Friday, August 24, 2012

It's Not That Big A City If You Live Here

At 9:07 this morning a man started shooting people on 33rd Street near 5th Avenue. They’re still sorting through who that man was (he was killed by police) and why he started shooting.


That’s not what’s going through my mind.

As soon as I saw the breaking news report I called my Daughter-In-Law; she has family who work on 35th Street and 5th Avenue. Then I called my brother to find out if my nieces were in midtown.


Between those two calls a neighbor called me to tell me her daughter was OK. She knew I’d be worried. Her daughter was in the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001 and still has serious anxiety and depression issues as an aftermath of that day. She now works in the Empire State Building – on a low floor she tells people – and we were all concerned that this would be too much for her to handle. Thankfully her co-workers are also survivors of 9/11 and they all helped each other stay calm.

While we spoke on the phone and compared notes of TV coverage of the event, my brother and I started to reminisce about all the times we’d been on that street. I walked down that street almost every day when I worked on 33rd Street and Lexington Avenue (about 4 blocks from the shooting scene); we used to meet at the Houlihan’s in the base of the Empire State Building; my niece worked one summer at the Duane Reade drugstore on 33rd Street. We each know people who work in the Empire State Building now or in any one of the hundreds of stores and offices and restaurants within those few streets.

If you don’t live in New York City you probably see it as the huge mecca for business and tourism that obviously it is.

If you don’t live in New York City it must be difficult to comprehend that streets full of thousands of people milling about are also neighborhoods.

While we navigate the crowds on the way to and from home we pass many strangers.

Yet we also pass the doorman we see every morning; the guy we get our paper and coffee from; the Mom who takes her baby to the park at the same time each morning; the elderly woman who goes to Food Emporium as soon as it opens; the pretty young girl who works in the sportswear shop; the janitor who pulls in the trash cans from overnight pick-up; the woman who walks her dogs before leaving for the office …

These are our neighbors and our friends. New York City is our home in exactly the same way that any smaller city or tiny town is home.

That’s what I was thinking as I watched what seemed like a movie unfold in my home town.

There are already hundreds of photos online of the shooting scene.

I’ll share with you some scenes of the NY I know.









    Be careful out there; wherever you are.

18 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Shootings like this have been happening almost on a daily basis here in Seattle over the past year and far more than in any other year. The frequency of these are a sad statement about the times we live in. It is frightening and depressing and I have to admit that I worry every day about my four children who are scattered all over the country. Take care, stay safe.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

What you say about NYC is Sooo True! And it always was. It's odd, but I never think of New York as a Huge Huge City---even though it is---exactly for the reasons you stated...! There are Neighborhoods and it never failed that I would run into someone I know or even two or three people, on any given day...!
It was shocking to hear about this shooting---I was reminded of the time when a small plane crashed into the Empire State Building---My Brother-In-Law worked there at the time....
The pictures of the New York you know, are wonderful! And everything you said about it is Wonderful, too! Thanks for your loving perspective of this great great city!

Mike said...

I saw on the news that bystanders were wounded by police bullets as the police shot the shooter.

Loredana Donovan said...

I work in NYC, but live in the suburbs. Luckily, I was off today, so I was not witness to this, so sad. But you're right that NYC is full of nice neighborhoods. I love working in the city and all the beautiful architecture and history here. Glad your family is safe :)

DJan said...

You are not safe anywhere in this country any more, since there are guns lurking absolutely everywhere. Here in Washington state we are reading about this locally almost daily, and nationally, now, almost as often. I am afraid for my country. :-(

Ron said...

"Be careful out there; wherever you are."

You're absolutely correct in saying that, Dianne! Stuff like this is happening everywhere. While I was home visiting my family in Florida back in July, my mother was telling me of all the violence and crime going on there these past five years.

Love the photos you shared of my FAVORITE city on the east coast. Especially the one of the sidewalk (New Yorkers/Tourists). That's BRILLIANT!

Crime or no crime, it's the greatest city ever!

I LOOOOOOOOOOVE New York!!!!!

X ya, dear lady! Have a great weekend!

tiff said...

Sucks when things like that invade your neighborhood. NYC is the most wonderful place, and not yet immune to...people.

Au and Target said...

I'm so glad I don't live in a country where guns are legal. Creepy thought that so many morons have legal guns. I hope you and your family, friends and neighbours stay safe. Terrorists is another thing. I grew up with Moluccan terrorists in Holland, the IRA in the UK and then ETA in Spain. Been herded out of so many buildings thanks to bomb scares and past so many blown up cars and schools and restaurants that it's left me with a permanent hatred for cowardly bombing scum. Now if someone were silly enough to give me a gun, I KNOW who I'd shoot!

Linda Reeder said...

While it was the shooting that inspired your post, the message is much brighter, wonderful in fact! Your description of NYC as a city full of real, vibrant people and neighborhoods is beautiful. I makes me realize that it is much more neighborly that the suburb where I live. I love how everybody was checking on each other's well being.

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Crime is everywhere these days, big cities and small ones. How sad. Glad your family is safe. Great post and great photos Diane, looks like a great place!
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Ivanhoe said...

Very well said, as always :) You know that this big city owns a big piece of my heart. And no act of terrorism, foreign or domestic, can keep me away. Can not wait to come back! Stay safe!
Hugs from Ohio,
I.

Rambling Woods said...

well said...sigh

HermanTurnip said...

Great post! Awesome job reminding people that these are neighborhoods just like any other, with real people leading real lives. It's not a movie set of some mythical place. And when some nut job starts waving a gun around, it's in front of not only businesses but homes as well.

Daryl said...

well said and so true ... we're neighborhoods .. and those connections we have even those that are just ones we pass each day are strong and when something happens we dont get all hand-wringy we pick up the phone and check in on one another ..

Akelamalu said...

When a tragedt occurs in your neighbourhood it really brings it home doesn't it? I'm glad you and yours are safe. x

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

First, I am glad everyone you know was safe and I am sad that these things keep happening (everywhere in the country). I am happy you shared the good part of the City (my daughter and sil are traveling there soon and are excited).....

Being small towners, we always wondered what it would be like to live in a true big city and when we stayed in London (with that goal in mind as well as seeing the sights) we learned quickly that everybody actually lives in a neighborhood and they are pretty much like the small towns we were familiar with!

Hilary said...

That's so true of every large city. And folks come together in amazing ways when tragedy strikes. I'm glad all of your people are okay.

nitebyrd said...

I walked that area many times in days gone by. If that shooter had decided to continue, the deaths could have been horrendous.

Those who don't know NY can't imagine that it can be homey or that there is a closeness with strangers.