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Report from Engine 54 & Manhattan

  • Subject: [cg] Report from Engine 54 & Manhattan
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2001 14:46:14 EDT


First before anything, I'd like to thank all of you in the community 
gardening community for your kind messages and prayers. I've only met a 
handful of you in person and your outpouring of messages has been 

Yesterday evening, as I laid a candle and some of my dahlias at the makeshift 
memorial at Engine 54 (the eighth avenue and 48th street Times Square area 
firehouse that has lost 14 firemen in the WTC blast) I conveyed your best 
wishes, along with those of the Clinton Community Garden. 

A little history: There used to be fires on the old CCG site before the 
community reclaimed it as a garden - we're buddies and this one hurts.  Many 
of us live in tenements with old wiring that prompts a visit from Engine 54 - 
need I say that we love these guys? 

As you know, firemen cook:   we regularly see them in bunker gear  (truck 
outside, radio blaring messages) shopping in our local supermarkets and 
veggie stands.  We joke about recipes for 40, i.e.,  "First you get this big 
pot, a bushell of potatoes and one very large dead animal.  Add a quart of 
dead animal helper..." To be fair, more than a few of the younger guys and 
health consious older guys are vegetarians, but they're quiet about it.

During the height of the season, folks from the garden often drop off veggies 
at the firehouse, a small town gesture in  a very large city. For those who 
are looking at NYC on TV and see this massive clumping of buildings, please 
understand that the neighborhoods in this city  are in fact a collection of 
many, many small towns.  

While doing the handshakes and condolances last night, the candles and 
makeshift shrine far away from the gasoline pump - these guys pay close  
attention to fire safety, I told them that next year, God willing,  the 
American Community Gardening Association, over a thousand gardens like the 
Clinton Community Garden strong, was going to be having a convention in NYC. 
I told them that the prayers of the membership of all these gardens from all 
over the USA were with them,  that they were very much in their thoughts and 
in their hearts.

"Thats alotta tomatoes," the fireman said, "please thank them, we're just 
doing our job. We'll keep the flowers in water for the families to see 
tomorrow." Firemen are used to death as part of the job,  but the enormity of 
all of this is on a scale that staggers guys used to fires in nightclubs and 
many bad things. The feeling last night was that of a large family wake.  

I just heard on NY 1  that five live NYC firefighters were just dug out at 
the base of the WTC site.  Evidently they had managed to climb into a SUV 
parked there.  According  to the report, three of them walked away. The 51 
story American Express building in the World Financial Center is also shaky 
now and in doubt ( pay your bill - the computer back up is in Florida and New 

On volunteerism:
Right now, it seems that every construction worker and  iron worker , usually 
building high rises in Manhattan is downtown, digging out the mess as 
volunteers.   They are doing great work now in the wrecked area.  Cops and 
firemen, working 12 on and 12 off ,are throwing in volunteer hours to get the 
job done. Cops and firemen from out of town, doctors her in  town on 
conventions,  nurses from all over the metropolitan area, thousands of blood 
donors, social workers doing trauma work, neighbors reassuring seniors, 
talking to kids and thousands of others are all pitching in.

And yes, community garden nemesis, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani continues to do us 
proud in this crisis - the other side of the coiu.

Adam Honigman

community_garden maillist  -  community_garden@mallorn.com

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