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The Experience of the 9/11 Attack Lives In All of Us

Photo by Michael Foran, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
A few days before 9/11, my father died. On September 3rd, I was at the world science fiction convention in Philly and got a call to come back to Cincinnati. That I did and on the morning of the attack, I was coping with my mother coping with his death.
There I was watching the TV, planning my flight back to New York when I saw the first tower burning, smoke billowing out everywhere. It was unbelievable. Then the second plane struck and I was as speechless as nearly everyone else throughout the world.
Though I didn’t know it consciously at the time, that attack was life-changing for millions, maybe billions — as much in some ways as for those at the site or in the immediate area. I was stunned and not sure how to deal with such devastation.
There, in Ohio, I was helpless to respond in any meaningful way. Or so I thought.
Ultimately, it was a personally life-altering event. It changed my career path and changed me philosophically, as a writer, a thinker and as creator. I had written primarily about music, interviewing musicians, producers, and the like. But at that moment, I picked up the phone and called a newspaper editor  who had asked me to write a media column.
I told him I would write about the coverage of 9/11 as it was viewed from afar and on the TV.
After three weeks, I came back to Manhattan and haven’t returned to Cincinnati since.
At the time, I had an office near the site. Acrid smoke still permeated the air even after I returned three weeks later. The poisonous air quality was so bad I didn’t go back to the office for months. I even received some 9/11 funds to cover the rent since it was impossible to return.
I did visit the location and, as a result, transformed the media column into a platform for covering indie film, political events and much more. As a journalist, I was able to go to the site when President Bush visited it and see the destruction up-close. 
I shifted from print to online media work. I became a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and launched my own website. I was now a full fledged master of the internet, less concerned with collecting clippings and more concerned with URLs.
Without boring you about my personal history any longer, I have to ask, 20 years later where am I? 
I was reborn into communicating through this new form — cyberspace. I now exist in the digital stream. And with Covid 19 accelerating a process that had been underway, we are using the online pipeline more than ever.
So where are the rest of us?
The war in Afghanistan is over — however well it was executed or not. There is a whole generation of Gen-Zers who never knew the world as it was before. Many were born around the time of the attack and have never known the previous world.
In a way, 9/11 became a dividing line for so many things in the arts, politics and our culture. Multi-culturalism is in play, Gay life is as much a part of daily activity as anything else and the idea of traveling into space doesn’t seem so remote anymore. 
With this 20th anniversary at hand, it behooves all of us to take a moment of reflection and think, how did that attack affect me? — not just politically, but spiritually as well.

So please, let this occasion change us once more.

Dance & Nature Come Together at The Power of Niagara

Located on New York’s Niagara Gorge, Artpark combines New York’s natural beauty and the arts. Managed by the independent nonprofit Artpark & Co, Artpark has outdoor music and art events across its 110+ acres of land. As part of their summer slate of events, Artpark announced a performance of “The Power of Niagara'' by the Jon Lehrer Dance Company on July 17, 2021 at 8pm on the site of Artpark Gene Davis “Niagara 1979” Painted Lot. The internationally renowned Jon Lehrer Dance Company (JLDC) will put on a world premiere performance inspired by the power and majesty of Niagara. The Artpark summer season runs through September 15, 2021 and includes performances from bands such as King Crimson, art camps, the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, plays, and more.

Tickets for the event are $10 and are available at the Artpark Box Office (Fri/Sat 10AM-4PM) and

To learn more, go to:

The Power of Niagara
July 17, 2021

NYC Restaurant Week To Go: NYC Cuisine at Your Door

Needless to say, eating out isn’t what it used to be. Luckily New York Restaurant Week is still carrying on with NYC Restaurant Week To Go, encouraging New Yorkers to order out from businesses across the boroughs. From January 25 to February 7, restaurants are offering specials priced at $20.21. Ramen, bistro, dim-sum, burgers and beyond at your doorstep and supporting local businesses.

Participating restaurants include:

  • Cafe D'Alsace
  • Shinbashi 72
  • Ivan Ramen
  • Mercadito by Eleva & Porteñas
  • 67 Orange Street
  • Kombit Restaurant
  • Sonnyboy
  • Katz’s
  • Noreetuh

And many more!

To learn more, go to:

NYC Restaurant Week To Go
January 25 - February 7, 2021

Mourning 9/11 in the Time of Covid


Nearly 20 years ago, the attack on the World Trade Center seemed like the greatest world-shattering event people would experience in their lifetime. Two planes piloted by hijackers slammed into the Twin Towers, killing nearly 3000 people, bringing down the two buildings and spreading cancer-inducing dust into the lungs of thousands of first-responders. For many Americans — especially New Yorkers — the devastation was unlike anything this country had ever seen and prompted 20 years of war in the Middle East.

Then came the coronavirus, Covid 19, the ultimate disrupter, which has overshadowed in many ways, how one world-shattering event changed our lives because this cataclysmic event had such global ramifications.

Accordingly, it has also disrupted remembrances for 9/11 this year. After months of being shuttered, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum is reopening but there was doubt as to whether the annual remembrance would take place as it had been for the last two decades. So it is holding a COVID-conscious observance using pre-recorded audio of family members reading the names of loved ones rather than the usual live readings.

When the 9/11 Memorial announced that it would also cancel its Tribute In Light — where beams are shined into the sky to resemble the Twin Towers -- it raised hackles and stirred the bile. Officials said the tribute would put stagehands and electricians needed to install the 88 lights at risk. But, in response to a national outcry — which embarrassed former Mayor Michael Bloomberg — who chairs the 9/11 Memorial — and Gov. Andrew Coumo, the 9/11 Memorial then agreed to erect the lights after all, suddenly saying it could be done safely.

Meanwhile, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation -- which organizes an annual run to raise money for 9/11 survivors and first-responders -- is featuring live readings in a separate, simultaneous event a short distance from the Ground Zero memorial. Its ceremony takes place at the corner of Liberty and Church streets, next to Zuccotti Park — where the victims’ names were read aloud before the ceremony was moved to the 9/11 memorial in 2014.

Both events will ring bells and observe six moments of silence at the exact times when the hijacked planes crashed into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pa., and when each tower fell. 297 family members volunteered with Siller to read the names live.

Traditionally, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum has chosen the readers of the names of 2,983 men, women and children killed on 9/11, along with those who perished in the 1993 WTC bombing. But now we have these recordings — to be piped into the memorial plaza — originally produced to be played in the museum’s “In Memoriam” exhibit, which displays photos of the victims.

The memorial has invited 6,100 family members to attend its ceremony; all will be required to wear masks and maintain social distancing. So even with the occasion of recalling 9/11, the pandemic trumps terrorism.

All this brouhaha proves that this global assault has restructured our way of life in a fashion that the localized tragedy of the Twin Towers attack could never do. And because of that, we now have to find a way to restructure our lives in ways we never could have expected in 2001. Maybe the hope that we would become so much better people after 9/11 -- which didn't seem to have happened -- will finally come into play thanks to the world having slipped into the Corona-verse.

Memorial services will be streamed online:



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