After Tuesday’s terrorist attack that killed eight on a park pathway, somber New Yorkers pedaled, skated and jogged on with their lives.
Streams of cyclists, runners and dog walkers on Wednesday returned to the tree-lined Hudson River Greenway, the popular path for runners and cyclists that stretches up Manhattan’s West Side.
“I wanted to stand in solidarity with my brothers and sisters who were murdered yesterday,” said Joe Lepore, 58, who rode 14 miles on the path, from his home in Fort Lee, New Jersey, to downtown Manhattan. “In a million years I would have never imagined this. It’s surreal. There are so many people on that path — joggers, bikers, meanderers. I can’t believe what it must have been like.”
Several security guards monitoring downtown pathway traffic at construction sites along the piers adjacent to the path said they noticed much less traffic on Wednesday, during which a large portion of the greenway remained closed to the public. Several sections reopened throughout the day and by Wednesday’s evening rush hour, the path had reopened above Clarkson Street.
There still was a steady flow of New Yorkers using the path to exercise, pay respects to the victims and run errands. Dog walkers paused to look out to the Hudson. Others threw bread to the gulls. And kids ran through a flock of geese on one of the park’s grassy patches.
Still, a sense of shock persisted among TriBeCa residents and others who use the path in lower Manhattan.
“People from around the world have contacted me on my snapchat, asking ‘Vicki, are you okay’? You show us that bike path everyday, to show us the sunsets, people playing volleyball,” said Vicki Winters, a 60-year-old food and travel video blogger who lives in TriBeCa.
While some New Yorkers expressed fear and concern, others turned up to show their appreciation to the NYPD officers on duty.
“I thought out of respect, I would [bring] some doughnuts to the cops,” said Marisa McGrody, 37, a West Village photographer who used to live in TriBeCa. “I want to be there for the cops because they’re incredible and it’s amazing how the city came together in a few minutes.”
Antonio Rivaldi, an Italian visual artist living in Bushwick, Brooklyn, biked the path to pick up camera film at a midtown photography store. He said the path was the fastest and, he maintained, the safest way to ride up and down the island.
In Milan, Rivaldi said, the city has taken greater measures to place heavy, concrete barriers around city centers to protect against vehicular attacks. Advocates in New York are calling for the same and the de Blasio administration has said it is working with the NYPD and state and federal officials to install them at the Hudson River Greenway and elsewhere.
“I can see the city doing that more here … It’s scary. That could have been me down there,” Rivaldi said. “But you can’t let these things change your life. Anything could happen. If something happened in the supermarket, would you stop going to the supermarket?”
Misha Thomas, 48, rode Greenway from his Harlem home to downtown as a form of catharsis. “I wanted to do something positive and simple. And that’s getting on my bike and riding the trail that I love in this city that I love, thinking of the people who died the whole time.”