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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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.
> 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
> 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
> 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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The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org
To post an e-mail to the list: firstname.lastname@example.org
To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your subscription: https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden