Volume 20 Issue 16 | Aug. 31 - Sept. 6, 2007

Talking Point

Fear and outrage Downtown, once again

By Wickham Boyle

Why after so many years am I still afraid living Downtown, why are so many more terrified? I know that I am given to being plucky and am willing to push a lot of fear and horror out of my consciousness and go on with life. And I want to stay Downtown, I want my children to come home to us in the funky loft we’ve called home for 30 years. But I don’t want to think I am being foolhardy by staying down here where it seems that over and over, we (residents and workers) are lied to and misled by what are called public officials, and elected leaders.

The battle over what will replace the Twin Towers continues, the battle of whether to take down the toxic Deutsche Bank building that has claimed more lives continues, the battle over the quality of the air continues. The health of all of us who stayed Downtown and worked and attempted to live simple lives seems to be a battleground as everyone fights who was right and still who lied. It often seems the battle is what is paramount, not finding solutions.

I never thought I would write this again. I never thought that the stinging horror of what I saw, felt and smelled would diminish. I never thought I would have anything but nightmares about what happened Downtown at the World Trade Center or that any of that time would fade for me. I never thought I would heal; and yet still be able to remember. And yet I did and again the situation Downtown rips scabs off wounds and so few seem to want to really make changes.

Almost six years since the towers fell and still they infect and haunt many of us. This Deutsche Bank building had been irreparably damaged on Sept. 11, 2001 from careening debris from the collapse of the W.T.C. Since then it has been nothing but a grim reminder. The once 41-story building has been whittled down to 26 floors and recently erupted into a murderous inferno.

As the seven-alarm fire raged through the buildings we all held our breaths again. My son, now 18, was working on the tip of the island at his job with N.Y. Waterway. He is no longer a pre-teen and I know he can handle himself, but still when my husband came back into our loft huffing and puffing from a weekend tennis game cut short, saying,

“ What is going on now Downtown? They have closed off the highway, there is smoke and sirens and have you spoken to Henry? Turn on the news.” Again,where were my children, should we be leaving, what else can happen down here?

Yes Henry was fine, we were fine, but it all caused me to fret, not for my immediate family, but to aggressively question WHY WAS THIS SITUATION NOT CURED? Look at how our government abandons us. The building has been a health hazard as asbestos and junk drop to the street below and the oversight has been nil. It is a constant reminder that even six years later we cannot get control of a terrible situation.

This situation was not a surprise. Not to those of us who live here who have been bemoaning the snail’s pace, the infighting and the lack of initiative that keeps the Deutsche Bank a ghostly, dangerous reminder of the terror of 9/11. It is shocking that residents and workers need clean air, water available to drink and put out potential fires and health coverage to help us assuage the wounds we still nurse.
I want to stay positive, to stay Downtown, but I feel again and again we get hit with reasons to leave and that is a tragedy.

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