Joe Maller.com

9/11/2010

This year the forgetting is almost palpable. More and more, the people living here moved to a city without towers. For the past month, at least, recriminations about the idiotic Ground Zero mosque have overshadowed the events of September 11th and crowded out the memory of the people who lost their lives.

On the sidewalk outside the firehouse, Flight 11 at 8:46 and Flight 175 at 9:03 are remembered with moments of silence. The fall of the South Tower at 9:59 and then the North Tower at 10:28 are marked with silence and bagpipes.

Bagpipes. The perfect sound of sadness and longing.

102 minutes. So much time has passed.

Previous 9/11s: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009.


Running with Chris McDougall and BarefootNYC

On Wedneday August 11th, I joined about 70 other people and ran from Harlem to Brooklyn with Chris McDougall, author of Born to Run. It was an awesome afternoon.

I wasn’t able to stay for Chris’s book reading at Word in Greenpoint, but the few minutes I got to talk with him confirmed what I’d suspected: When Chris said he was “infected with a spirit of camaraderie and fun” I’m certain he was talking about himself. He’s a genuine, kind and patient person who gave freely of his time and knowledge and who runs for the pure human joy of it. He’s also whip-smart. (and almost as tall as me)

I was really nervous beforehand, not even committing to my Vibram FiveFingers until I was walking out the door. My nerves were misplaced however, this was definitely not a race, and the people running were interesting, supportive and just generally wonderful. The pace was relaxed and comfortable enough that I spent a good deal of time talking to other runners. The group also stopped several times along the way to rest and gather everyone back up. Even though the distance was 3+ miles longer than I’d ever done near-barefoot, my muscles, bones and joints were fine. I did pick up a blister on the ball of my left foot, but nothing that will hamper me in the Bronx Half-Marathon on Sunday.

At the end, A handful of us were sitting with our bare feet in the playground sprinkler on Franklin and Noble. The sun was behind the buildings, and as we talked there was a wonderful, peaceful feeling of accomplishment and community.

Addendum:
Organizer John Durant posted a bunch of photos.

NY Post reporter Susannah Calahan did the run with us and the Post posted this video:

NBC Universal Sports reporter Matt Stroup also ran with us: Barefoot run NYC: The Christopher McDougall experience. Apparently no one warned him about how long it takes to strengthen the calves, I bet he isn’t able to walk down stairs for a week.

CBS News was there too:

Barefoot Fresca: Photos From the NYC “Born to Run” Barefoot Running Event

Barefoot Running with Chris McDougall – a set on Flickr


9/11/2009

The night of September 10th I went for a run, instead of my usual route, I ran downtown to Ground Zero. Amid the street closings, barricades and police, an overnight fire crew was walking slowly up Church Street with a large wreath. My eyes filled with tears and I could do nothing except kept going.

The fire station across 14th Street from our apartment, Engine 5, gathers on the sidewalk in front of the station for four moments of silence each year. I would imagine most stations do the same.

8:46am is always the hardest. That’s when everything floods back. Each of the following moments gets a little easier, but this is when the memories of images and smells and feelings are nearly overwhelming.

9:03am was the moment we knew Flight 11 was no accident, but that distinction and those 17 minutes of residual innocence have been lost to time.

At 9:59 the South Tower fell and one of the city’s mountains vanished, we knew things would never, ever be like they were.

By 10:28, many of the emotions have washed out, grief and awe give way to genuine feelings of thanks and respect.

Previous 9/11s: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008.


Mee Noodle Shop building finally comes down.

Mee Noodle Shop building finally comes down.

joe

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Seven years on

I’m surprised at how emotional I was this morning. My older daughter was born 6 months and 8 days after September 11th. Today she and her younger sister are both in school. I think this is the first year I’ve been alone for the entire morning.

Walking my younger daughter to preschool this morning, we stopped as the firemen of Engine 5 pulled the truck out of the station a little and stood silently to commemorate Flight 11 at 8:45. I tried to explain to her why we were waiting for them — with them — but I had no voice. Those men and women dwarf me, every day they’re a reminder of what true heroism looks like. I feel lucky that my window looks out on their station.

There was a bagpiper at the station, as the firefighters stood in remembrance of the South Tower falling at 10:05 am, the bagpiper played Amazing Grace. At 10:28 am he started with Amazing Grace and switched into America The Beautiful.

Previous 9/11s: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006. I don’t know why I didn’t post anything last year.


Running for my mom, and the cure.

Three weeks ago my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Last week, she became a survivor.

In honor of my mom, this Sunday, September 14th, I will be running in my first race, the Komen Foundation’s NYC Race For The Cure. Please consider making a donation, no amount is too small.

Update: The race was an amazing event, possibly the biggest crowd I’ve ever been a part of. It was also incredibly emotional and inspiring.

Thanks to everyone who donated, we raised over $1,600 in less than a week!


I’m rich with drug stores.

If New York City can’t have a bank on every corner, we definitely need a drug store every 300 feet.

new Duane Reade

Duane Reade will soon open a new store on the ground floor of my building. That makes at least seven drug stores within about a quarter mile of my front door. If I went out to a half mile, that number would easily triple. While this isn’t quite Greenpoint Avenue Rite Aid silly, I think we’re covered in the drug store department.

Here’s a map showing all the drug stores within a quarter mile of my apartment:


View Larger Map

And their approximate distances:

New Duane Reade
50 feet
Old Duane Reade (across 14th St)
240 feet
CVS (around the corner on First Ave)
375 feet
Walgreens (the old Elm Drug on First)
1060 feet
Duane Reade (Third Ave & 14th)
1120 feet
Rite Aid (14th btw Ave A & Ave B)
1280 feet
Duane Reade (Third Ave & 18th St)
1840 feet

It’s remarkable how Duane Reade turned this space around, it seems like about a month since they started construction and they’ve started stocking the shelves already. The Walgreen’s at Astor Square (2700 feet away) took far, far longer to open and the space was undoubtedly in better shape, the old Gristedes was a stinking, filthy wreck.



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