It’s good to be home, but I’m very glad we broadcast AirTalk from Manhattan last Thursday and Friday.
Aside from all the police on the streets after the unconfirmed terrorist threat, I didn’t detect a civic mood change in advance of Sunday’s anniversary. As you’d expect, when we broadcast from New York in December 2001, the city’s emotional trauma was obvious.
What was most touching about that visit ten years ago was seeing how much more thoughtful people were to each other in public. There seemed a greater level of casual human connection on the street, which was a great feeling coming out of the savagery of the attacks. That goodwill faded, and didn’t seem revived for the decadal anniversary. It’s probably unrealistic to expect that to continue in a city as congested as New York, but it was nice while it lasted.
Several friends and co-workers have asked whether I had any time for fun during the visit. I spent Wednesday and Thursday nights studying for the following day’s shows, so wasn’t out for anything beyond a quick meal. However, Friday night I went with Senior Producer Linda Othenin-Girard to the Blue Note jazz club to hear violinist Regina Carter. She performed material off her latest CD, which features the work of African composers. She and her band put on a good show.
I flew back midday Saturday. The police presence in Manhattan Saturday morning was extraordinary. It was much like late 2011, though nowhere near as loud. Ten years ago, helicopters constantly buzzed overhead and police vehicles routinely rolled down the streets with sirens blaring. It was surreal.
We’ve made it through this highly symbolic anniversary focusing on the individuals lost and families wounded. I found it very meaningful, and I certainly hope it was helpful to survivors and responders.
We’ll soon turn our attention to re-debating the many responses to terrorism that our country has undertaken. Hopefully, that too will help us work through our grief.