After An Attack, New Yorkers' Brave Act: Keep Going

Nov 4, 2017
Originally published on November 4, 2017 8:13 am

Great cities keep going. On Tuesday this week, the F Train Sixth Avenue Local churned between 179th Street in Queens and Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island without any reported delays. People got on and got off at Kew Gardens, Roosevelt Island, Rockefeller Center and Neptune Avenue.

The curtains for Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen and Hello, Dolly! all went up on time; the shows got standing ovations.

Prayer times were observed at the Masjid At-Taqwa mosque in Brooklyn. Jehovah's Witnesses went door-to-door in Queens. Mass was said at St. Peter's Church on Barclay Street in Lower Manhattan at 7:10 a.m., 12:05 p.m. and 1:05 pm.

Mount Sinai Beth Israel, the NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases and the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn didn't close their doors.

Caffe Lanka in the Bronx was open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., a normal business day, and served dosas, hummus and shawarma. The Tuscan Hills restaurant on Queens Boulevard made fresh fettucine al porcini and tortelloni al funghi, as planned. The New York Daily News, Post, Times and Wall Street Journal all made their deadlines.

Macy's in Herald Square, Party City in Brooklyn, Kohl's Rego Park, Queens, all opened and closed on time.

And at 7 p.m., swarms of Ninja Turtles, Wonder Women, ghouls, skeletons, minions, Harry Potters, Annas, Elsas, Olafs, little LeBrons, Donald Trumps, T-Rexes and Hillary Clintons, and the true, life-sized mayor and governor of New York stepped off down Sixth Avenue for the annual Village Halloween Parade.

They all knew that a little after 3 p.m., and less than a mile away, a man had steered a rented truck down the West Side bike path along the Hudson and killed eight people. Officials call the attack terrorism.

You might think candy and hijinks slightly frivolous just a few hours after such a cruel crime. But as Anita Durst, who brought a dozen 13-year-olds from a school to the Halloween parade, told The New York Times, "Life has to go on."

In his 1940 poem, "Musée des Beaux Arts," W.H. Auden said:

"About suffering they were never wrong,

The Old Masters: how well they understood

Its human position; how it takes place

While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;"

This week, just walking along — working, laughing, coming and going, living as usual — could seem like an act of faith and sanity in the face of fear. Great cities— and none are greater than New York — just keep going.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Great cities keep going. On Tuesday this week, the F Train Sixth Avenue Local churned between 179th Street in Queens and Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island without any reported delays. People got on and got off at Kew Gardens, Roosevelt Island, Rockefeller Center and Neptune Avenue. The curtains for "Hamilton," "Dear Evan "Hanson" and "Hello, Dolly!" all went up on time. The shows got standing ovations.

Prayer times were observed at the Masjid At-Taqwa mosque in Brooklyn. Jehovah's Witnesses went door-to-door in Queens. Mass was said in St. Peter's Church on Barclay Street in Lower Manhattan at 7:10 a.m., 12:05 and 1:05 p.m. Mount Sinai Beth Israel, the NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases and the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn didn't close their doors.

Caffe Lanka in the Bronx was open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., a normal business day, and served dosas, hummus and shawarma. The Tuscan Hills restaurant on Queens Boulevard made fresh fettuccini al porcini and tortelloni al funghi as planned. The New York Daily News, Post, Times and Wall Street Journal all made their deadlines.

Macy's in Herald Square, Party City in Brooklyn, Kohl's Rego Park, Queens all opened and closed on time. And at 7 p.m., swarms of Ninja Turtles, Wonder Women, ghouls, skeletons, Minions, Harry Potters, Annas, Elsas and Olafs - little LeBrons, Donald Trumps, T. rexes and Hillary Clintons, and the true, life-size mayor and governor of New York stepped off down Sixth Avenue for the annual Village Halloween Parade.

They all knew that a little after 3 p.m. and less than a mile away, a man had steered a rented truck down the West Side bike path along the Hudson and killed eight people. Officials called the attack terrorism. You might think candy and hijinks slightly frivolous just a few hours after such a cruel crime. But as Anita Durst, who brought a dozen 13 year olds from a school to the Halloween parade, told The New York Times, life has to go on.

In his 1940 poem "Musee Des Beaux Arts," W.H. Auden said, about suffering they were never wrong, the old masters, how well they understood its human position; how it takes place while someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along.

This week, just walking along - working, laughing, coming and going, living as usual - could seem like an act of faith and sanity in the face of fear. Great cities - and none are greater than New York - just keep going.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ANOTHER HUNDRED PEOPLE")

ANIKA NONI ROSE: (Singing) Another hundred people just got off of the train and came up through the ground while another hundred people just got off of the bus and are looking around at another hundred people who got off of the plane and are looking at us who got off of the train and the plane and the bus maybe yesterday. It's a city of strangers. Some come to work, some to play. A city of strangers. Some come to stare, some to stay. And every day, some go away. Or they find... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.