Letter to the editor

Volume 16 • Issue 17 | September 23 – 29, 2003


Remember the survivors

To The Editor:

Last night was the first time I read Downtown Express.  I was waiting for the ferry to N.J. and saw a copy for the first time and read a great article you had called “Seen and heard on 9/11/03” (Reporters’ Notebooks, Sept. 16 –22, 2003).

You covered the parents who lost a child, you covered the children who lost a parent, the workers who worked their butts off at ground zero, “Point Thank You,” the people who lived down there, the mayor, both new and old — but there was one group you missed — and I beg you don’t forget them.  Please don’t forget the people who made it out.  The people who everyday live with survivors’ guilt, the people who 730 days later still wake up in a cold sweat with a plane flying into their new offices – in their dreams, I guess this is why we call them nightmares.  I never had a real nightmare before 9/11. 

I don’t want to trivialize the heroism of those in the building, I’d still rather be in my position than several of my friends who never made it down from the 103rd floor or the 98th floor.  I certainly don’t want to trivialize the heroic efforts of those I watched walking up, while I was walking down – but we need to remember those who made it out – those who everyday are trying to deal with being called a “survivor.” 

I will never forget those friends I lost that day, I will never forget the conversations – short as they may have been, that I had with the rescue workers on their way up and I will never forget those who I went down the stairs with.  We shouldn’t forget those who came down those stairs and the pain that we have every time we think about the losses. 

John M. Kneeley

C.E.O., Martin Progressive, L.L.C., 40 Exchange Place – 4th Floor

Pedestrian safety

To The Editor:

Early morning on Sept. 5, a 75-year-old man was critically injured by a motor vehiclist at the Frankfort and Gold St. crossing, which is also a N.Y.P.D. checkpoint (Downtown Local, “Pedestrian injured,” Sept. 9 –15, 2003).

Traffic lights on that street are timed so a pedestrian has less than 15 seconds to race between vehicles that are usually in gridlock, thanks to the N.Y.P.D. closing of Park Row.

For the elderly and the infirmed, there is not enough time to cross the street, without going against the light. The Dept. of Transportation’s arrangement for pedestrians has as much to do with reality as the president’s rhetoric concerning any subject.

Unless the traffic lights are adjusted to the tempo of pedestrians, there will be more injuries and deaths because of accidents that are endemic to the present situation.

Just as drunken drivers are held accountable for injuring people, so the bureaucrats at the D.O.T. should be held responsible for injuries and deaths that result from the all too brief time given to pedestrians for crossing city streets.

Shelly Estrin

Danger in Hudson Sq.

To The Editor:

Re “Teen rampage reported” (Police Blotter, Sept. 16 – 22, 2003):

I was one of the people who saw the “Teen rampage” on Sept. 15 and it was far from “unruly kids” as quoted by the desk sergeant at the First Precinct. I heard terrifying screams coming from people who witnessed the attacks or were being attacked at the corner of Spring and Varick Sts. One of the people was being beaten so badly in the middle of the street by at least five teens that I thought he would not survive. I ran into Manhattan Storage to ask the man behind the Plexiglas enclosure to call the police, which he refused to do. Later some of the workers told him to call.

I observed from inside two teens going through a woman’s pocketbook and others trying to climb the Dumpster to take out rocks. They were running back and forth between Spring and Dominick Sts. and the parking attendant was trying to chase them away.

I left about fifteen minutes later and observed one of the victims, a messenger in his twenties, trying to hold himself up against the telephone booth and attempting to pick up the contents of his delivery bag scattered all over Spring St.

On the corner of Hudson and Spring Sts. I saw two police cars come down the street with the traffic and without the sirens on. Some of the teens were now running back and forth on Dominick and Hudson Sts.

911 calls must have come in from motorists at Varick and Spring, which grid-locked at 5:30 p.m. as cars and trucks entered the Holland Tunnel and from other people on the street who had cell phones. I have to assume some of them came to the aide of the victims otherwise there would have been bodies on the ground. The area on the corner has no place to run to for safety and people on the street fled, like myself. I assume therefore when the police appeared there were no victims hanging around to continue to be attacked and therefore no charges were filed.

I believe a review of 911 calls would tell a different story then that it was just “ a group of disorderly adolescents — unruly kids.”

Carole De Saram