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News and events in Lower Manhattan

Volume 6, No. 76, Sept. 11, 2023


Letter From the Editor: That Day

September 11, 2023

Our Man in Washington

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MASTHEAD PHOTO: A display of stuffed animals in St. Paul's Chapel. After the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, the chapel was lined with cots so the rescue workers could sleep. In an effort to comfort them, they were given stuffed animals to hold. September 12, 2007 (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


"Were you there that day?" they want to know — the people who saw it on TV and thought it was a film, the people who didn't take seriously the possibility that what was going on in New York City, western Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. on Sept. 11, 2001 was not the end of the matter. I have told my story over and over. They want to know? OK. I'll tell it again.

That morning I was a block away from home having coffee, sitting outside a café and thinking what a beautiful day it was — and it was — exceptionally beautiful. I had gone out early to vote. It was primary Election Day. And then someone came running down the street calling out in a frightened voice, “There’s something happening at the World Trade Center!” So I dashed around the corner to the entrance of the apartment building where I lived. Some of the other residents had gathered outside it.

The street where we lived framed the Twin Towers, which were one mile away. We could clearly see that one of them was on fire. Almost immediately I suspected that we were looking at an act of terrorism and the thought entered my mind that if the tower collapsed (at that point only one of the towers was burning) it could set much of Lower Manhattan on fire. I ran inside the apartment building and knocked on the door of a friend who lived there to tell him what was happening. Then I went to my own apartment, placed wet towels in the cracks of my closed windows and in the crack of my front door and filled every receptacle in my apartment with water — the sinks, the bathtubs and every pot and pan and bowl that I owned. Meanwhile, of course, I had turned on the TV. As I listened to the news, I packed a bag with a change of clothes, food, water, medicine, first aid supplies and my passport (for identification) in case I had to run away. I didn’t run away, as it turned out. I spent that day alone as the news got worse and worse. And that was the beginning — the first day — of months of turmoil and fear.

A 58-ton, 36-foot-tall column was the last to be removed from Ground Zero after the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. It once supported the inner core of the South Tower. Covered with mementos and inscriptions, it is now on the lowest floor of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

"Did you know people who died that day?" they want to know. Yes. I think that many people knew someone who had died, and if they didn't know someone who died that day, they knew someone who died subsequently of illness caused by having spent time working on "the pile" or having breathed the foul air that we were told was safe to breathe or having lived in an apartment that was covered with ash that day and that was never adequately cleaned.

What happened to me — what I described — was unexceptional and was far from the worst of what survivors endured or what they saw.

Some of the damage was psychological. Since I was a mile away, I didn't see people jumping from the towers in order to avoid being burned alive...nevertheless it was many weeks before I stopped sleeping on a couch in the living room with the television on and the remote control in my hand. It was months before I took a subway again and even longer before I could bring myself to look at the empty place in downtown Manhattan where the Twin Towers had been.

But in addition, for me at least, something good came of this tragedy.

When the World Trade Center was destroyed I had been living in New York City for 34 years but was ambivalent about the city. In the days that followed I found out that I loved New York — not just because of the heroic people who literally put their lives on the line to address the disaster but for a very personal reason. I lived near Christopher Street, which was (and is) the commercial street in that part of Greenwich Village. Several days after the attack I dared to leave my apartment. As I was walking down Christopher Street, a shopkeeper came out of her store and hugged me. "I'm so glad that you're all right!" she said. I didn't know that she knew who I was.

That was when I began to love New York.

— Terese Loeb Kreuzer


Downtown Post NYC's website ( is updated daily. That's the place to check for urgent messages, breaking news and reminders of interesting events in and around Lower Manhattan. So be sure to look at the website every day, especially if you want to know about breaking news.

HOW TO SUPPORT DOWNTOWN POST NYC: I made Downtown Post NYC free to subscribers so that no one who was interested in reading it would be excluded because of cost. Downtown Post NYC is largely supported by advertising revenue. In addition, some people have made contributions, which are much appreciated. For more information about how to contribute or advertise, email [email protected].

SEPTEMBER 11, 2023

September 11, 2016. The Tribute in Light as seen from Rector Place in Battery Park City.

(Photos: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

To the degree that ritual can soften sorrow, reading the names of the dead at the 9/11 Memorial and the Tribute in Light function as some solace. But the truth is that nothing can obliterate the loss and the pain of the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001. Here we are again, 22 years later, remembering again where we were that day and what we did that day and in the days, weeks and months that followed.

The twin beams of the Tribute in Light, a public art installation, reach four miles into the sky like a prayer. The Tribute in Light was first presented six months after 9/11 and then has been presented every year thereafter, from dusk to dawn, on the night of September 11. The installation on the roof of the Battery Parking Garage south of the 9/11 Memorial can be seen from a 60-mile radius. The beams are positioned so that they echo the shape and orientation of the Twin Towers.

Downtown Post NYC is now in its 10th year of publication. Some photos from the Downtown Post NYC archives suggest some of what happened in the last 22 years.

September 11, 2007. A woman on her knees in front of the altar in St. Paul's Chapel.

Sept. 12, 2007

For years after the World Trade Center attack, St. Paul's Chapel on Broadway at Fulton Street was lined with tables bearing photographs of some of the dead along with notes and flowers left by their friends and relatives. Tommy Sullivan's sister, Noreen, was in St. Paul's Chapel on Sept. 12, 2007. She left a note next to his picture that said "Happy 40th Birthday." She said that both her brother and her brother-in-law had died in the World Trade Center attack leaving four children (one was born two months after his father's death.) As Noreen sat quietly and despondently in St. Paul's Chapel she held two pinwheels on which she had written the names of the dead and family names. She said that she would let the children attach the pinwheels to the metal fence surrounding the World Trade Center site.

On Sept. 11, 2007, it rained off and on for most of the day. In St. Paul's Chapel churchyard, visitors looked at the Bell of Hope, a gift to New York City from the Lord Mayor of London. It was forged in the same foundry that made the Liberty Bell and was rung at 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 11 to commemorate the moment when the first plane struck the north tower of the World Trade Center.

Dec. 26, 2011

When this photograph was taken 10 years had passed since the World Trade Center attack. Nevertheless St. Paul's Chapel was still ringed with messages of love and condolence from all over the world.

Sept. 11, 2007

Since 2002 the Bell of Hope in St. Paul's Churchyard has been rung every year on September 11 to commemorate the attack on the World Trade Center. Prayers for peace are recited. The bell is inscribed "To the greater glory of God and in recognition of the enduring links between the City of London and the City of New York."

June Townes sang gospel music in the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center on Sept. 11, 2007. On 9/11, the Winter Garden was shattered by the destruction of the nearby World Trade Center.

A girl reached out to touch the "survivor tree" which made it through the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. The tree has become a symbol of resilience and rebirth.

Sept. 11, 2007

On Sept. 11, 2007, a gospel choir from Newark, New Jersey led by Dr. Dexter Allgood sang in the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center. On 9/11, the Winter Garden was almost completely destroyed and was subsequently rebuilt.

Sept. 1, 2015

A callery pear tree became known as the "survivor tree" after living through the World Trade Center attack on 9/11. Although its roots had snapped and its branches were burned and broken, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation was able to revive the tree. In 2010, it was replanted at the 9/11 Memorial site.

A photograph and a plaque on the wall of the New York City Fire Museum at 278 Spring Street in Manhattan.

April 14, 2022

The plaque next to the photograph reads "To Our Fallen Brothers...Until We Meet Again...We Stand in Awe of Your Courage."

D.C. Phil Burns (ret.) F.D.N.Y.

Retired Deputy Chief Phil Burns joined the New York City Fire Department in 1963. When he retired in 2003 he was the chief in charge of 1,500 firefighters and a huge swath of Brooklyn, the department’s 11th division. On September 11, 2001, 45 firefighters in his division who responded to the World Trade Center never came home.

On Sept. 11, 2007, a couple sat in the graveyard of St. Paul's Chapel, near the World Trade Center site as the names of the dead were read.

Sept. 11, 2007

The graveyard of St. Paul's Chapel is adjacent to the World Trade Center site. St. Paul's was built in 1766 and is Manhattan's oldest public building in continuous use. Miraculously, St. Paul's Chapel was undamaged by the World Trade Center attack. It would be possible to believe that the dead had risen from their graves to protect St. Paul's.

Mychal Judge was a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest who served as a chaplain to the New York City Fire Department. After the 9/11 attack, he entered the lobby of the North Tower, where he offered prayers for the rescuers, the injured and the dead. Debris from the collapse of the South Tower killed him. Although others had died before him, his body was the first to be recovered and taken to the medical examiner where he was designated "Victim 0001," the first official victim of the attack. Judge's name was inscribed on Panel S-18 of the National September 11 Memorial's South Pool along with the names of other first responders.

April 14, 2022

In a room at the New York City Fire Museum dedicated to the memory of firefighters who died during the World Trade Center attack on Sept. 11, 2001, Mychal Judge is especially commemorated. He was a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest who served as a chaplain to the New York City Fire Department starting in 1992. After the attack, he entered the lobby of the North Tower, where he offered prayers for the rescuers, the injured and the dead. Debris from the collapse of the South Tower killed him. In September 2021, Judge was nominated for sainthood in the Catholic Church.

Prayers and tokens of love and grief

May 3, 2008

The interior of Engine Company 6, a firehouse on Beekman Street in Lower Manhattan. The men have their gear ready to go in front of the fire truck. To the right is a shrine with the names of firefighters from this firehouse who died on Sept. 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center. An inscription below their photographs reads "In loving memory of the firefighters of Engine Company 6, who made the Supreme Sacrifice while protecting Life and Property at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001." Their names were Thomas P. Holohan, William R. Johnston, Thomas O'Hagan and Paul Beyer.

Sept. 25, 2015

After Pope Francis’ visit to the National September 11 Memorial on Sept. 25, 2015, a woman stood next to one of the names engraved on the edge of the south memorial pool and left a token of her love for a firefighter who had died on 9/11. He was an ex-Marine who had served in the Persian Gulf War. He died at the age of 35 leaving a wife and three young children.

Sept. 11, 2016: Retired Lieutenant Paul Putkowski of the 61st Precinct in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, at the NYPD Police Memorial in Battery Park City, reading the names of the 23 police officers who were killed on 9/11. Retired Detective Louis Camerada held a flashlight for him in the memorial, which had been without electricity since Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. 


Dan Goldman, running to represent New York Congressional District 10 in the U.S. House of Representatives. July 26, 2022

In November 2022, the voters of New York Congressional District 10 elected Dan Goldman to be their representative in the U.S. Congress. Goldman replaced Jerrold Nadler, who had represented this district since 1992. Because of redistricting, Nadler as of the November 2022 election represents District 12.

One of Goldman's first efforts after taking office was to join with Representatives Nadler and Nydia Velázquez to co-sponsor Rep. Ed Case’s (HI-1) introduction of H.R. 1071, the “Safe and Quiet Skies Act.” This bill would direct the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to adopt the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) recommendations to increase safety and reduce community disruption stemming from commercial air tours. The bill stipulated that commercial air tours fly at a 1,500-foot altitude and required that commercial air tours over occupied areas be no louder than 55 decibels. The bill also prohibited tour flights over military installations, national cemeteries, national wilderness areas, national parks and national wildlife refuges. 

Anybody who has lived in Lower Manhattan for awhile probably emitted a sigh on reading about this. It's true that the tour helicopters are a quality-of-life issue and a health and safety menace, but previous efforts to rein them in have gone nowhere. Maybe this time will be different.

More recently, Rep. Goldman has been attempting to help migrants. In his weekly emailed newsletter of July 21, 2023, he wrote "These migrants have come to American shores seeking a better, safer life — often fleeing desperate circumstances, violence, persecution and government instability...I am so proud of the work New York City has done to welcome these new arrivals with open arms, providing food, shelter and medical care. But that exceptional humanitarian response isn't easy, and in many respects our City has been left to manage on its own. That's why I've been working so hard in Congress to secure federal assistance for that response. This is a national obligation and the federal government needs to step up.

Among other measures, Goldman has been calling for expedited work authorizations for new migrants, "so they can get on their feet, contribute to the economy, support their families and work to build a new life here."

One of Rep. Goldman's most recent concerns has to do with the World Trade Center Health Program, which pays the medical expenses of. firefighters, police and iron workers whose health was compromised by the World Trade Center attack. The WTC Health Program is running out of money. On Sept. 11, 2023, the New York Daily News reported that "With great effort, Reps. Andrew Garbarino, Anthony D'Esposito, Jerry Nadler and Dan Goldman are trying to pass the 9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act of 2023. In the Senate, Kirsten Gillibrand the Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are pushing hard."

According to the Daily News, the shortfall is $2.1 billion. "Down the road," says the Daily News, "medical care for these people will have to be rationed. Should that be our legacy in the years ahead as more and more get sicker and more die?"

Dan Goldman, our man in Washington, says an emphatic "No!!!"

The Greek at Greca 

452 Washington St. in Tribeca

After a brief vacation, Greca reopened on September 11 with breakfast and lunch served daily. Dinner is served from Thursday to Sunday.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (917) 261-4795

To see the events and activities on the Battery Park City Authority's fall calendar, click here. Most events are free. For some, reservations are required.

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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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