Some people think there’s too much emphasis on the anniversary of the September 11 attack. I understand entirely. I’m not at all certain how much if any TV I’ll be able to stomach on the day itself, though I’m quite impressed with the quality of what I’ve seen thus far. 9/11 is a local story to me, very nearly a neighborhood story. So while I probably won’t immerse myself in coverage, I do care about what goes on.
The inverse-square law of news — that interest in an event decreases by the square of the distance between the event and the reader/viewer — declares that you’ll care less about what goes on this Wednesday than I do. Fair enough. Here’s a pretty complete list of goings-on around town, and here’s a very complete list. Hey — it’s a big city with lots of people and lots of different ways of coping.
But if you’ve read this far, let’s pretend that you’ll care about a couple of observations.
Starting at about 1 am Wednesday, five bagpipe corps will march from the furthest corner of each borough to Ground Zero. Here are the routes, and here’s a map of them. To give you a sense of scale, it’s about 15 miles from the remotest corners of Queens and the Bronx to Ground Zero, which is a long morning’s walk, especially if you’re blowing on a bagpipe. The Brooklyn procession will pass about four blocks from OTE Headquarters. I may hear it, but given the hour — 7 am maybe — I certainly won’t see it. And I suspect that a solemn bagpipe procession marching through Times Square at dawn will be more than a little moving.
A local orthodox synagogue is holding its regular morning service on the Brooklyn Promenade at 7:45 am, with the expectation of ending at 8:46, when the first plane hit. They’ll start the service by blowing a shofar — a traditional means of sounding an alarm. But I wonder if anyone at B’nai Abraham has remembered that when Joshua’s army conquered Jericho, the Bible says it brought the walls of the city down solely by marching around the city and blowing on shofars. Given the nature of last year’s attack, I wonder if something more a propos couldn’t be found. Not that they’ve asked me, of course. As my wife, the lovely and curious Olivia, frequently says, one problem with the world is that it doesn’t ask our opinion nearly enough.
September 11 is only part of the agita in New York City this week. The U.N. General Assembly gets to work this week, which requires significant parts of the East 40s to be shut down unexpectedly. Don’t even try to hang out around the Waldorf Astoria. Happens every year; the East Side population of very mean looking beefy guys wearing lapel pins and talking into their jacket sleeves jumps in September. The confluence of September 11 and the General Assembly session should make for some interesting diplomacy that we’ll never hear about.
Until September 11, by the way, there was an exit off the southbound FDR Drive for “49th Street UN Garage.” After the 11th, the second part of the exit sign was blocked off; if you want to park in the UN Garage (which under any circumstance was restricted), someone supposedly will tell you what exit to take.
Will I myself be out on the Promenade again this year? Dunno. I’ll certainly be out there at some point on Wednesday, if only because I usually am. I’ll let you know what I see.