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New York one year later chat

On Tuesday, Sept. 11, Globe reporter Tatsha Robertson chatted from New York about the mood of the city one year after the terrorist attack.

cgasper (Moderator)
Tatsha will be in the room in a moment, but please feel free to start sending in your questions. Thanks.
Tatsha Robertson
Hello, everyone I am Tatsha Robertson. I am in New York right now , very close to Ground Zero. Looking forward to chatting with you.
Tatsha Robertson
Please send in your questions
'Are there still crowds flocking to Ground Zero?
Tatsha Robertson
Yes, there are hundreds of people still flowing to Ground Zero. People from all over the world. They usually walk in silence.
Are there still crowds flocking to Ground Zero?
Tatsha Robertson
There are hundreds of people still flocking to Ground Zero. They come from all over the world. They walk in complete silence, some take pictures. Its pretty eerie.
Having visited Ground Zero in April, I was appalled at the way some treated it as a tourist area; not to mention the opportunists hawking their wares. With the anniversary upon us, do you find people being more respectful to what happened there?
Tatsha Robertson
I do find people are more respectful as the anniversary draws near. Still, there are vendors out in front selling t-shirts and goods. That is difficult to see but it is nice to see so many people from all over the world walking in complete silence and looking over at the pit that was once the towers,
Tatsha, does the city seem to be quieter today compared to days earlier?
Tatsha Robertson
That is a good question, but the truth is the city is busy as ever. Especially here in Battery Park City where so many reporters are working. Also, you still have the Wall Street crowd and taxis everywhere.
How is the mood at ground zero? Also how are people reacting to media coverage at the site?
Tatsha Robertson
I just arrived but I talked to some people yesterday who live in Battery Park City. They expected the media coverage but all the vans remind them of that day. It is all coming back - you know 9000 people in Battery Park City alone - that's residents - fled that day.They are just getting back to normal but this brings it back memories.
i dont understand why so many new yorkers were offended that the US reps were in town last week to pay their respects and have a memorial type service. i think if they had NOT come, it would have been seen as negative too. what were your thoughts?
Tatsha Robertson
It is hard to say why they were so offended. I guess if you are a New Yorker you can't help but take things very personally. Many people believed the reps were using it as a political tool or a photo opportunity.
What about the smell? Is the eerie smell still there as it was in April? If so, can you try to describe it for those who haven't been?
Tatsha Robertson
That is good question. I was here on Sept 11th so I remember that smell - like burned tires but that smell is gone now. Atleast to many. As you know, though, residents in the area are still afraid that the environment is not safe. If you read the story that I wrote today, the husband and wife in the piece use an industrial purifier in their Battery Park City apartment.
Do people seem nervous being near the site so close to the anniversary of the attacks?
Tatsha Robertson
It's hard to say if people seem nervous. They are here but I guess there is a bit of an unnerving feeling. Everyone looks up when a plane flies by but you know people are trucking on.
one thing struck me today in the NY Times coverage of a victim that is JUST getting out of the hospital. She said that they are still in the middle of it and it seems too soon to be looking back. I feel that way sometimes also.
Tatsha Robertson
I read the story. The woman in the story was still in the hospital therefore her story still goes on. However, I believe family members of the dead see this as an anniversary. What is interesting about your question is this: There is a big controversy going on among New Yorkers - some believe it is just too early to began looking back.
What is the most touching thing you've seen and/or heard while being in new york?
Tatsha Robertson
There are so many things that I have heard and seen. I dont know where to start. I guess the most touching thing would be the twin sister of a woman who died. She is in the today's story. She looks identical to her sister. People come up to her and they want to believe that her sister is not dead, that by some miracle she survived. But the twin that is living - takes a breath and she tells them that her sister is gone. It was something to imagine walking around new york when your face is a reminder.
Are there any plans for a memorial service at the site tomorrow?
Tatsha Robertson
There will be memorials going on all over new york - from sun up to sun down - in brooklyn, in manhattan, in the rockaways, in the bronx. There will be bappipes and the names of all the victims read aloud. There is too much to describe. It will be a busy and sad day.
Building a little on Tims question-What is your sense of the economic recovery of downtown NY? I have heard a few vendors defend their choice to sell disaster mementos as the only way they can survive.
Tatsha Robertson
My sense is - it going to take a very long time to recover in Downtown. some businesses are close for good, 100,000 people lost jobs, mom and pop stores are hanging on by a thread or shutting down. However, thousands of people have moved back to Battery Park City and the big corporations are moving back. Still, there is a lot to do and who knows how long it will take. Some companies have moved across the border to New Jersey. Downtown is still bustling but some areas fill abandoned.
One of the things that touched me most that day that I saw again the other day was when the CNN reporter was interviewing the son of the window washer..and could no longer contain herself on camera. What kind of effect does covering such an even have on you as a reporter?
Tatsha Robertson
It was hard on Sept. 11. I have covered many things - floods and fires but nothing like this. I know many reporters who were depressed after returning from new York. My family called the Boston Globe worried about me. We were all wondering what is going to happen next. For me, this story made me realize just how important life is and just how important it is to tell the story correctly and to be honest and true. But to be honest, sometimes it really hits you and you realize the devastation behind this story.
How are the school children in the area doing? Has there been much follow up on how they will remember the day as well as the other school children in NYC?
Tatsha Robertson
The kids are hurting. Many many children have lost a parent. In Rockaway, a section of Queens - some 70 residents died when the towers crumbled. So there are alot of lonely children. However, a psychologist in queens told me that they feel better knowing that other children can relate to their pain. Schools are incorporating Sept. 11th in their studies and the children are making pilgrimages to Ground zero. But to answer your question - it it is very hard for the young.
I'm going to NYC this weekend unrelated to the anniversary, but if you could suggest one thing that I see or do to pay my respects since it is so close to the anniversary, what would that be?
Tatsha Robertson
I would say go Ground Zero. It is something I just think people should do. Pay your respects there. Leave flowers by the wall where people have posted pictures of their loved ones. But spend spend spend - that will also help New York City - America's greatest city thrive again. Hit the stores, the restaurants, buy something from the vendors. It will all count.
I am fearful of the future, I keep thinking about tomorrow morning! I can't believe a year has passed. I thought that we would have won the war on terriorism by now. Sadly, we only have just begun it!
bonner; when I was in NYC, I had second thoughts of even going down there. When I finally did so; I found just walking around the church with all the signs to be incredibly moving. You don't need to waste your time on the deck; at this point and time it just looks like a construction site. Walking around, seeing the damaged buidings still standing...and if you had been there before the absolute space where the gigantic buidings used to be is sure to put a lump in your throat...
I was in NYC 3 weeks ago (I just found solace in walking around battery park) and being with the natural state of the city). Battery park is a beautiful place, much like the waterfront here in boston
Tatsha Robertson
I hear your loud and clear. I think we all are afraid of the future. What is next, will it happen again, what does this warning really mean? It's hard. It is really hard. But I don't think we should allow our fears to stop us from living. My job is to fly across the country and find stories. Everytime I get on a plane - it is a bit scary but i can't live my life afraid. So I just keep doing what I love and I love to write and love to travel and love to find stories.
cgasper (Moderator)
Tatsha has time to answer one more question.
thanks tasha. may God bless you
cgasper (Moderator)
Anybody have any last questions?
Are you going to or have you already put flowers down?and how are you going to remember 9/11?
Tatsha Robertson
Well, I will be on the job and so this will surround me. But I will definitely say a little prayer for those who died. The truth is, I can never forget what happened on Sept. 11. Never I want to thank everyone for chatting with me. Please continue to email me with story ideas. I have to dash out of the hotel and get our press passes in city hall. It's a mad dash. But again, thank you. Your questions were great and keep reading us. Later, T
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