Monday, May 30, 2011

Bad week for the neighborhood

It started with a hand drawn illustration of a horse posted in my building's elevator with a poignant message from its creator, who I would guess is eight years old.  My young neighbor wrote to inform us that even though  she had hoped that  the police department might be looking for an alternate site for the World Trade Center security command center, that hope was ill founded.  The police don't have an alternative site for the command center, and here it is, three months from the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks that took down not just the trade center, but the command center itself at 7 WTC.

So our beloved horses, and gentle mounted police, numbering in the single to double digits, with the open doors allowing us to see in to the stables where the dark chestnut animals eat and sleep, will be replaced with a command center manned with hundreds of police on the alert for terrorist attacks. 

Photo by Carol Glassman / Tribeca Trib

The other messsage our neighbor wrote was that the fire department -- ladder 8-- aka the Ghostbusters firehouse-- was on a list of fire houses that were considered low use, thus dispensable in this round of budget cuts.

Photo by Carl Glassman/ Tribeca Trib

Given the concerned neighbor's age, it is clear that both of these community cornerstones are favorites of children under 10 who are always welcome, and often invited in to either feed the horses (when my daughter was small, we used to bring carrots to the stables) or to have a seat in the firetruck if time allowed and some life saving event wasn't going on.

When I was recently hit by a car a few blocks from these places, it took only minutes for the fire department to respond, and I am very grateful for their gentle care throughout my transfer to the emergency room at the Downtown Hospital.

This reminds me of another loss to the neighborhood, even though it is farther uptown:  St. Vincent's Hospital.  Their critical care unit was excellent (almost said "is" because I can't adjust to life without that hospital to call on).

The crowning blow came in the New York Post headline:  Chez Perv.
Dominique  Strauss-Kahn, the IMF chief accused of rape by a hotel maid, and arrested on the runway as he was making his escape, has moved into a Franklin St. address.  We may not have room for police on horseback, or firemen, but bring us your rich unsavory people under house arrest

 We need to hold on to the feeling of community these important institutions bring to us.

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