Wednesday, September 10, 2008



(Sept. 10, Chambers Street, Lower Manhattan, NYC ) In 1966 after clearing out dozens of square blocks of Lower Manhattan neighborhoods including hundreds of apartment buildings, small business and the famous “Radio Row”. This site was called a hole. Once construction began in earnest the hole became “the bathtub”. This referred to the purpose of constructing a thick cement and re-bar lining inside the hole to keep the waters of the Hudson River out. 200 feet deep, 16 acres in greatest dimension, this bathtub would become the World Trade Center Plaza. Two of those 16 acres were designated for two twin towers, towers that would soar 110 stories above the ground; they would be, for a time, once completed, the tallest structures of their kind.

The World Trade Center, Tower One and Tower Two, North and South Tower, not side by side but offset: adjacent but not inline, identical upright rectangles of steel and glass. Novel, revolutionary methods and equipment were utilized, often at great risk, to construct these building which would become the defining exclamation points on the already world famous New York City skyline. Open for business in 1976 they soon became just another part of the landscape for the native as for those who came to Lower Manhattan to work. Still, no matter how often you saw them, no matter how idly you pondered them, they retained a certain magnetic appeal even for the most jaded of New Yorkers.

For 10 years New Yorkers watched the immense towers rise slowly, steadily but surely from within that bath tub. 25 years later, the world would watch them collapse each separately in a matter of seconds, floor hitting floor in a pancake effect that took the lives of thousands and, within that roiling, boiling cloud of dust, smoke and debris many souls passed through unnoticed. After the dust settled, the recovery efforts ceased, the massive task of the clean up began. A year after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, “The Pit” was all that remained. Some in the media referred to it as “Ground Zero”. That sounds exciting if you weren’t there, nearby or soon to be within.

For some it became “The Pit” and to them it will remain so. It will remain an ugly scar, an unavoidable reminder of that day and of what we have and have not accomplished since. Perhaps the City of New York should simply fill the pit with cement, pave over it and make it a 16 acre amusement park: ferris wheels and rides, maybe a roller coaster. A sprawling network of midways lined with tourist shops selling WTC memorabilia, food, postcards and T-shirts. Think of the possibilities.

Essentially by having done nothing because of the labyrinth of special, narrow minded, competing interest groups and constituencies, the awkward state and local bureaucratic system, money, money and simple lack of guidance, nothing has been done since the cleanup. It has become just another destination for the tour buses to pass by. It has become a spectacle, just another site to see, have your picture taken at and purchase a souvenir.

To some it is extraordinarily expensive real estate; to others, sacred ground, a holy place, a massive grave for so many who never had a real grave. It is a disgrace and shame that not even a permanent, respectful yet modest memorial has yet been erected marking this site as one of innocent deaths and intentional sacrifices. Some of those who gave the most that day, be they banker or broker, secretary or waitress, busboy or janitor, Port Authority Police, NYPD, EMS or FDNY took their heroism with them to the great beyond. Their stories will never be known. Some were never positively identified; others identified by a piece of jewelry, a finger, a helmet or via DNA. Seven years is too long a time to keep a wound un-sutured, a broken bone un-set, broken hearts without comfort and so much innocent, pure, sacrificial death survived without closure.

The nation forgets or has an abstract image of that day and the televised events. Television does not broadcast real time sounds as they really sound, smell, taste, the “feel”, “sense” or rather “senselessness “ of a place: that place, “The Pit”, in particular. And that is fine; it is not for them to document, televise or recall. Only someone close can write an honest eulogy.

But for those who do remember the smells, sounds, tastes, emotions, frustrations and sadness of that day, it is, at times, unbearable, on a daily basis painful, to have an itch that cannot be scratched, a year long ache that begins to crescendo after Labor Day and wane slowly thereafter.

A prize fighter carries his scars as badges of honor, as a sign of the warrior. This City, our City, my City does not need to do so. This wound should have been addressed long ago. Seven years is a long time although, at times, on sleepless, sweaty nights, it seems like only yesterday.

Many divorces result from a marital “seven year itch.” If only memories could be divorced from the rememberer.

Note: This was posted under the Brooding Cynyc by-line but is the product of several others who opt to remain anonymous.

Copyright © 2008 TBC All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 2008 BronxWest Consulting



(Sept.10, The Bronx, NYC) By whatever objective or subjective measures are utilized, September 10, 2001 was, for most people, an ordinary day. This city teeming with millions of residents, workers, visitors, tourists and Lord knows what else, was up and running at its usual pace, beating in its usual rhythm. This was true simply because New Yorkers expect a certain degree of inconvenience, disorder, mayhem and commotion as part of daily life. Aspects of daily life within this 326 square miles of concrete, asphalt and structures of every type and height that would appall most non New Yorkers and amaze all tourists, is part of the DNA of natives. If you are not born and bred, if you are not “from” this place, you can never be “of” it.

Each 24 hour cycle in this city has its share of assaults on the senses, ample opportunity for confusion, mischief and snafus. Steam pipes explode, subways stop suddenly in dark tunnels, the squeal and whine of ambulance, police and fire truck sirens is usually an unobtrusive component of the background throbbing heart beat of this unique place.

Each day a cop, fireman or EMT goes to work, each call they respond to while on duty initially contains an element of the unknown. The majority of calls are routine, or, at least New York routine. This does not eliminate that moment when the first call is received, the first alarm bells chime or the first citizen flags down a police car when, anything might be happening. That moment of the initial unknown is part adrenaline sometimes tinged with apprehension. Despite any mental or physiological reaction, regardless the amount of adrenaline that may be pumped into the blood, once engaged in the action, whatever it may be, reflexes, experience, training and self preservation as well as the preservation of those you work with, whose lives may depend on your ability to perform, becomes tantamount.

The vast, high-tech NYC 911 control center can log over 36,000 calls a day. This calls range from the trivial, mundane and banal to the urgent, hazardous and potentially fatal. No matter the call, no matter the City Service involved, every call prompts a response; a rapid response. The rapidity of the response might depend on the nature of the call. A guy who gets his arm stuck in his toilet while trying to unclog it is a lower priority than a heart attack, shots fired, building on fire or crime in progress. That’s just common sense prioritization mobilizing limited resources.

Seven year ago today there were approximately 40,000 cops and 11,000 firemen. Divide the number of cops by three shifts, subtract for guys on vacation, off sick, in court, injured or otherwise not on the streets and what do you come up with? This is the equation of having 100,000 people per precinct possibly policed at any given time by 20 to 25 cops. FDNY works a different tour still, the number of men assigned per unit is much smaller than anyone might realize.

Despite the gaping disparity between citizens and Members of Service (MOS), life goes on, things get done, order is restored, folks are transported to hospitals, arrests are made, fires extinguished: things, whatever those “things” might be, are dealt with efficiently – routinely.

And then came the tomorrow of seven years ago.

The definition of ordinary, normal and routine was forever dramatically altered for all New Yorkers and, in particular, arguably, for all MOS.

Over the course of the intervening years, a new “normal” has risen just as a stream will alter its course when a boulder appears as an obstacle. It takes time but it happens. It happens at different paces for different people. It comes a bit more easily for some than others.

New training methods, new plans, new MOS, new tactics and new equipment have replaced what was lost seven years ago tomorrow. Those were the items that could be replaced. The most valued, human life cannot be replaced. How many thousands of lives have been altered that seven years ago today were routine? Who can calculate such a number? The families of the deceased, the survivors, their families and everyone who was there, in NYC that day: all having to have found their own new normal.

911 calls continue unabated and have since then. NYPD, FDNY, EMS and PAPD have taken their blows and, in there new ordinary function as they did seven years ago today. The only difference being, that initial moment of the unknown, that first blast of adrenaline lingers a few seconds longer – than they act, do what they always have and always will, anonymously, for the same reasons. Tradition. It carries a certain weighty burden while conversely providing a shield of comfort.

But, every MOS knew that long before the tomorrow of seven years ago today.


FDNY 343


Rest in Peace.

Copyright © 2008 TBC All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 2008 BronxWest Consulting

Monday, September 8, 2008



(Sept. 8, New York, New York) The lowest rated of the cable “news” channels, MSNBC. has finally taken steps to improve their image, decrease the outright left wing partisan tone of their programming and partially muzzle their most biased hosts.

The live coverage of the DNC and GOP conventions on MSNBC were anchored by two of the most buffoonish, biased, egotistical blowhards that are employed at that network: Chris “Spittle” Matthews and Keith “Righteous Indignation” Olbermann. For reasons that defy logic, both of these loud mouths actually host their own hour long programs nightly on MSNBC. Having commentators, empty talking heads, serve as anchors tasked with reporting impartially, objectively in the purest journalist standards proved to be a disastrous failure.

A respected, veteran White House corespondent, David gregory will anchor the election night coverage for MSNBC while the spitting, sputtering partisan zealots, Matthews and Olbermann will provide “commentary.” The former editorial director of MSNBC was quoted in the NY Times today saying, “The most disappointing shift is to see the partisan attitude move from prime time into what’s supposed to be straight news programming.”

The parent company of both NBC and MSNBC, NBC Universal, according to inside sources, were angry and could no longer tolerate the behavior of these two bozos in anchor positions. As the NY Times further reported, “...that long-simmering tensions between MSNBC and NBC reached a boiling point during the conventions.

In accurate, inflammatory “reporting” has become a staple at MSNBC. Tom Brokaw and Andrea Mitchell, both longtime, highly respected corespondents at NBC News were among the many from that network who allegedly have expressed “real anger, hostility at the awful conduct, the opineing and childish antics that were on display during the conventions. They are not worthy to be in the positions they are in”, commented an anonymous executive at NBC Universal.

This is the latest shakeup at the bottom rated of the cable “news” channels. Two weeks ago Dan Abrams who hosted his own hour long program “The Verdict” was removed from that position. He was a Matthews, Olbermann protégé’ who mimicked their sarcastically biased charades. “Dan Abrams would not even have a job here if not for nepotism. He is as empty a suit as there is as well as being one of the least intelligent or effective interviewers to ever appear on TV. His show sucked, he sucked and finally they pulled the plug on that idiot” commented another top NBC Universal executive not for attribution. He said he feared being labeled as an anti-Semite and the retaliation that would invite.

Each of the cable news networks CNN, FOX as well as MSNBC need to reevaluate their journalistic standards, their programming and their hiring practices. FOX News has often been accused, and rightfully so, as being an “arm” of the Republican Party and of the current Bush administration yet they own the top spot in rating. Perhaps the worst offenders at FOX, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity are bona fide jerks, cowards, and second rate game show hosts. Ira Finklebarb, an associate producer for the Bill O’Reilly Show said, “Everyone here knows he’s a jerk, a major league asshole but, apparently, he has a huge following of jerks and assholes. Sean Hannity? Oy vey, I don’t even know where they found this kid. He is, without doubt, the most arrogant moron I have ever met and believe me, I have met many. Some of them are actually relatives.”

Click on title for link to NY Times article

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