Ground Zero Becomes An All-Faith Par-Tay

I'm Muslim Don't Panic
Can this guy relax now, please?

The cheering could be heard by the time I got to Broadway: “USA! USA!,” sometimes varied with “FUCK O-SA-MA!” or a few times, in sing-song, “GUESS who’s DE—EAD!” It was probably about one AM, and bunches of mostly young people were coming down Broadway, crossing Park Row, and heading down Vesey Street, over which the Twin Towers had loomed almost ten years ago.

GZ crowd2
A cop car was parked at the mouth of Vesey Street, its lights flashing, but there was little for the cops to do; later, I saw a phalanx of burly guys in bulky blue sweaters with gold shields walk toward the crowd, only to walk out of it five minutes later and head down Fulton, done for the evening.

Everyone had a cell phone out to record the occasion, although there was no central focal point for picture-taking, so that it was impossible to stay out of other peoples’ shots. The Liberty Tower wonderfully renamed (I almost said “rechristened!” D’oh!) One World Trade Center, to the great distress of Wingnuts everywhere, occupying its assigned corner away from the Footprints, is nearing its full height, and attracted picture-takers,
GZ tower and tourist
but mostly the crowd just milled around admiring each other and the night.
There was some acknowledgement of the solemnity of the time and place: college students holding candles:
GZ girl gets interviewed
and one couple who stood silently, the woman holding a posterboard with pictures of a young man in a tux, sporting a boutonniere: Michael Masaroli, her husband, who was in the World Trade Center on September 11th. I said hello to them, but was at a loss for anything more; first because a sharp-suited On Air Presence had rolled up with lights and camera, and second anything else I said would be wholly inadequate. “Lotta emotion,” said the man standing next to Diane Masaroli, and whom I did not press for a name.  On Air Presence began testing his mic and I withdrew.

On Church St, which is the Eastern border of Ground Zero, there was a flag draped on the chain-link fence by the gate which serves as an entrance to the construction site. People peered through the chain-link, and took pictures of the flag, and the bouquets left on the fence, but having been given no notice that overnight a working construction site would become venerable again, the contruction company’s Porta-sans were what greeted the curious.
GZ watchdog, respects, portosans

As time wore on, more and more of the Young arrived, sometimes in costume. I only wish I’d been fast enough to snap Captain America, with proper wings on his blue full-head mask, thank you very much, all 6’5” of him. The crowd was beginning to look very Saint Patrick’s day, minus the plastic green derbies and the vomiting.  When the pickup with the “Born In The USA” boombox arrived,
GZ Boombox and flag onesie
I decided it was time for the Old to go.  I had run into a few others of my kind: a neighbor from my apartment complex, and I encountered three very congenial Englishmen who wanted to know what I thought. I had hardly taken the time to survey myself and my eternally mixed emotions, but I replied that it should have happened back in Tora Bora. The Brits all nodded, and one said conspiratorially, “This is good for Obama, isn’t it?”

What, were there Kool-Aid stains on my ulster? I allowed as how it was good for Obama, and we embraced like the fellow-travelers we were. But that had been an hour ago, and now the word had gone out to every New York night-crawler who was inclined to display and didn’t have to be anywhere Monday morning, and they were descending on the party with roller blades, vuvuzelas, and, as I saw at the 24-hour deli while walking home, bottles of beer.

I was nearly at my building, when, “I swear, nothing is as stupid as straight white people,” said a voice out of the darkness.  I looked for its owner, a young man who said he was a journalism major. He was a downtown resident, had been since the attacks, and was quite offput by the jollity and jingoistic chanting. “They’re all drunk! It’s outrageous!”

I was going to reply that the crowd was neither so drunk nor so white nor so straight as he supposed, but then I realized that the young man himself was somewhat lit. That didn’t take anything away from his main point; he’d wanted to see a little more reflection and a little less mindless team-spirit, particularly in proximity to the gravesite that is Ground Zero. “My father was in the C.I.A.,” said the young man. “He worked on this for so long, it just makes me very emotional about this.”

I didn’t ask him, or anybody, about Park 51, the as-yet-theoretical Islamic community center with mosque, or as wingnuts would have it, the Giant Golden-Domed Thumb In The Eye of Jeebus.  It was two blocks away, and nobody seemed to be thinking about it at all.

Posted by Mrs. Polly on 05/02/11 at 08:55 AM • Permalink

Categories: ImagesNew York CityManhattanNewsPoliticsBarack ObamaRelijun

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Excellent eye-witness account! Thanks, Mrs. P.

I have little to report from the hinterlands. Last night, the Mr. and I were reading rather than watching the tube, so we didn’t get word until this morning.

We heard a few firecrackers and/or celebratory gunfire, and now I figure that’s what prompted it. But our cordite-loving neighbors hardly need an excuse to pop off a few rounds, so we thought nothing of it at the time.

Oh my lord, Betty. I just imagine you and the Mr. peering at each other over your reading glasses.

“Honey, is that gunfire again?”
“Yes, dear, I think so.”
“Thank goodness. If it were thunder, I’d have had to shut the windows.”

A guy convinced his friends to hijack planes and crash them into New York office buildings, killing thousands of people.  He hid out in the wilderness but we hunted him down, shot and killed his miserable ass.  Closure.

Nice report, Mrs. Polly. And a couple of those photos are touching; especially the one with the candles.

Thanks for that, Mrs. P - and yes, I would’ve been one of the Old as well. So many of these people were probably only 10-14 when 9/11 happened. The elimination of their childhood nemesis.

Great reporting Mrs. P.  I’m sure the analysts and time will tell us the significance of this victory.  Some are already saying it’s just symbolic.  But symbols are important and as much as it was a victory for our side, it was an important defeat for the terrorists.  They may be able to re-group but they’ll know they can never hide.

I’ll just drop here too the headline that I linked in the other thread via blackwaterdog:

It’s fucking 3 AM, and THE RIGHT MAN answered the call!!

My sentiments exactly.

Powerful eyewitness account, Mrs. P.  Thank you for getting your boots onna ground and for the pictures.  I, too, am one of the Old.  I don’t mind passing the baton to the Young.

Just spoke with Mom in NY; reaction is: great Osama’s gone, but the worst thing is that now Obama will get re-elected. Can I get a DNA reassignment, please?

Well, maybe I ought to turn in my citizenship for the time being, because I don’t feel much like celebrating.

New Yorkers, as far as I’m concerned, are the only ones who might have a reason to celebrate.

OBL’s death doesn’t alter the fact that we’re still engaged in war on 2 or 3 fronts that are still out of control. It doesn’t alter the fact that our search for various AQ operatives has us militarily entangled with unsavory people around the world.

At the very least, we should be packing up those drones in Pakistan.

Very nice report, Mrs. Polly. While I don’t rejoice in anyone’s death, I suppose that this one was necessary, though I think I would have preferred for Bin Laden to have been arrested and tried for his crimes. Still, I think it says a lot that this happened under Obama’s watch. He’s having a good week.

Good stuff, Mrs. P. Spent all day wishing I could’ve been in the city myself, so thanks.

Though it concerns me somewhat that when I scrolled down to the penultimate picture, my eye immediately went to the dog. I have got to start fraternizing with my own species.

@Paula—Electing a black President didn’t eliminate racism, either, but I took a day or two to feel good about it anyway. I think we’re allowed.

Sorry you’re bummed.

New Yorkers, as far as I’m concerned, are the only ones who might have a reason to celebrate.

Those of us who lived in DC would just like to say fuck you.  I’m sure that people who didn’t live in either NY or DC but had to watch family members being sent to Afghanistan because of OBL would like to join me in that sentiment.

No, killing OBL doesn’t give everybody a pony.  But I did buy ice cream.  Can’t we just be happy about that?

OK, New York and DC.

Congratulations, MikeJ. Because indeed, the whole point of my post is to deny people happiness.

You should probably quit while you’re ahead, Paula. People died in my state, too.

Yeah, and I’m from California, which is where one of those damn jets was heading and would have contained a number of CA residents.

That’s really not my point.

But yeah, I can recognize a GTFOH when I see one. See you all in 2 months.

Wars are bad. Got it. Thanks.

Half of the following quotes come from, the other half come from the far right-wing site Free  See if you can guess which are which.

Anyone see the Jingo pictures with all these youngsters with cell phones parading in front of the White House, getting their fill of high octane Jingo?
“In this fascist climate, I wonder if Oilbummer would have killed the Nuremberg defendants.”

In this fascist climate, Oilbummer would have killed the Jews.
Sounds really proud of himself. “Today, at my direction…”
Wait till the figure out how it was Bush and not Obama that actually authorized the strike.
Timing is everything. Need to push it as close to election time as possible. I guess Bin Forgotten was planning a vacation so they had to git ‘im now.
Burial at sea after a stealthy surgical-like strike?!? It’s like they *want* to percolate all kinds of conspiracy thoeries!
This Kabuki Show signifies nothing, other then the mother of all POTUS campaign kick-offs.
(Regarding the fact that Celebrity Apprentice was pre-empted by his announcement) Obmama? Classy as always.
I’ve figured for years that they’d had OBL in cryogenic storage, and they’d thaw him the hell out when it was convenient. Must be today.
Finally we got some of our “change”. Replacing the old script writing team at the WH was Obama’s best move. Buried-at-sea is right up there with JFK’s magic bullet. Obama’s first job was as a writer for Business International Corp – which according to Wikipedia is a known CIA front company.
Osama Bin Laden dies on 5-1-11? Interesting!
Must be some very, very, very, bad economic news coming out this week in the USA
this smells
Lots of movies will be made of this great victory….the kids’ll be forced to watch them.
Did Obama really interrupt Celebrity Apprentice to announce that Osama Bin Laden is dead?
Has political discourse really sunk this low?
Good lord. The Obamabots are out in force on Facebook cheering the hero Obama. Equating this to the death of Hitler.

Just kidding…  They’re all from FireDogLake.

Thanks for the trick pop-quiz! I think we’re witnessing the Harmonic Convergence of Conservative whack-jobs and dumbshit Liberal navel-gazers.

Really, Paula, there’s no reason to flounce because an individual commenter or possibly two disagree with you, or even drop an F-bomb. You see in my post above, I talked to a neighbor who was not down with all the pep-rally aspect of the night, and I left Mr. Polly at home muttering darkly about hegemony, imperialism, and retaliation, yet we are still on speaking terms. My own emotions are, as I noted, mixed, but I know that the people who have actually lost someone as Mrs. Massaroli did, and as Obama noted in his speech, are gratified by this news, and I would like to honor that.

I think you do our place too little credit if you think we are just mindless cheerleaders.

@FDL or FR: Now there is some mindless cheerleading! Cheerleading for failure and regretting anything like success because it came from HIMMMMMM is still cheerleading, right?

In the face of what I think could well be the singularly most thoughtless and offensive comment ever posted to this blog, I was unable to connect with my Inner Christ.

Thank you, Polly, for being a better soul than I am.

FWIW, Polly, I’m flouncing because I can’t seem to do right by the “internet left” for the past few weeks.

Some other blog proprietor decided that I was “typical conservative” troll because I dared bash Noam Chomsky for being a shallow brand-monger.

Now, I am a mean judgmental scold for not pretending to be happy about OBL’s death when I am not.

If I post somewhere else, I’ma be a raging Obot with a hard-on for targeted assassinations without trial.

Yep. I’m gonna take that as a sign that I should be doing something else for a while.

I don’t think that’s it, Strange—I’ve just been soaking in it for years! Mr. Polly is frequently Firebaggy, with the exception that he doesn’t start out from the Obama Auto-hate position. He’s just one of those devotedly Amy Goodman’s Never Wrong,and America Mostly Is people. By him, Obama betrayed everybody by agreeing to participate in the System by running for office in the first place.

I believe Red-Baiting should be kept at home, and it certainly is! The only problem is that it’s the Red who does the Baiting.

Now, I am a mean judgmental scold for not pretending to be happy about OBL’s death when I am not.

No, it was actually that jaw-dropping remark about New York.

Just kidding…  They’re all from FireDogLake.

I had to head over and confirm this, because, in the words of roughly half the FDL commentariat, I didn’t “buy it.”

HOLY CRAP. Kinda scary over there, though it’s nice to see Truthers can expand their horizons beyond made-up physics and irrelevant melting points. Did you guys know that can’t possibly be a picture of OBL? Yeah, the beard’s too dark, “like a teenager’s.”

I’m gonna take that as a sign that I should be doing something else for a while

You sound like me talking about… well, pretty much everything.

Did you guys know that can’t possibly be a picture of OBL? Yeah, the beard’s too dark, “like a teenager’s.”

And, of course, just like the Freepers, the Firebaggers are analyzing a well-known Photoshop fake from two years ago, but such is the power of navel-gazing.

@Paula: it’s certainly a time for high emotions and hasty words right now, and possibly a sign to get into a garden and watch the bulbs come up rather than pound computer keys.

We’ll see how this all shakes out, of course, and perhaps the law of unintended consequences will bite us in the ass, and perhaps the U.S. will turn into Sparta as Mr. Polly seems to think it will, with mothers sending their seven-year-olds to the barracks with instructions to return either with their shields or on them. I doubt it; the crowds I saw were first reverent, then later,more what-the-hay-let’s-have-a-kegger. It was OBL who instigated the armor-plating of America. I think perhaps his death might inspire something of the reverse.

Perhaps this death will actually provide us a handy exit line for Afghanistan, which does make a difference. There have been reports that AQ operatives are already unhappy because the revolutions across the Middle East were supposed to be theirs, not fomented by multi-culti Copts and Muslims working together on Twitter!

Reporters have been raving (Richard Engel, for one) about being able to put on our shoes again when we fly, and while I think don’t think the massive security apparatus/industry that grew up is going to retreat to that extent, perhaps the Woolworth Building will relax its 9/11 no-tourists rules, and I can get into its exquisite mosaic lobby again. I’ll take that as an advance worth celebrating.

Mr. Polly7 can go to hell. I love you Mrs. P, can I have your babies?

Paula, I aint all that jazzed about some of the reactions either, but I gotta say there are some folks in this country to whom this news is dearly welcome. Extra-judicial killing? Nah, the man waged war on us and our guys shot him down, that’s how it’s played. Would it have been nice to see him in the dock as Edroso pointed out so well? Yeah, but fuck it, he played the game and the game got him.

HB, you sound like Omar from The Wire.

Of course, Bin Laden violated one of Omar’s prime rules—never put your gun to a civilian.

Comment by Oblomova on 05/02/11 at 06:17 PM

The problem with taking Bin Laden prisoner and putting him on trial is that it would have created a massive political circus that would have gone on for years.  What happened was for the best.  Whether he was a psychopath, a sociopath, just plain evil or whatever, he was going to try and kill as many people and commit as much mayhem as he could for the rest of his life and we put a stop to him.  It needed to be done.

I was thinking along those lines, Oblo.


You may be the nicest person in the world, but I have zero tolerance for the “concern trolling” today.

I don’t even have to believe in “justifiable murder” to celebrate the death of a pathological mass murdered. The fact is, Bin Laden’s death is only one part of why most young people are celebrating. If you grew up having the better part of your life constricted and freedoms diminished in all sorts of ways based largely on the mere existence of this assshole, then yes—his death means something more than just “a fellow human being is no longer alive.”

One, his death means that a huge fuck-up has been remedied and the US government is no longer viewed as assclowns, thanks to intelligent and competent leadership. There will be less impetus and rationale to take away freedoms through draconian security measures, when we have competent intelligence gathering.

Two, wars are political - whether we want them to be our not. Neutralizing bin Laden - through death or capture - increases US foreign policy stature abroad and helps Democrats in elections at home.

And even if none of that were true, what gives you or me or anybody the moral right to dictate to people how to feel about a murderer who wanted to kill them?

Just so no one mistakes me:

Osama Bin Laden preached violence upon fellow humans while never putting himself in direct danger, and that alone makes me feel like he deserved to go down the way he did, international tribunal be damned.

Nor do I feel like he is the proper figure upon which to launch critiques about imperialism and the military-security-industrial complex.

Polly’s OP was about an immediate, emotional reaction of joy and relief. My POV is not that these emotions are “wrong” or “weird”—they are not, and more so for people who were directly affected either by proximity to the sites or through knowing someone who was a victim of the attacks.

But as a resident of California, “9/11” was not just the attacks themselves but everything that followed after: Afghanistan, then Iraq, then Bali, and of course the wiretapping and the x-ray machines at the airport. The latter is how 9/11 “is” for me.

So when I think of Bin Laden’s remains somewhere in the sea, all I can think of is that dead or alive, we’re still dealing with that fucker. FOR A VERY LONG TIME, we will be dealing with him. When I think about that, I get really angry at Bin Laden, at religious extremists of all kinds, at my government for being gullible and prone to repeat bad history, at myself for not being a responsible human citizen—but mostly it just fucking hurts because that fucker did exactly what he wanted to do, which is to damage us in a long-lasting way. There is no justice for that.

Polly, I hope I am wrong and what you say is will be so, but the vehemence of my emotional reaction is such that I can’t quite see it happening right now.

Paula, for what it’s worth, I have many of the same mixed emotions.  I didn’t think you were concern-trolling.  I am staying mostly silent because my head is a mess right now.

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