my trip to NYC yesterday

The other day I called my friends in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Food Not Bombs, about possibly going to volunteer and do a sharing in either New York or on the New Jersey side of the Hudson river. They agreed that it would be a good to go after their sharing Saturday. Saturday morning we received a call that they are taking no more volunteers and did not need any more food. After that news, one friend and I decided to take pictures, hand out literature on racism toward Arabs and Muslims, and a plea for no more violence. We intended to go to New York City after stopping in Hoboken and Jersey City area. On the way up we were able to see the NYC Sky line. It was a sight that was absolutely horrible. We both were silent as we came upon the view. There is still constant thick gray smoke originating out of the former World Trade Center and covering the entire city. I almost pulled over due to feeling sick. It reminded us of the stories people told about seeing the smoke in the concentration camps during the Holocaust. The pictures on TV or in news papers due the sight no justice. On TV they are never able to capture the entire city and retain detail and the still photographs do not show the constant flow of smoke rising. We first went to a park in Hoboken. While people were doing the every day park activities, there were candles all over. If you do not know, this park is right across from New York City only separated by the Hudson River; the park goes right up to the water and has an unobstructed view of the city. In the part of the park closest to the city was tons of candles, flowers and notes people left. Also in the spot was a picture that someone took last week in the same spot of the skyline… it was completely changed. The two of us walked around and hung up some fliers that were created, “Please Help Prevent Reactionary Racism” and “Plea By American Citizens to Stop the Violence.” Both of these were composed in the form of a letter to either fellow Citizens and to President bush. We hung them up the walked back to where we started to see if they were still there and if people were reading them. The reaction was unexpected. People were reading them and calling over friends to see the fliers, others were taking a picture of the flier. There were a few people discussing them, although we were unable to tell if it was favorable to not, but to create discussion was good for us. We moved on away from the park and into the city of Hoboken. There was a line of cabs waiting by the train station for passengers, I took the anti-racism flier and asked one of the drivers to hang it up in his cab so his riders can read it. He read it, we gave him tape…he immediately hung it facing the back seat. We then went on to the other drivers, all warmly receiving the flier and thanking us for doing what we were doing. It was decided to go store to store asking to hang them up in the window. For the most part, everyone let us hang them up, some took them and said they had to ask the owner, and even others asking for a few more to put by their time clock or give to a friend who is creating reactionary racism toward Arabs. This was very warming. It was now getting dark so we drove to Jersey City where we heard that they were taking overnight volunteers at the Exchange Place. On the way over we saw another amazing sight. We passed by the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, it looked like a ghost town, as it was still closed. If you have ever traveled from New Jersey into New York City this would be unimaginable to you. I recall as a little kid my parents taking me into the city and waiting hours at the Tunnel entrance to go in and pay the toll. Now the 10 lanes of traffic were not even there. We made it to the volunteer area, it was night time, the sight again saddened me. We were still able to see the city sky-line, a sight that while anti-environment is normally nice to look at with all the lights and architecture (I am an artist, so I can marvel at this). There was an area completely pitch black that has not gained power back yet, but in the center was a bright glow of the sight, working by generator lights. There was a row leading to the bright area about a mile or two long of flashing yellow lights of dump trucks, tow trucks, and construction vehicles, intermixed with rescue lights. On the NJ side where we were, tents have been set up by corporate businesses that…. were not selling food. They were giving it away(!) to the volunteers and all Police/EMT/Fire Fighters. Workers were returning covered in gray soot and ash from the city. I over heard one construction worker said he had to leave because his area has been finding charred body parts, no full bodies, many times not even full limbs. He started to cry and left. I was nearly sick. Throughout the night people were arriving with food and coffee for the workers who were coming over to NJ to take a break and rest in the tents and cots provided. This is why they do not need any more food or volunteers, there is so much. A large area had been created of candles and messages. People were praying and crying and speaking only in whisper. If I was sickened by looking at the city from the NJ side, I decided I cannot bring myself into New York. Since this is the closest I was going to get. I left a candle and a note there for my Cousin Philip Rosenzweig who was killed on flight 11 from Boston. We then distributed the rest of the 300 “Reactionary Racism” fliers to the people there. Actually giving it to people instead of hanging them up enabled us to talk to people. They looked at it read it, we were thanked, hugged, called “righteous”, people asked for more to give to other friends, or hang in their office. It was truly inspiring to see people read it while sitting in front of the city and say to us “I was feeling this way, now I am not. Thank You.” A Priest asked for additional copies for his Church. We gave them to workers and police coming in from the City. It brought up my spirits, until we were encountered by a nut job. He came up to us saying what we were doing is good and all but not at this time. He said he was watching across the river and saw the whole thing, as if he was better then anyone there. I told him that my cousin watched from inside the plane that crashed into it. He got louder and said “We cannot let this happen” “We must go after all of them.” other people came over to us. We were saying things back to him, he tried to grab the rest of our fliers. Three large men stepped between us and told him to leave; supporting us. Many were yelling at the guy and said we were right. We started to walk away, then he started again, saying that “everyone of them are responsible.” We turned back and he told us to step up to him. Then people yelled for the police to come over. The Guy said “we would never do anything like this to others.” My friend went off saying, “not only have we in the past but sometimes we are worse” The guy threw down his bag and said “all right lets go” as if to fight. I said I will not fight you, I do not believe in violence. People laughed at the guy. At this point two police captains came over and asked what was going on. I gave them the flier we were giving out, one read it and said there is nothing wrong with this. He sent the guy home and told us to not go near him till he leaves. We were given an area to hand out the rest of the fliers to people, which were gone shortly after as people wanted to read what we had to say. If it is at all possible, you must go and see what New York City looks like now. Even if you cannot go to the City look from the NJ side. Stand with people talk to them. The media is not portraying what I saw yesterday. Everyone should honestly see it with your own eyes. -Jordan

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