February 11th, 2002
Today, when I got up a light drizzle was falling in New York
and as I
sipped my coffee the rain turned to a fine snow, almost invisible.
Ellis Island, out the window, was shrouded in fog and looked
battleship at anchor.
I have put off writing this week's column because I wasn't
sure what I
wanted to write about. Growing up, I was surrounded by a big,
loud, wonderful Irish Catholic family who lived behind my
house. And for some magical reason I still know and am involved
the McCormicks. One of their daughters and I have known each
since our mothers put us on the living room floor together
when we were
both still in diapers.
The oldest, Mary Clare, has a very thoughtful son who graduated
Harvard. The month after the Trade Towers fell, Joe joined
It was his assessment that we were in this for the long haul
assessment has niggled at my mind. I've come to believe he's
This isn't going to be over soon.
A week ago Friday, the New York Times read like a primer
for war and I
went up to the country in a heavy mood.
I am, however, by nature a fairly sunny person and today,
about the words I would put down, could not bring myself to
thoughts. Ellis Island looking like an anchored battleship
magical. The strong coffee tasted good and I was warm while
rain/snow was falling. Our cat, Mitz, was sleeping on the
bed, as far
from care as any of God's creatures.
Bundling up later in the day, I went out and did my first
shopping in the new neighborhood.
When it rains, when it's wet, for some reason that is when
burnt smell of the downed Towers seeps over the whole lower
part of the
city, from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal to Houston Street.
smell was out again today as I walked to the grocery store.
What I saw was interesting, at least to me. This ravaged
part of town
is coming back to life. On Greenwich Street, where I live,
still a long row of boarded shops but here and there one is
open in the
midst of the closed shops.
Others are refurbishing themselves and new ones are opening.
There is a
grand new deli up on Trinity Place, opened since the attacks
and a great
people watching place at nine at night when everyone from
workers to police to weary business people are in there getting
coffee. There is laughter in the air.
Walking out the apartment building door, a small side street
and people were looking at it in a kind of wonder and joy
Another block has been reclaimed!
Slowly people are moving back into downtown; slowly life
After grocery shopping I went to get a bottle of wine for
feeling in a slightly celebratory mood, for no specific reason.
journey took me down a couple of streets I haven't traversed
finally found Moran's, a pub in an ancient building, which
advertised that it has re-opened on the concrete barriers
that close off
the streets. Crudely painted signs lead one on to a bit of
where one can have a pint in a building that seems to have
since there was a wall on Wall Street.
As Kenny, the wine merchant, checked me out, he looked at
knowing he had never seen me before. He asked me if I lived
neighborhood. When I told him I had just moved in, I could
have walked out without paying. A new neighbor! A new customer!
was so excited I was a little embarrassed but, for him, someone
in is an act of faith in tomorrow.
So are all the little things I witnessed today. Acts of faith
tomorrow - and, sunny natured as I am, I want to be believe
ordinary things, the lovely ordinary things that make the
fabric of life
so real, and are, in each and every one of them, an act of