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A stunning website--to the community gardening e-mail list

  • Subject: [cg] A stunning website--to the community gardening e-mail list
  • From: Roberta Hayes roberta@jovi.net
  • Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 04:04:55 -0500

A stunning website about the protests against the war:


Thank you ,  Adam Honigman, for what you just wrote.

Without gardens, i don't know how i would make it through the times we are all facing.


Roberta Hayes

Adam36055@aol.com wrote:

> Sometimes, when I used to work as a temp at various jobs at the World Trade
> Center in the early nineties,  I'd pay the five bucks and go up to  the roof
> observation deck during my lunch hour on clear days.  After hours of poring
> over documents or checking computer records in a windowless cube, the idea of
> being able to see all the sky in the world - even on cold days, was better
> than eating lunch.
> Once there up there,  with a roll of dimes (that's what 5 minutes cost, until
> they raised it to a quarter)  I'd look through the timed, automatic binocular
> stands they had all over the roof.  Sometimes I'd look at the great green
> rectangle of Central Park north of 59th Street.  Othertimes, I'd look for
> places where I had lived or worked, the silver eagles of the Chrysler
> Building, tug boats in the harbor, or community gardens on the nearby lower
> east side of Manhattan.
> While it was great to see that great green rectangle of Central Park,
> especially in full bloom or covered with snow, like a giant, magical ice
> palace,  it was always a pleasure to look through the terrible tenements of
> the Lower East Side and get a glimpse, from 110 storeys above the ground, of
> the little patches of green created by folks like me in  burnt out lots.
>  At that time, there were more gardens left in the Lower East Side than there
> are now, and it was fun trying to see them all.  I remember a suspicious
> security guard asking me what I was looking at down there, and when I told
> him, "gardens", he wouldn't believe me until I showed him. "Well, I'll be
> damned - I thought you were checking out roofs to break into over there.  The
> cops got one guy who cased places from here last week." Takes all kinds, I
> guess. And I told him about the gardens which he never knew existed.
> Well, ten years ago today in 1993, it was snowy so I didn't go up to the WTC
> roof observatory from where I was working, a law firm then called Brown &
> Wood ( now Sidley, Brown & Wood, LLP).  I was walking with a sandwich to the
> employee cafeteria near the Word Processing Center, which was on the 54th or
> 55th floor when I felt the floor shake beneath my feet.  Now, the World Trade
> Center was so tall, sometimes you would feel the building move because it was
> engineered to flex, ever so slightly in the wind.  But an alarm went off, and
> soon  a security guy said something  about a fire in Tower 2 ( we were in
> tower 1).  So I went back to the word processing center, called my agency and
> told them that we were evacuating the offices and got the supervisor to sign
> my time sheet for the morning.  There was a rush to the elevators - but they
> had been shut down.  I had a very scared, very heavy woman from the word
> processing center next to me - her fingers moved 90 words a minute, but the
> rest of her didn't move fast.  We'd have to walk, and it was 55 floors down.
> Stairway A & C were jammed, but stairway B was a little wider and we pushed
> ourselved into the stream of folks coming down the stairs.  Smoke was coming
> up, and I wet a hankerchief that I had with a can of Coca Cola that I had
> bought to go with my lunch.  Others had hankies and soon the coke can was
> emptied.
> It was very crowded on the staircase.  And there were firemen on the
> landings, helping people out, lending  a mask for a whiff of oxygen to some,
> encouraging others, growling at others - whatever worked at getting folks
> down the stairs.  Because of the mass of people pushing into the stairways at
> each landing , it took us about 90 minutes to get out of the building.  My
> walk partner was taken into an ambulance for a combination of exhaustion and
> smoke inhalation, but I, while coughing felt like walking and walking.
> At the base of the towers was a Greenmarket ( a farmer's market) and while
> most of the truck farmers had evacuated, there was one good samaritan  who
> was handing out cups of hot cider - in the smoke and snow, to people as they
> left.
> I got to a phone and called my wife who was working at a hospital in Midtown.
> She asked me if I had heard what had happened at the WTC...I coughed and told
> her that this was where I had gone to work today and that our son was doing
> afterschool today and I'd pick him up at 5:30.  Yes...I'd call when I got
> home.  The subway entrances were jammed, so I kept walking, and coughing and
> walking until I ended up on the lower east side on the corner of 1st Avenue &
> East Houston.  Amazingly, someone had opened the gate to the Liz Christy
> garden - I think to get a snow shovel for the walk -  and I walked inside, as
> the snow was powdering  the trees. My coke covered handkerchief had dried,  I
> put it in my pocket and I looked back downtown and saw the stream of smoke
> coming up.
> I still had my sandwich in my pocket, so I ate my salami on rye, on a bench
> in Liz Christy Community Garden, one of the 50,000 people who got out, ten
> years ago on February 26, 1993. When I finished,  I walked a block east to
> the subway, got to my temp agency, dropped off my time sheet, picked up my
> son, and spent the next two weeks coughing out dark colored crap.  Six folks
> died that day because of the truck bomb in the basemement, and as you know,
> they came back later to finish the job 8 years later.
> As I finished off the salami sandwich in the Liz Christy Garden - one of the
> patches of green that I saw from the roof on the WTC -  I promised myself
> that I'd spend more days eating my lunch in community gardens.
> Now, luck  being what it is,  I returned to the WTC and worked there on
> several jobs - but it was fate that got me a job in a company about a half of
> a mile south of it on 9/11.
> When I saw the buildings collapse on 9/11, on  that perfect, sunny September
> Tuesday, my mind was in stairway B, going down at a snail's pace, with that
> scared, large lady on my arm, with the firemen encouraging us on our way.
> 30,000 got out on 9/11 and we lost about 3,000 including 450 firemen, cops,
> EMTs, Port Authority and rescue personnel.
> There was nothing for it, at the end of 9/11, after I had gotten back up
> town, but to take a walk to the Clinton Community Garden around 11 PM  (
> after we had fed all of my son's friends who were stranded in Manhattan) to
> water and to lock up.  The garden was still filled at this time with folks
> who were trying to come to terms with the day, but it was dark and we didn't
> want anyone tripping over anything and hurting themselves.
> Even in the dark, our quiet patch of green on West 48th street, like so many
> other community gardens in our city and all over our country, continued to
> welcome and comfort,  for folks resting while looking for their loved ones,
> as make-shift shrines ...filled with candles, as sites for benefit concerts,
> memorial services, places to talk,  and as places for the shaken, like me, to
> steady their hands while deadheading dahlias and taking out the garbage.
> Adam Honigman
> ______________________________________________________
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