"I was going down the stairs, to the subway, and BOOM, the ground shook and I was like WTF?!" An art student continued to share his experience from Saturday night where a bomb had detonated at 26th and 6th Avenue. Although my husband and I were not down there that night, it was still, literally, two block away from a building, where I have to work Mondays and Tuesdays. After hearing his story, I reflected back on seeing the news, where the second bomb was found about a half a block from where I work. As usual, I've been receiving calls, texts, and FB messages, from loved ones, asking if I was okay. As their worry and concerns for my safety played a part on their psyche, I naturally remained calm and simply responded with "I'm okay." And that is the God given truth.
November 7th will be my 8 year anniversary of living in this city. I have lived here long enough to experience an earthquake, Hurricane Sandy, and I was down on Wall Street among the chaos that broke out when threats were being reported, shortly after the attacks in Paris. I will be the first to say that what I find so admirable and the inspiring about living in this city is it's resilience.
In all honesty, the earthquake was not a big deal, except for the fact that I thought I would never have to experience one again the moment I left L.A.
On that fateful afternoon of late August 2011, I came home early to move furniture for the arrival of the new bed that my then boyfriend (now husband) and I had purchased. I had placed our large stuffed lion on our laundry rack when, suddenly the wooden floors sounded like they were beginning to crack. I looked up at our rack to see our stuffed lion shaking violently, "No...This cannot be!" The shaking subsided after a couple of seconds and that's when I realized yes, that was an earthquake!
News began to spread like wild fire that damage occurred in lower Manhattan (where my husband worked). Most cell phone services were down, but within record time, he came home. It was then that a pact was made: We live in a city where anything can happen. Should we ever find ourselves in the line of danger, we find a way to come home.
During Hurricane Sandy, a lot was to be deeply considered. Our subway system was over a hundred years old and had never endured salt water damage. Talks of Manhattanites being stranded on the island due to this potential malfunction was an issue that I didn't think was a crisis, however, I was curious. I have lived in areas that were threatened by hurricanes and it usually takes a while to rebuild areas that are deeply effected by their brutal impact.
My husband and I watched through our living room window, where the whole skyline of New Jersey went from beautifully lit to pitch black. We ran over to our bedroom window, that faced Broadway, to see people were still walking their dogs through the gusts of wind and rain. We were also thrilled to see that our grocery store was still open if we needed a midnight snack. As the wind and the lightning picked up, we decided that the best way to spend our time riding out this storm is to lie on the couch and watch "The Day After Tomorrow". Very Charles Addams of us, I'm sure, but hey, we had to find the humor, given the situation.
As for the aftermath, the subways were down for only a few days, but making limited stops. Although lower Manhattan suffered some some damage, people managed to work virtually. And as for me, the only way I was effected was the fact that I found it easier to walk the 50 blocks to and from work that week.
Around 7-ish on November 13, 2015, I was on the train trying to meet a client of mine on Wall Street, when suddenly, the trains were bypassing all stops leading to the Financial District. Before I knew it, I was walking from Tribeca all the way down to FiDi (Financial District), only to find out that Wall Street was completely blocked off. I'm texting my client to strategize a plan to meet him while in the meantime, I decided to ask my FB friends what was happening in New York. The responses were coming in that an attack had happened in Paris. Just then, my husband calls, his voice remained calm as he tells me that there are reports that there are potential threats in FiDi and Times Square. "Grab a cab and come home, now." I turn the corner to meet my client, my husband continued to stay on the phone with me until I was in a cab and dropped off in front of our building. Naturally, my main concern was touching base with all of my friends from France. Some them were in Paris at the time and just like my loved ones, here, time and distance had me worried. Once I knew my friends were okay, then so was I.
In other news, my safety, in New York, was never questioned as the authorities seized the streets to insure the safety of 8 million people.
This past Monday rumbled in with dark clouds and scattered rain. "More explosives were found at Elizabeth station," My husband announced, right before I had my first cup of coffee. That, I will admit, was a bit alarming considering that it is a stop to and from New York on the New Jersey transit, which we've taken ever so often.
But as I reported to work, I walked the streets filled with people, cops were on every corner and I realized this:
New York has seen so much and went through some of the most catastrophic attacks on our soil. Every threat brings a triumph...and it only makes us better.
Every time I've tripped and fall, someone is there to help me up and ask if I'm okay.
When I arrived for school in October of 2002, I was never lost because strangers would see the map I carried and would ask "Where do you need to go?" and would point me into the appropriate direction.
It doesn't surprise me that shortly after the bomb situation in Chelsea, last Saturday, people were showing up at the scene to provide police officers coffee as an appreciation for keeping us safe.
New Yorkers are just as compassionate as we are tough. It's not easy living here, the cost of rent and transportation continues to climb, jobs are becoming more competitive making the overall lifestyle very demanding.
But it has forced me to do my best, be my best, work hard, play hard, love hard. And whenever I feel knocked down, I know I can get back up, again. Why? Because I'm a New Yorker.
I live in a city of resilience and resilience is bestowed upon me.