Friday, July 15, 2005

The News From New York

I am printing another piece of writing from 2001 today and next time. I found this while going through my internet archives yesterday. This was written from New York within a few days of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center. It was written as a letter to a friend in Georgia who i think was trying to help me deal with that most amazing moment. It was written at what I think was called Easy Everything, which is a giant internet house near Times Square. I am presenting The News from New York in its original form, and this includes the original note to my friends. I think this will explain the formatting the spelling mistakes and the lack of capital letters. All I can say about this is that this was my style of internet letter writing at the time. I know it is lazy but this is what I did. I had originally tried to use some of this in an early draft of the book Being Had but eventually through it away when my circumstances that led up to my coming to Belarus got edited out. And as long ad I have said what i just said, yes, September 11th did have a lot to do with my being here. This was also written only a few months after the vegi article I put up last time.

I hope that you, my readers are getting something from these older writings. but as far as reprinting earlier writings goes, I am not not writng, I am actually writing a lot these days but a lot of what I am writing is simply not something I want to make public at this time. There is the old joke about how not to lose your job because of blogging, Right? Well, in my case, as I am trying to secure a document from Belarus, and a better life as far as that goes not writing about everything that is happening these days is absolutly the discretionary part of valor.

But aside from this, I really hope that this and the other tings I have been posting lately are at least interesting to read. Most everything I have printed over the last two weeks are so were very personal and important work for me. And in the case of this peace, I think the historicl context should make it worth the read. Anyway, the point is that I am still here and I am still trying.

So this said, here is part one of “The New From New York” written on Saturday, September 15th, 2001 in New York city.

Print - Close Window

Date: Sat, 15 Sep 2001 18:48:50 -0700 (PDT)
From: adam goodman
Subject: the news from new york
To: the leonhards

hey, it took me a while to get this out. i am sorry that i didn't have time to catch you up over
the last few days. i hope this is what you had in mind. i am glad you asked me to do this. i have
been pecking for about eleven hours. the first draft, about four hours work, was wipred out by a
computer glich. i think i can stand behind what i say here.


sorry i didn't get a chance to write much yesterday. events of the past week have made things
rather hectic here in new york.
i am going to try and sort things out here as best as i can.
something tells me that the stuff that is now gone with the wind might have been better stuff then
what i am going to try and send this time. but i w! ill do the best i can.

to start with, i am as you know, a courier here in new york. and being a new york courier is a
pretty compelling thing and i take pride in what i do. the work is hard and the hours are long.
and the ware and tare on your body and mind can be great. i guess they say the the actual career
of a rider is, on the average, one year. i am passed that mark. but it is a struggle each day to
do the job. i have no regrets at all that i have done this job here. i was at work on tuesday at
8:00am as usual. i got a call to pick up five packages from 1501 broadway, at times square and to
make drops from the mid forties on the east side up to 89th street. i was making my first drop
when the elevator operator told me a plane had hit the twin towers. i went into the lunch room of
that company and watched on TV as the second plane crashed into the second tower. my first
reaction was to call it terrorism and my guess was that it was islamic! s. the lunch room was
stunned. the lady next to me was in tears. i guess i could have stayed there, or gone to my
companies offices...but i only stayed in the lunchroom a few minutes before i felt compelled to
get back on my bike. i mean, in my mind i had to. there is a gravity to my job. like i said it is
compelling, both physically and financially. i mean, that when you are doing the job, which is so
fast and dangerous and tiring, and you have to be so in tune with what you are doing that you lose
yourself in the doing of the job. i really had to go back and finish my job you see. maybe i was
in shock, or denial, i don't know, but i had to get back and finish my deliveries. as i moved
through the streets, the world was grinding to a halt as news of the attack was spreading around
town. some people were saying that they were attacking boston and chicogo as well. it was like war
of the worlds out there. i made my last drop at 89th street at the of! fices of canal+, the french
media giant, and rode down 5th avenue back towards the city. ahead in the distance, i could see
the towers burning.

i called in empty to my office and asked what was going on. i was told that we were going to shut
down for the day. it was at this moment that what was going on finally got to me because i
suddenly found myself with nothing to do. to be frank, i am now, looking back, a bit ashamed that
i couldn't really think of what to do at the time. i guess i feared that they might drop a big one
or two on us, and i calculated the distance from the empire state building and wondered if i was
far enough away. coming down 5th avenue, i met another courier from my company and we talked as we
rode about that all we could think about was delivering the packages. i guess we found it funny
how wrapped up in it all we were. it's a crazy job. we stopped at the CBS news building on 59th
street and watched on the monitors t! he events transpire. we could see the buildings burn and
eventually fall by looking down 5th avenue. my buddy broke out and went down to the office. i
stayed and watched the news for a while. it was all so crazy. we knew then that it was terrorism,
and we heard that they had crashed a plane into the pentagon. we were still hearing rumors about
the white house being hit. it was crazy. i felt really helpless. we all did. we didn't even know
how or when or where or from who we were getting attacked. i moved around a bit by bike checking
out the scene. i rode down town and met some friends who were also bikers. one of them said he had
made his first drop of the day to wtc1 and had just gotten out when he heard the explosion from
the first plane. he said he watched the second plane hit from church street about fifteen blocks
away. i rode downtown to try and get a closer look, but was turned away by police at about canal
street. i went to my office for ! a minute or two, and then went back to CBS and watched the news
some more, hearing bout the crash near camp david. at about this time i started getting some calls
from friends and family wondering if i was alive.

by mid afternoon, when it became apparent that the attack was concluded, and that we were faced
with so much...information, to be frank, i didn't know what to do. they were not letting us
downtown. i guess i was just sort of stunned.i started to make my way to where i am staying,
uptown at the far north end of the island. as i rode through central park, people were sun
bathing, walking and cycling. it was a warm late summer day and people were taking it easy, as if
it were nothing more then a little extra vacation time. there were thousands of people walking
towards the 59th street bridge and uptown. they made their way on foot, due to the stoppage of
public transportation. but everyone seemed to be sort of laughing at the situation, ! showing good
humor at a trying inconvenience. it was mighty odd. i rode for a bit with a biker who wore his
racing gear. i guess he was getting in some laps. "pretty eventful day, don't you think?" i said
to him. "yea," he smiled back, "lots of things going on." when i got up the hill, my neighborhood
was for the most part closed up. i didn't sleep very well that night, watching the news reports
reports on the TV. my friend amy called and we talked late that night. finnaly i slept, but when
the alarm went off at 6:00 the next morning, i got up and got on my bike determined to do whatever
i could to help.

because mayor gulianni had said the night before on TV that people who didn't have to be in new
york should stay home, wednesday took on the feeling of a sleepy summer sunday. he suggested we
should go shopping, take it easy, do what we would do as if we were having an extra day off. he
said we should do this to show that we were not afraid! . i guess most of our riders didn't show up,
but i felt that i do is a nessasary job. regardless of my personal politics (you know where i
stand), i guess i feel a pert of this city. i move things from one place to another. i perform a
service. and even if we are all in competition with each other, there is a synergy, a
connectedness of each company to next that is at the root of this big machine that we have
created. my part as a courier of packages is obviously vital or we wouldn't be in business in the
first place. i also had some ideas of ways to help in mind so down riverside drive i went. there
is a pier jutting out onto the hudson at about 65th street and i stopped there to catch a glimpse
of downtown but there was nothing but a plume of smoke where the twin towers used to stand.

i called in and said that i was ready and at work. john my dispatcher said that we would be open
but not to expect too much. i suggested that we should call ! the television networks and tell them
that we were ready and willing to assist them in the transportation of tapes between their
studios. that argument was not well received because my company felt that we would come off as
greedy. john asked me if we should charge them for our services. i said that all the firemen and
police were on the clock and that we were a vital part of the fabric of new york and that what we
do is a skill and a trade and if we could help at a time of tragedy, then we should do whatever we
could to help. and, because we are a capitalist society, there was no reason that we were not
entitled to renumeration, just like all of the professionals down at wall street. i also added
that i would do it for free if that is what it came down to and that our preasance and the
assurance of our preasance was the most important thing. after all, business it self is not only
the essence of new york, but its arguably the only real reason for! its very exsistance. and
finally, that we are a pure business culture is at the root of why we are having our airplanes
crashing into our buildings. he didn't buy the argument. so we waited. some of the guys wanted to
go and play football. i didn't play. i answered e-mails at times square from friends who had
contacted me after hearing the news. we got a few calls. ten the whole day. i delivered four of

the mood in the city on wednesday was the sort of delicate calm one would normally attribute to
Tibetan monks. we were so gentle with each other on wednessday. conversations were about our
proximity to people caught in the towers and loved ones and friends who might be close. we talked
gently of the horrors of the calamity and of the resolve of the rescue workers. the pictures were
everywhere: the jet slamming into the building, the people jumping from the towers...the lines to
give blood stretched blocks. new yorkers are a gruff bre! ed. we are not known for our patience. but
wednesday was a gentle day. we were so cautious of each other one got the feeling you were amongst
angels. the last call of the day came at about 2:30. it was a run from 419 park avenue south to
the ferry offices in weehawken new jersey. because the path trains were not running, the job
required taking the ferry across the hudson. as predicted, the winds shifted north mid afternoon,
and the air new york became filled with the smoke and dust blown from wall street. people were
waring surgical masks and scarves around their faces trying to filter out the thick smoke. i joked
that the air was probably cleaner then the stuff we normally breath.

i rode across town and picked up my bag and rushed west to the 42nd street ferry terminal.
crossing the hudson i got my first view of the new landscape, it was eerie. about a week ago,
during a weekend bike ride, i took a cruise on the statton island ferry. the fer! ry ride always
makes me think of the emigrants first arriving in the harbor of the new world: the lamp held aloft
by the green statue of liberty, ellis island, the low hills and bridges of brooklyn. and the view
of the downtown skyline from the ferry. from the ferry, the world trade center towers dominated
the skyline. they were an awesome thing to sea. they were like two great black and gray steel
bricks, hammered into the earth by some otherworldly hand. they were huge and imposing structures,
not a part of the comunities they sprung from, but lording omnipotently over them. the world
trade center were not just office towers, they were symbols, icons. they were the truth of what we
were: the pure power and might of the western capitalists. they were a symbol of the great
machine. and just as they were bigger and greater then the building they overshadowed, so was the
machine bigger then the individual. looking at the towers, you were told that t! he wheels of this
machine would roll on and you had better understand who and what they are. the towers were an ode
to pure capitalism right there at the entrance to the united states, the first thing you see, and
an important lesson to learn. and that was what it was really about. it was about pontificating.
it was the word of god. they didn't have the lines of the empire state or Chrysler buildings, or
the color or mood of their sister buildings at south ferry. there was no warmth at all. just two
exclamation points as to what was, and what was going to be happening. but on this short ferry
ride to new jersey, i saw how our landscape had changed. there was just simply nothing there but
the smoldering embers of a campfire. the empire state and the great structures of midtown slowly
gave way to the old brownstones of the village and tribecca and them quietly came to rest at sea
level. no godlike centurians anymore, just a quiet port and a five mil! e hike to where it was

I will print part two in a day or so...

Contact me at:
To navigate to the HOMEPAGE, please click HERE.

More soon…