N.Y. Grapples With Terror Threat, Stiff Security
The seeming dissonance in the official messages has worn on many residents, quite a few of whom have come to discern a political agenda in such alerts.
Richard Murdock rode the F-line subway into Brooklyn on Sunday, studiously unconcerned about the hubbub around him. "I wonder if it has anything to do with this," he said, pointing to a newspaper headline that President Bush was readying new political ads attacking Democratic nominee John F. Kerry. "I believe this is all about politics and fear and creating a climate. I have zero worries."
In Manhattan, architect Beth Miller lives and works near the New York Stock Exchange. "It's one of the ploys by the Republicans to take attention away from the stupidity of what they are doing," Miller said. "It's a media frenzy. You can get hit by an air conditioner falling out of a window."
The view of official government motives was no brighter in Newark, where vendors passed a sultry Sunday selling bootleg DVDs of "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "The Manchurian Candidate." "I don't believe it," Jamil Smith, a salesman, said of the terror alerts. "It's President Bush trying to win the election."
Toni Dolce, 25, lives in Lower Manhattan above Fraunces Tavern, where Gen. George Washington bade farewell to his officers after the Revolution. She and four friends split a $3,000 monthly rent and she digs the neighborhood. She shakes her head when asked whether anything would persuade her to leave.
"Only the second coming of Christ," she said. "We see the dregs of the earth on the subways and the sidewalks. We have such a nonchalant attitude."
Still, not all are so sanguine about the risk. Ben Eubanks, 29, a chef, lives in the Exchange, an old financial district office building converted into residential quarters. His parents called earlier Sunday, and he admits to a few jitters.
"Clearly, it's pretty discomforting given that [the Stock Exchange] is right across the street," he said. "If you live in New York, you understand this every day, the threat."
A few moments later, Frank Porro, a young computer consultant, walks out of the Exchange. He shrugs when asked about bombs. He knows a risk attends to life here.
"Everyone knows it's . . . a target since 9/11," he said, adding that his strategy is to "get out [of his apartment] early and come back late."
Porro had a friend visiting Sunday. "I told him to go do some sightseeing -- uptown."
Staff writers Dale Russakoff in Newark and Ben White in New York contributed to this report.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
A security guard stands outside the New York Stock Exchange. Officials warned of possible terrorist attacks against iconic financial institutions.
(Tina Fineberg -- AP)
Transcript: Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge raises the terror alert level to orange for select financial services buildings in Washington, New York and Newark.
Ridge on Threats: The federal government warned Sunday of possible terrorist attacks, saying a confluence of intelligence over the weekend pointed to a car or truck bomb.
Washington and N.Y. Put on Alert (The Washington Post, Aug 2, 2004)
Pakistani-U.S. Raid Uncovered Terrorist Cell's Surveillance Data (The Washington Post, Aug 2, 2004)
Police Plan Traffic Stops Near IMF and World Bank (The Washington Post, Aug 2, 2004)
Agencies Shared Intelligence That Led to New Alert (The Washington Post, Aug 2, 2004)
On Wall Street, Business as Usual But Tighter Security (The Washington Post, Aug 2, 2004)