The future is not what it used to be.
The acts of Sept. 11 have changed the face of New York today and have
altered American life, perhaps forever.
As I sit and watch Mick Jagger sing Salt of the Earth as the
Concert for NYC celebrates the greatest place on earth, the past weeks seem surreal.
Reality, for that matter, might not have set in yet.
Weve been so busy searching, mourning and recovering that
weve not taken pause to truly grasp what has occurred.
Weve been so involved in shock, sadness and symbols, that
weve yet to synthesize societys true sense of suffering.
Weve been so preoccupied with preparing for war, air strikes and
now land invasions, that weve not had time to look back and remember what it is like
to live in a land of peace.
Yes, weve been so busy with reports of anthrax, tainted mail,
threatened food and water supplies and concern about the next attack that we havent
started to live in our changed City and world.
almost impossible to deal with a crazy man, except that he does have religious beliefs,
and the world of Islam will be damaged if a fanatic like him should commit murder in the
name of religion . . ."
Jimmy Carter, U.S. president,
commenting on Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after students in Iran held American diplomats
Diary, Nov. 6, 1979, quoted in
Memoirs of a President, p. 458,
Bantam Books (1982).
Concerts, funerals, news shows,
newspapers, images and office discussions have filled our empty time and prevented us from
having those spare moments in which to take stock of our new world.
Jewish tradition has a period of seven days
of Shiva following the death of a loved one where the home is constantly filled with
friends, food and family occupying the bereaved so as to deny time to endless moments of
sorrow . . . so has it been with our City.
New Yorks Shiva has been ongoing.
From the first death on Sept. 11 to the discovery of the body of yet another firefighter
this past weekend, our seven days of standing by those in our Citys family who are
suffering is renewed. And so it shall continue, until the last family finally comes to
grips with the fact that the only miracle that is coming out of the collapse of the Towers
would not be an individual survivor, but a society with the strength to endure and the
spirit to flourish.
And then, we must be prepared for new
losses as American men and women prosecute the war abroad and terrorists seek to bring the
war to our shores.
Yes the pain, the news, the threats, the
war will continue and fills our time strengthening our nations brotherhood and
And as I write this Saturday night, the
Concert for NYC plays in the background and Bill Clinton captivates the crowd and
continues a tribute to New Yorks fallen, New Yorks bravest, New Yorks
finest and New Yorks spirit.
And Shawn McCann, a young boy maybe
12 introduces himself and tells the tens of thousands in Madison Square Garden,
"My father was a firefighter lost in the accident of Sept. 11 and I loved him."
And celebrities and heroes and families
unite to salute a city and raise money for the families of fallen heroes . . .
And inspire us . . .
And fill our time.
I turned off my computer to go upstairs to
bed and watch the rest of the concert. And on Sunday morning . . . other than the memories
of a night of talent and pride and heroes . . . one sad, unfortunate moment lingers. Actor
Richard Gere attempted to talk about peace and not revenge. He was booed by a large group
of those who have suffered greatly in this tragedy.
But isnt Gere right?
What is the difference between us and them?
We dont hate; we feel sorrow.
We dont want revenge; we want a world
No, we must not allow them to bring us down
to their vile level. We mourn for humanity and the blight that they are. Our desire to
eradicate that blight is a desire to preserve humanity.
Our motive should be an ultimate peace
everlasting, not retribution.
We must work to preserve that difference.
An election is scheduled
At moments, all too infrequent, we take
leave of the tragedy and war and recognize there is more to the news and life than the
horror of the moment.
The Yankees unite us.
And theres an election being held
pretty soon Nov. 6 to be precise.
Were going to elect a Mayor and 14
new members of the City Council from Queens. Now 10 of the Council seats dont have
real contests. Three, maybe four, pundits say, could possibly produce surprises. In
reality, this political junkie is counting all the seats as Democratic except the one in
the 30th District where Republican Dennis Gallagher faces Democrat Liz Crowley. At this
point in time, that race could really go either way. The Democratic Comptroller candidate
Bill Thompson and the Dem Public Advocate candidate Betsy Gotbaum have been given free
rides by the non-leadership of the Republican Party.
Although the Mayoral election may be
competitive, right now Mark Green looks like an easy winner over Mike Bloomberg. The most
attractive thing about Green is that he is not beholden to traditional Democratic
constituencies and special interest groups because they did not support him. However, it
was the quality that caused them not to support him his aloof personality
that is his greatest liability. Much will focus both on Greens inability to get
traditional City Democrats excited about his candidacy and a comparison of Greens
narrow managerial experience in contrast to Bloombergs demonstrated skill as a
manager which is so vital during the process of rebuilding and economic hardship.
However, all that being said, this is a
Democratic City and expect Green to triumph easily.
As a lifelong Democrat, I know that
corruption, laziness and indifference are produced when only one political party
participates. The future strength of our City government is dependent upon the
revitalization of the GOP. Without competition, performance suffers.
The Republican leadership in this City has
failed even their Mayoral competitors (Bloomberg and Badillo) are on loan from the
Democratic Party. Its time for a change where are the young Republicans?
Save that date, Nov. 6 mark it in
your palm pilot, filofax or calendar Americans vote.
Life Goes on
Several weeks ago, I wrote:
"Im going to try to abandon
at least for now purchasing anything on the internet. Buying in New York is
the correct thing to do. Our small business community is what Queens and much of the City
is all about. We each can do our part.
"For those of us reluctant, for the
moment, to spend much leisure time in Manhattan, eat out in Queens. We have some marvelous
restaurants. La Baraka in Little Neck for French Mediterranean; Caffé on the Green in
Bayside for Northern Italian; Elias Corner in Astoria for fish; the Door in St.
Albans for Caribbean; Jackson Heights for Latino; Astoria for Greek; Flushing for Asian;
theres Gebhardts and Niedersteins for German.
"Queens offers the finest in dining
from the worlds cuisines. Eat out; its patriotic and fun."
This past Friday night, my family and I
took my advice.
My brother-in-law Gil graciously called to
invite Lil, Allison and me to celebrate my sister Caroles birthday. Its become
an annual ritual seems Carole has a birthday every year. Instead of going to the
City, Gil must have been reading my column, "How about Waters Edge?" he
Believe it or not, this Queens-wise,
Queens-raised, Queens publisher had never been to the classiest of Queens dining rooms. It
is the ultimate special occasion meal offering the finest in cuisine and the most
spectacular view in the world a proud City skyline. Even my City chic niece Debbie
was awed by the view.
The Waters Edge is truly one of New
Yorks best. Well be back.
Happy birthday Carole.
Dan Rattiner writes in this weeks Dans
"In 1913, there was an uprising in the
Philippines by Muslim extremists bent on murdering everybody who did not share their
beliefs. Among their many beliefs not shared was one that said it was a sin to eat pork.
If you were tainted by swine you could not enter heaven. Do not eat it.
"At the time, the Philippines was an
American protectorate administered by General John J. Pershing. Pershing put down the
terrorist uprising in a very easy way. He captured a large group of them. Then ordered
them all shot. On the firing line, however, all the terrorists were brought up to the line
of soldiers to watch as they loaded the bullets that would kill them. Immediately before
loading, each bullet was dipped in a tub of pork fat. All but three of the terrorists were
then shot, wrapped in hog skins, covered with hog entrails and then buried. The three were
sent back to their communities to spread the news. That ended the uprising.
"President Bush says our war against
these terrorists is going to go on a long time. Perhaps there are some creative ways that
could end this war quicker."
Received the following in reference to last
I think your freedom of speech went a
little too far regarding your article this week with the four letter word
(f) in your article regarding the mail and anthrax and what you said to
your wife how someone is f with the mail. We all agree
that we are all very, very mad because of how this scare is doing horrible things to
people in NY however you do express yourself a little too freely for a newspaper. You
should be a little careful with your anger. My niece was looking for current
events when she came across the article. She is not a baby but I thought she was seeing
things and I thought I was seeing things too. Unbelievable!
- A Queens Reader
Dear Queens Reader,
We discussed the use of the word prior to
publication. I dont use it freely or frequently in print. As a matter of fact,
Im not sure in my column, written on and off for 15 years, whether Ive ever
used a profanity before. However, when our mails are used to send bio-terror, we must
express our outrage in atypical manners. Im sorry my manner offended you. You should
not be afraid that your niece sees or hears obscenities I assure you, she has and
will continue to do so. You should be concerned that she understands when and if they are
appropriate and more importantly, how we must all condemn obscene acts against humanity.
Finally, I signed my name to what I wrote. Id encourage you to stand up and take
credit for what you wrote. You are entitled to disagree and speak out. Thats what
makes this country great.
Regards, Mike Schenkler
by Dom Nunziato
Michael Schenkler can be reached at: MSchenkler@QueensTribune.com
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