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
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.
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