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.
Thursday and Friday mornings, September 8th and 9th, we’ll broadcast live from Manhattan in observance of the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Our guests will include survivors, family members of victims, first responders, journalists, and religious leaders.
Three months after the attacks, we broadcast live from New York City for a full week. It was a remarkable time, when the city was just starting to move beyond immediate trauma. I vividly remember how quiet Manhattan seemed, compared to the usual honking. There was also more willingness to make eye contact and warmly engage others than I had typically seen in New York.
In my visits since, I’ve seen the city get back to its usual vibe, but the scars of 9/11 aren’t going anywhere. Especially in lower Manhattan, it’s impossible to put the attacks out of mind.