In New York, a different kind of quiet

HARLEM — It’s not the same quiet that comes from a summer holiday, when so many people flee from this place, leaving everything to be just a bit more hushed.

No, everybody’s still here. They’re still squeezing onto the subway, still blowing their horns at red lights, still asking if you’ll pay five bucks for one of the pirated DVDs in this plastic grocery bag. It’s just that they’re doing it more quietly.

You sense it in the firemen, an entire house of them roaming the block in their dress uniforms, looking for a place to eat together. Today, they’re no different from a family in its Sunday best after a morning at church.

You see them all the time, of course, bounding into the corner coffee shop, gear rattling, smelling like fresh smoke. They’re chattering as they stand in line while waiting for their drinks to be made, forgetting, maybe ignorning, the fact that they’re in public. You don’t get the inside jokes but you hear the words all the same. It gets loud.

Something else I’ve seen more than once: when it’s time to pay they’re told to save their money for next time.

It’s different today. Even with neck ties and blazers on, so many of them look like they couldn’t have been past grade school 13 years ago. As they walk the block, sticking their heads into doorways, hoping for places that will open for lunch, there is no chatter.

The city never forgets.

— 30 —

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1 Comment

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One response to “In New York, a different kind of quiet

  1. Justin Kasey

    Nope I disagree not really, and I’m in the grittier parts of New York all day but unlike police or ems etc I am valid in the hood, no one in the real New York City truly gives more than a brief pause about September eleventh. The pause isn’t nearly about grief or an extended ” moment of silence ” in respect of the events of 911, as much as the pause defines the reality for most New Yorkers who lived through 911 that ” wow its been that long since 911 happened ?” But then it’s business as usual in the city that never sleeps and 911 isn’t the theme as much as it is an unwanted media hyped and government sponsored holiday. While everyone gives a potential copycat terrorist, or possible freedom fighter according to Che Guevara, reason to aspire to repeat such according ” historic” act, we as tru New Yorkers live in the now and have healed and moved on. New York New York big city of dreams.

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