Tinis in Terror Town
New York is a famously social place and this has been a social
week of drinks, including once in Hell. Not that place of
fable and fear from my Catholic childhood but a tony, red
themed cocktail bar down in the Meatpacking District. [It
did give me an odd thrill to say: Im off for a date
Over drinks the theme has been: how are we coping with our
collective sense of impending doom?
Depending on how deeply you want to delve into it there is
a little bit of the sense of what it must be like to have
lived in London before the Blitz.
The town is full of stories of well to do individuals who
are shipping children and nannies to their country homes until
the sense of danger is over. New York is being deserted at
a pace not seen since post 9/11.
But the vast majority of people I have visited with are determined
to tough it out and stay put. New Yorkers are becoming a bit
like those stiff upper lipped Brits of the 1940s: no,
Mr. Hitler, you are not going to scare us to death.
The city is undeniably tense. A truck backfired outside of
Penn Station earlier this week and, for a nano-second, the
world stood still as the crowd determined the source of the
We make terror jokes as we pass the police searching the
limos sitting outside the buildings in lower Manhattan. Gallows
humor is what is left to us in our day to day life.
People everywhere are bracing themselves, buffing up their
preparedness kits and making sure they have walking shoes
and some extra cash stashed so they can so make their getaway
if they have to.
Its wearing on us all and occasionally someone will
snap, as one did at a dinner recently, a sudden burst of tears,
a brutal internal storm of fear that came and passed, but
sharply revealing the stress that exists in all of us when
we stop to think about where we live.
Its going to get worse with the Republicans about to
descend on us. Citizens are asking: who ever thought this
was a good idea? But it was a decision that was greeted with
gratitude when it was made. New York, at the time, did not
expect to be a constant target.
I guarantee the consumption of alcohol and tranquilizers
is going to be going up steadily until the Grand Old Party
finishes its party, clears out of town and there is one final
sweep of Penn Station.
A Shameless Pitch:
This week I went to a screening of an episode of a series,
OFF TO WAR, I am helping produce for Discovery Times.
Executive Produced by Jon Alpert, shot and produced by Craig
and Brent Renaud, it is an extraordinary piece of work. A
condensed version of Episodes 1, 2 and 3 will air on Discovery
Channel in the Spotlight slot on August 25th. Please watch.
Craig and Brent are extraordinary young men, humble and quiet
while producing extraordinary programming, under the umbrella
of DCTV and Jon Alperts direction, all of which represents
the things I love most about television. Intelligent, sensitive
stories well told by real people. Kudos to them! I am very
proud to be associated with the project, probably more than
anything I have done in twenty years.
The danger journalists put themselves into was punctuated
for me by a conference call with another DCTV producer, Matt
ONeill, who was following a story in Venezuela but was
on a conference call with me about yet another project while
standing in the Presidential Palace in Caracas. Our call was
interrupted by the sound of random gunfire in the background.
Craig and Brent Renaud will soon be heading back to Iraq.
Matt will be back in a week or so from Venezuela and will
shortly be off to Kazakhstan. The three of them, along with
Jon, remind me of all the things I admire about us as humans
and our collective ability to do good and be creative.