Monday, May 9, 2011

OBL in Panama!

Ground Zero

I'm back in New York, and well, naturally, I had to go down to ground zero to see the President, or rather, not see him but the hoopla around him. So on Thursday morning, I walked out of my loft and joined the crowd flowing down Broadway, past Chambers and over to Church—the area of so much gigantic construction—where I bumped into a media circus of unusual proportion. 

Caged media

ABC Channel 7

Church and Vesey St.

Hard Hat first responder

Along with the cameras, there were lots of well-wishers, observers, believers.
Headline "Bitter Sweet"

Bedford-Styvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corp.

One woman was declaiming loudly, "Lies, Lies, All Lies," as she stormed around waving papers clutched in her hand for anyone to see. I stopped and asked her, What lies? and she said she knew for a fact that Osama Bin Laden was in Panama. She had received the information in her email, and provided proof by showing me pages and pages of un-readable computer code. I left her on the corner, still screaming, but later, I saw her being recorded by a sympathetic student.
But many people were there hoping to get a glimpse of the President— young and old, New Yorkers and Europeans, laborers and secretaries, and many friendly NYPD. 

At St. Paul's Chapel, at Broadway and Trinity, the place of refuge for so many firefighters and volunteers after the Trade Towers fell, a guard was standing on the portico of the church welcoming scores of school children through the door to look at the exhibits compiled inside. 

On the portico

Here is where the real heart of post-9/11 goodwill was found—people gathering inside the church walls to give support and aid during the days following the unbearable tragedy that had befallen the city. Dorrell, the guard, had been there that day, and following days: "Every time you heard a siren, that meant they found another body," he said. He welcomed the President, but when asked about OBL you could tell he was struggling. "Lot of doubt, lot of doubt," is all he'd say.

St. Paul Chapel, in front of the rising towers

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