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9/11 showed us the resilience of New York City

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The catastrophe of 9/11 remains stubbornly with us. This is a good thing in a sense, because the lessons it holds for us — of courage, steadfastness and compassion — will see us through the pandemic and whatever other challenges come our way.

The notion that 9/11 was a passing speed bump is infuriating and ignorant. The terrorist attack’s poisoned residue endures despite downtown reconstruction and renewal.

Twenty years on, cancer and respiratory ailments plague up to two-thirds of firefighters and other emergency workers who toiled amidst the toxic ruins. For the several thousand victims, 9/11 has yet to end.

“Ground Zero” frustratingly remains a work in progress. The planned tower at Two World Trade Center remains unbuilt, camouflaged with an art installation and a beer garden. A long-sought performing-arts center is years behind schedule. The Westfield retail mall at the leak-prone Oculus sometimes seems to have more vacant storefronts than shoppers.

Some have lost patience over the pandemic — 18 months already! When will it end? But it took many years for the post-9/11 rebound, however imperfect and incomplete, to coalesce.

The atrocity claimed nearly 3,000 lives, destroyed beloved landmarks along with 14 million square feet of prime offices, and disrupted subways for years after. Yet the seeming death blow to lower Manhattan proved the impetus for epic renewal.

9/11 subway
The subways near the World Trade Center were disrupted for years following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
ONCE MORE TO THE SKY/Joel Woolhe

Credit, in part, more than $20 billion in direct federal aid in the form of grants, tax-free reconstruction bonds and other kinds of breaks for developers and businesses.

Younger New Yorkers might be unaware of the bitter infighting and false starts that made it seem the World Trade Center site might remain a pit forever. There were epic battles among politicians, real-estate developers, government agencies, architects, bureaucrats and bean-counters.

But for all their differences, New Yorkers shared a commitment to rebuild and to make lower Manhattan new again — and it was this resilient spirit that ultimately carried the day.


Follow our 9/11 20th Anniversary coverage here:


The warring factions wrought an imperfect but viable rebuilding plan. Developers Larry Silverstein and Douglas Durst built four successful office skyscrapers.

Meanwhile, New Yorkers and hordes from afar voted with their feet. The pre-9/ll population below Chambers Street of 32,000 swelled to 64,000 by the end of 2019 — bucking forecasts that no one would want to live or work there again.

The residential influx owed something to the new office skyscrapers that replaced the beloved but inefficient Twin Towers. The new buildings’ advanced electronic capacity, energy-conserving features, column-free floors and floor-to-ceiling windows not only drew tenants such as Condé Nast, Spotify, GroupM and Moody’s Corp. They also accelerated the obsolescence of old commercial buildings that were useless for offices but perfect for apartments — such as the landmarked former AIG headquarters at 70 Pine St., which became 660 luxury rental units.

New Yorkers write notes of remembrance for the victims of Sept. 11, 2001.
For all their differences, New Yorkers shared a commitment to rebuild and to make lower Manhattan new again — and it was this resilient spirit that ultimately carried the day.
ONCE MORE TO THE SKY/Joel Woolhe

The state and city created new parks. Hotels and restaurants opened. The MTA built a gleaming Fulton Transit Center to brighten the infamously grimy platform labyrinth. A new seaport geared to New Yorkers’ tastes replaced its tacky, tourist-trampled predecessor.

The changes were made possible because elected officials, business titans and ordinary citizens were determined to win back the ground taken away by terrorists, and to make it better than before. By the start of 2020, downtown below Chambers Street was in much better shape than many thought it would ever be after 9/11.

August 23, 2021. 9/11 story. CREDIT: ONCE MORE TO THE SKY/Joel Woodhead.
The 9/11 attacks claimed nearly 3,000 lives, destroyed beloved landmarks and 14 million square feet of prime offices — yet it proved to be the impetus for epic renewal, too.
ONCE MORE TO THE SKY/Joel Woolhe

Of course, COVID-19 knocked the wind out of the recovery. An invisible germ, not suicidal terrorists, haunted our dreams. Some 40 percent of lower Manhattan’s population moved away from March to December of 2020. More than 1,400 luxury condos remain unsold. The downtown office market suffers Manhattan’s highest vacancy rate of 20 percent.

There are nascent signs of renewal, as there were in the months after Sept. 11, 2001, when — despite predictions of a permanent “ghost town” — more companies stayed than left. Today, too, firms are renewing leases. Residents are coming back; today, there are only 16 percent fewer than before the pandemic, according to the Downtown Alliance, which forecasts a full recovery next year.

As bleak as things look in these pandemic times, they seemed even darker when all eyes were on the skies and a mass grave and streets covered in ash seemed to bury hope. New York City lived again. Let the memory of what we’ve accomplished since then inspire us anew.

9/11
Despite its new surrounds, “Ground Zero” frustratingly remains a work in progress 20 years after the attacks.
ONCE MORE TO THE SKY/Joel Woolhe

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These fatty foods could be destroying your memory, say scientists

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Ready meals and fast food could be destroying your memory.

Scientists say highly processed foods, crisps, and deli meats containing preservatives were linked with abrupt memory loss in older brains.

Researchers warn the amygdala — the part of the brain which regulates fear — is also affected.

So a bad diet could mean some dangerous decisions.

But diets with extra omega-3 fatty acid DHA, found in fish such as salmon, could ward off problems. Rather than supplements, researchers advised improved diets.

Scientists at America’s Ohio State University Institute for Behavioural Medicine Research did tests on lab rats.

Dr. Ruth Barrientos called the results “alarming”, adding: “Consumption of a processed diet can produce significant and abrupt memory deficits.”

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Biden and Lightfoot know mask rules are idiotic — so why haven’t they changed?

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It happened again because of course it happened again. The latest example of COVID hypocrisy, if you have enough hard-drive space to keep track, is a viral video of President Biden traipsing through a ritzy DC eatery with no mask, in defiance of the city’s strict rules. In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot was photographed at a basketball game, the only bare face in a sea of muzzled fans.

This kind of thing has been so common that it is hard to stay outraged, even though we should.

But there is another, deeper question at play here. Why won’t the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention update its masking guidance as vaccinations increase, case numbers diminish and politicians, among pretty much everyone else, ignore it across the nation?

The CDC website says that “If you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection from the Delta variant, and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public, if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.” A handy map shows the location of these areas — it’s basically the entirety of the United States. This guidance is vague, and not followed by massive swaths of the nation.

Mask mandate hypocrite Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot attended a basketball game where everyone except her was wearing a mask.
Mask mandate hypocrite Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot attended a basketball game where everyone except her was wearing a mask.
Twitter

Why is it being ignored? Because much of its application is nonsensical on its face, so to speak. What possible health benefit is there for wearing a mask from door to the table then taking it off to eat and drink and talk all night? Every one of us knows that 10 seconds of following the hostess to your table is not a potential superspreader event. It’s such performative idiocy.

Meanwhile, CDC guidelines still say if you take a kid across state lines, say on vacation, you have to quarantine for 10 days. Is any parent in the country actually doing this? We should hope not, because it’s insane. Even Fauci the Merciful, who has relented and has now pronounced we can have holiday gatherings, isn’t mentioning this. Because he knows he would look like a fool.

President Joe Biden leaves Washington DC restaurant Fiola Mare without wearing a face mask.
President Joe Biden leaves Washington DC restaurant Fiola Mare without wearing a face mask.
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden went to Fiola Mare on October 16, 2021 for a date night.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden went to Fiola Mare on October 16, 2021 for a date night.
REUTERS/Tom Brenner

So why do these absurd rules, that most people don’t follow anyway, and seem to be based on about as much science as Tarot cards, still exist at all? And more importantly, what metrics do we need to hit for them to go away? That’s one query the exultant and high experts will never answer. When it comes to imposing restrictions the science is strict, settled, and exact, when it comes to easing restrictions it’s all a rich tapestry of who really knows.

Enough. When mask mandates made their first appearance in the Spring of 2020 many feared we would wind up wearing them forever. Those people were mocked as alarmists. Well, it’s almost 2022, what gives? Everyone over 12 can get a vaccine that we are promised gives fantastic protection, and young kids continue to only very rarely have significant illness.

People can decide for themselves whether they want to keep wearing masks, if they are high risk or nervous. As for the rest of us, what are we waiting for? We have long passed common sense. We need some answers about how and when these rules will end. And we need them now.

David Marcus is the author of “Charade: The COVID Lies That Crushed A Nation.”

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Cops face questions after missing Alabama woman’s body found in police van

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A missing Alabama woman’s body has been found in an unoccupied police van — prompting questions about her death and how she could go undetected as authorities were searching for her.

Christina Nance, 29, was discovered dead in a prisoner transport van Oct. 7, five days after she was reported missing, Deputy Police Chief DeWayne McCarver said.

The vehicle was parked at a public safety complex in Huntsville.

“The officer noticed shoes next to the van and approached, discovering Ms. Nance’s body inside. Windows on the van were observed to be opened and on this type of van they popped outward,” McCarver said on Friday at a press conference, CNN reported.

No cause of death has been determined, but preliminary autopsy results didn’t indicate that there was any foul play or bodily trauma.

“The official cause of death will be ruled by the state medical examiner once additional studies, including toxicology, are complete,” police said.

Police released surveillance footage of a woman believed to be Nance wandering through the parking lot on Sept. 25, then appearing to enter the van.

But her family — who reported her missing on Oct. 2 — said they have their doubts about the footage.

“The video was not clear enough to indicate that that was our sister Christina Nance,” Nance’s sister Whitney Nance told news station WAFF.

Police vehicles.
Police released surveillance footage of a woman believed to be Christina Nance wandering through the parking lot on Sept. 25.
Huntsville Police Dept. Facebook

“It was just very heartbreaking to know that we didn’t get the clarification that we really needed, that we wanted.”

Police have said it’s protocol for the vans to be kept locked.

“It is an accountability issue on our part,” McCarver said. “That should not have happened. And now we have to look at that, and we have to make sure that we have things in place so that does not happen again.”

It’s unclear how Nance went undetected in the busy police parking lot.

“Cars go by, people walk nearby the van. We just wish that she would have hollered out to someone or something, because there were plenty of … what we see as potential opportunities for this to not be a tragedy. And unfortunately, no one was able to realize she was in that van and that was the outcome,” McCarver said.

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