A report this morning from my wife, Olivia:
It is very eerie.
The world really has changed.
For almost all of my professional life, I have worked within a few blocks of Foley Square, in downtown Manhattan. Sixteen years. Today, just after 9:00 a.m., I came out of the subway and heard the sound of bagpipes playing Amazing Grace. Because of the way the wind was blowing around the square on this pleasant late summer morning, it took a moment to locate the source of the sound. But then I saw that a group of pipers was standing near the Court of International Trade. Rehearsing, I suppose.
In the time I have been in this neighborhood, there has been a great deal of construction. A new federal courthouse on Pearl Street. Another new federal building on Broadway. Foley Square itself has been repaved and a new fountain (waterless, in the face of low rainfall) dominates the landscape. The Tweed Courthouse is renovated and gleaming. Ten years after a fire on Worth Street, a new building is finally taking shape.
But nothing has so changed the neighborhood as the respose to terrorism. Traffic barricades on Duane Street at Broadway. Locked gates around City Hall Park. Metal detectors in the lobby of 80 Centre Street and court officers in bullet-proof vests standing outside. Paralegal prosecutorial personnel required to pass through the metal detectors in the courthouses.
And bagpipes in Foley Square.