find out what was going on. Oh, and always have a bunch of cash on you and at home...with the ATMs not working & the banks closed, you could find yourself an instant temporary poor person. And did you know that in Manhattan hi-rises that depend on electricity-powered water towers, water runs out pretty damn quickly?

A month ago I passed by 6th & 50...right around where the CNN building is. There were tons of cops, a helicopter overhead, and about 20 blocks closed-off. A suspicious package. Me and the friends I was with tried to just dismiss it as "life in the City" -- but we were all tense.

Truth is, NY is a #1 terror target. We have tons of significant landmarks, tons of people, and a degree of chaos that will never be fully contained by precautions & security. As evidenced by the blackout, we don't have a heck of a lot of resources to take care of the tons of people who might be stranded by an attack. Food & water are at a premium. I saw people getting into fist-fights for gas. The only food I could find was Dunkin Donuts--and only the yucky flavors.

Life as a New Yorker during the age of Terrorism has meant to me that whenever I pass by the Empire State Building or cross a bridge, I think about potential disaster. I'm sure that sounds paranoid, but there you go. So when I hear specific terror warnings I go take some money out of the bank, buy water & canned food, and hold my breath. And yeah, I know that people in Israel & other countries experience this sort of thing all the time, & I should just "toughen up" -- but the mind of a person who has grown jaded at the threat or sight of violence is no great thing, either.

posted on Aug, 2 2004 @ 10:35 AM
Nice post Cassie. BTW, I get to enjoy living about 10 miles from The TMI Nuclear Plant!!!

posted on Aug, 2 2004 @ 10:43 AM
cassie, very well written, i think you've captured the feeling of most new yorkers who experience 911. my entire family is still living in NY and most can share a story similar to yours, the physchological affects are of course the most lasting, but that sense of knowing you're a target, but living your life regardless of it, is what makes all new yorker's strong and capable of handling it all, but no matter how strong, there has to be adjustments to the lifestyle they were all so accustomed to. Don't worry about feeling paranoid or how much substance is required to pay attention to warnings, you are not alone in your thinking, many people i know went to work today, but they wore their sneakers, or took out extra cash from the atm, or bought extra groceries last night.

posted on Aug, 2 2004 @ 10:51 AM
I agree with everything you said. I have to take the N train through the 59st(queensborough) bridge/tunnel. For the 3 minutes going through that tunnel, there is always a 1 second thought about the "what ifs". How many people do you think would continue taking trains into the city if something were to happen in the subways? There would be a mass exodus out of manhattan. As it is, a lot of people are talking about moving away because the increase in expenses are just getting out of hand. Add a bombing or something similar to the subway system and who in there right mind would stick around?

posted on Aug, 2 2004 @ 10:52 AM
Cassie, it's the life we live now. No need to toughen up. I spent a few hours trying to keep my wife calm. We live 4 blocks from the citigroup building and got a nice look last night at the armed force surrounding the building. Lexington Ave was closed after I drove by the building this morning and the side streets are more or less shut down.

It's scary. Plain and simple. I've said the same thing about "this being life in NYC" but the truth is, I am now dealing with a child and I don't want her to grow up with constant fear. We talked about moving out of the city last night but, unless we move and find jobs away from the city, we are still at the mercy of the terrorists.

People that live outside of NYC and D.C. don't have any idea what this is like (unless they live in Israel or have lived thru the terror in London and Paris). I've blown off most of the elevated warnings as being more scare than substance but this one is extremely serious and has us all rattled.

By the way, I work a block from the Empire State building, across the street from the Garden (leaving for the RNC), one block from CNN, a few blocks from the NASDAQ and a few blocks from a slew of other soft targets. It's a scary time here.

posted on Aug, 2 2004 @ 01:13 PM
I never thought twice about taking the subway or going to the empire State building. Now I think about it. Now, I have trouble being in tall buildings. When I was in Vegas, we went to the Stratosphere which had a revolving restaurant on the top and I just couldnt take it. I was shaking. Its like post traumatic stress. I just cant imagine facing imminent death and forced to choose between burning to death, or jumping close to 100 stories.
I had a panic attack so bad in an airplane last month, they brought me oxygen. I didnt take it because I wanted to pass out from hyperventilation. My fear overwhelmed me, My senses were skewed I saw and heard things that were not there. I lost it.

If you have had the chance to visit The Windows on the World Restaurant, it truely was breathtaking. I just cant' accept what happened that day, even though I saw what happened that day.
I dream about it--being there with them and facing the same fate--Absolute helplessness.

My husbands' a fireman, and he swore to me that you are not really aware or understanding a situation when you are confronted with such a situation--That your brain protects you and your mind switches into a different gear to deal with such fright. I on the otherhand believe you are hyperaware, fully understanding, and frighted to death --and it s called Primal fear.

I cannot accept that there are humans capable of such terror. We know this will happen again. I wont stop doing what Im doing. I will still take a subway or an airplane, but the fear alone will kill me even if they dont.

Terrorists will attack a subway, its just a matter of time, you can bet on it.

posted on Aug, 2 2004 @ 04:23 PM
Cassie, that was an excellent post and really puts a New Yorker's perspective on these things.
Living in the hinterlands, I found that I am more easily rattled, now, than before 9/11. I can only imagine what if must have been like for those of you who were there and who are there now.
The mind is a self-protecting mechanism, I think. I saw the second plane hit and the buildings collapse on tv but I have no real memory of it. It was all too big, too scarey, for me to take in. It's been totally blocked from my mind..even though my husband says I saw the news live.
You New Yorkers (which is one of my favorite cities) are a strong bunch. I hope it doesn't sound corny to say that I admire how you have coped. I haven't coped very well and I'm far, far away from NY and DC.
Here's hoping that all this latest terror threat comes to nothing.

posted on Aug, 2 2004 @ 09:53 PM
Cassie, I live halfway between Phila and NYC. TMI is also about the same distance away, but another nuke site is much closer. I see things in much the same way as you have expressed so clearly. I have well water, and a generator; I need to give some thought to the cash on hand issue.

We are in a tense situation. I can see a lot of things done wrong since 9/11, and a very few done right. There are no easy answers. I feel for you, living and working in NYC.

posted on Aug, 16 2004 @ 12:01 PM
I was born & raised on Long Island, currently living in Ohio (cheap) & my heart & prayers go out to all New Yorkers. You are a different breed of people, strong & resiliant(sp). My prayers go out to all whether there is any substance to these alerts or not.

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