Streams

After Bin Laden Death, New Yorkers Go to Work as Usual

Monday, May 02, 2011 - 10:23 AM

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  On September 12th, 2001, New Yorkers tried to go to work.   Since so many subway lines were disrupted, that often meant taking routes WAY out of the way, and miles and miles of walking.    But, accustomed to getting around obstacles, New Yorkers shrugged and tried anyway. What else could we do?

When, a few days later, the city began offering a ferry service from Brooklyn to replace the lost subways, those ferries were packed.  I rode the first one over into Manhattan, tilting my head from side to side, trying to comprehend the Lower Manhattan skyline without the twin towers.

Later that fall, when the U.S. declared war on the Taliban, Mayor Rudy Giuliani encouraged everyone to go out, go to work, "go see "Proof" -- referring to a popular Broadway show.    The streets were packed that day, a gorgeous October Sunday,  even though New York City was more or less on red alert.

After the London Underground was bombed in July 2005, I was posted at Grand Central station.   Commuters were taken aback that I would even ask if they'd thought twice about going to work.   "What else would I do, stop my life?" was the general sentiment.   (And "No" was the answer.)

Today was no different.  Osama bin Laden was shot and killed, the government is on high alert for retaliation, and we are going to work.

WNYC's Jim O'Grady has been at Grand Central Station.  He writes:

"Checked every train, bus and light rail line on NJ Transit website and found no current delays. Boards at Grand Central still reporting good service, as is the MTA website, but for a train delayed on the Ronkonkoma line due to medical emergency.

"In a sign of normalcy, a man billing himself as Galdort Gumbo is playing a Yamaha piano in the lower concourse and singing emo versions of Billy Joel, James Taylor and "Easy" by Lionel Ritchie. America endures."

WNYC's Ailsa Chang was reporting from Times Square.  She noted any obvious increased police presence as "very minimal.  Times Square looked only slightly more policed today, but I think I only noticed because I was trying to look for police cars."

One WNYC staffer's husband said the car commute through the Lincoln Tunnel was faster than usual, but so far, most other reports are that this was a normal morning commute, and MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin says the Authority didn't note any drop in ridership.

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