Tag Archive | "9/11"

Bronx Borough President and members of the NYPD/FDNY take a photo

A Day Of Remembrance Commemorates The 144 Bronx Lives Lost On September 11

Members of the NYPD and FDNY gathered with Vanessa L. Gibson, Bronx Borough President at the annual Bronx 9/11 day of remembrance. Churchill Ndonwie for the Bronx Ink.

The Office of the Bronx Borough President and the Bronx Supreme Court co-hosted “A Day of Remembrance” on Tuesday, commemorating the lives of the 144 Bronx residents lost during the September 11 terrorist attacks. The event took place at Lou Gehrig Plaza where Vanessa L. Gibson, Bronx Borough President, was in attendance.

“Oftentimes, they say time heals all wounds but we know it does not. But guess what? We carry on in their honor, we carry on their legacy, because we are a living testament of what happens when we work together as a county and as a city and as a community,” said Gibson.

Members of the community who lost loved ones joined the ceremony.

Harry Powell, 76, a retired inspector for the New York Housing Authority lost his son, Brandon Powell, that day. Powell, 26, was a cook on the 122th floor of the North Tower. 

“At 4:30 in the morning, he left the house. And he was never late….he was always a pleasant kid. He gave me no trouble. I had texts from people as far as Japan, saying they liked his smile” Powell said. 

Powell was joined by his friend, Theresa Noel, 69, who also lost her son Curtis Terrance Noel. He was 22. His girlfriend Aisha Anne Harris died in the attacks as well. 

“That day when the plane hit the building, he told me that they were all okay but he lied to me. They were trapped, he didn’t tell me, so I didn’t know. 13 of them trapped in that office, perish,” Noel said as she grabbed a picture from his memorial service. “He kept us laughing,” she added. 

Also present were members of the NYPD, FDNY, community and religious leaders who all reinforced the importance of unity, community and togetherness. 

“This is as much a story of resilience as it is one of grief and loss,” said FDNY Commissioner Keechant. L. Sewell.

The names of the lives lost from the Bronx were read out loud, each followed by the ringing of a bell. 

“The deaths of our loved ones will never be in vain,” said Gibson.

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Firefighter from the Bronx commemorates 9/11 anniversary by helping flood victims

FDNY Captain Tom Yuneman spent the anniversary of 9/11 helping to relocate flood victims in Binghamton. The Daily News reports that Yuneman helped a 93-year old man whose home was destroyed find his wife. September 11 was their 64th wedding anniversary. “It made my day,” Yuneman said by phone on Monday. “Of all the days thatI could make him feel better. . . .”

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What Terror Threat?

What Terror Threat?

A woman speaks to a firefighter at Tercela Iglesia Bautista in the Bronx

Nonfe Garcia gives members of Ladder 17, Engine 60 crosses to thank them on the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Photo: Celia Llopis-Jepsen, Bronx Ink.

Bronx residents attending nine September 11 memorial services across the borough on Sunday said they were unfazed by the “credible, but unconfirmed” Department of  Homeland Security reports that al-Qaeda members were planning to use car or truck bombs against targets in New York City and the nation’s capital.

“I’m  not scared at all,”  said Paul Reverson, 18, who was attending a service at the Bronx Museum of Art on the Grand Concourse. Since terrorists haven’t struck New York since 2001, “they won’t do it today.”

Philipe Gaston, 22, whose cousin escaped from the Twin Towers ten years ago, said he felt secure because the city had ramped up its security operations over the years. “There have been so many changes as far as security is concerned,” said Gaston, who works at the information point of museum. “The security in New York just skyrocketed.”

On Friday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg informed city residents of the possible threat and urged everyone to be vigilant. “Over the next few days,” Bloomberg said, “we should all keep our eyes wide open.”

In response, Gov. Andrew Cuomo added what he called “a significant increase” in state police officers to the city.  The effect was felt in Manhattan, as security checkpoints set up by the New York Police Department brought traffic around midtown to a virtual standstill.

No roads were closed in the Bronx, however.

Amidst the extra security, Suzanne Russell and her husband gathered in Melrose at Engine Company 71, Ladder 55 to honor the nearly 3,000 victims, including 143 Bronxites,  who died ten years ago in the World Trade Center attacks. When asked about the possible threat, Russell said that no matter what happened she’d be fine as long her firefighter husband was at her side.

“Terror alerts won’t bother me this morning,” Russell said. “This time I have my husband with me. Waiting for the phone call would’ve been the worst part. But for now, we’re all together.”

Julio Gonzalez, a pastor at Tercera Iglesia Bautista Espanola in Mott Haven, gave a more spiritual response.

“We all carry the fear of another attack like 9/11,” said Rev. Gonzalez.  “But we have faith in God.”

Additional reporting by Celia Llopis-Jepsen, Diane Jeantet, and Janet Upadhye contributed to this report. 

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Top Stories of the Day

New York flexes security muscle to foil 9/11 plot

Anti-terrorist security has been beefed up across New York, in an emphatic response to a possible car bombing on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. A New York Daily News report, based on “specific and credible” info, claims that the plot involves three veteran terrorists – one possibly with an American passport – approved by Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri. It also quotes investigators saying that names of all three were known, but they were too common to provide much direction.

After 9/11, Anthrax Day in the Bronx

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will declare September 14 as Anthrax Day in the Bronx, The Bronx Times reports, when the band performs with heavy metal’s Big Four at Yankees Stadium on Wednesday night. Anthrax features three native Bronxites – Charlie Benante and Frank Bello from Throgs Neck, and Rob Caggiano from Pelham Parkway. But a Yahoo Music Blog points out that just four days later, on September 18, it will be the 10th anniversary of the anthrax attacks that killed five people in the days following 9/11.

She stuffed him in suitcase, stole his checks

Monique Exum, the woman who ‘buried’ her 73-year-old boyfriend in a suitcase, is now believed to have done it for the money. The New York Daily News reports that Exum, 36, stole Johnny Davis’ Social Security checks and bank funds for three months, till his packed corpse was discovered in Williamsbridge on Sunday.

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Top Stories of the Day

Man found stabbed to death in Bronx home

A 44-year-old man’s body was discovered around Thursday afternoon, the New York Daily News reports, at his apartment on W. 167th St. in the Bronx. Police said the man, whose name was not immediately released, had multiple stab wounds. They were alerted by a woman who worked with the victim in a clothing business, after she did not hear from him in days.

‘Credible’ terror threat on 9/11 anniversary

There is a “specific, credible, but unconfirmed threat” of a possible al-Qaeda-sponsored attack in New York on or near the anniversary of 9/11, Bloomberg.com quoted a U.S. Department of Homeland Security spokesman as saying on Thursday. The statement said the attack could be vehicle-borne, possibly bigger than car or truck bombing at a transportation hub or bottleneck in the city.

School year starts with layoffs, cutbacks

As more than 1 million city students returned to school on Thursday, their parents and teachers worried over the cuts to public schools, School budgets have been slashed by more than 10% since 2007, says a New York Daily News report. That has translated to 2,600 fewer teachers for 10,000 more students expected to enroll this year. Principal Anna Hall, at the Bronx Academy of Letters, too has been forced to cut after-school programs and is short of even basic supplies.


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The Bronx Remembers 9/11

The Bronx Remembers 9/11

Ten years ago, nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon along with the crash of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa.

The lives of many New Yorkers were never the same after Sept. 11, 2001.

In the Bronx, at least 143 residents were reported killed. The loss extends beyond immediate family members and friends of the victims. The Bronx Ink interviewed residents who were also deeply affected by the attacks. One Bronx firefighter shares his experience at Ground Zero. A police officer describes the horror at the scene. Still another, a Palestinian refugee from Jordan, talks about his change of heart after being rebuked by his mother.

Hear these voices from the Bronx as they share their memories.


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Bin Laden’s killing in Pakistan leaves Pakistani community in the Bronx shocked

By Sana Gulzar

Almost a week after the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden in the city of Abbottabad in Pakistan, Pakistani residents in the Bronx have been left disillusioned and worried.

At one of the very few Pakistani restaurants near Pelham Parkway in the Bronx, many Pakistani Bronx residents watched a Pakistani news channel  analyzing Bin Laden’s death. While all eyes in the restaurant were glued to the widescreen television showing images of Osama bin Laden’s compound, an awkward silence pervaded the room.

Many felt relieved at Osama bin Laden’s death. But when approached for comment, they had little or nothing to say about it. Embarrassed, shocked and angry at the presence of the 9/11 mastermind only a couple of miles away from the Pakistan Military Academy in a settled Pakistani town and worried about their country’s future, many seemed reluctant to talk about this sensitive issue. And the few patrons who did share their view were uncomfortable having their names published.

“Being a Pakistani, this was shocking—that he was in Pakistan and that too in Abbottabad,” said a Pakistani post-doctoral research fellow living in the Bronx, who spoke to us on the condition of anonymity.

Those who did express their opinion said that the silence of the Pakistani government about the issue made matters worse. Some even said that the government of Pakistan should have taken its people living inside Pakistan and abroad into confidence immediately after the news came out.

“Our leaders could not protect their own image,” said the post-doctoral research fellow. “It has created a bad image in the U.S.”

As in Pakistan, conspiracy theories are circulating and questions are being raised here about the role of the Pakistani military and the premier intelligence agency, the ISI. Many are also questioning the Pakistani military’s capability to protect its borders, as the presence of U.S. troops within Pakistan went undetected.

“How is it that another country’s troops came in and they did not know about it,” said Muhammad Anwar, a Pakistani taxi driver living in the Bronx for 21 years and one of the few Pakistanis interviewed that was willing to give his name. “Although the killing of Osama bin Laden was a good thing, they should have reacted.”

While some in the restaurant seemed to agree that what happened was a major intelligence failure for the Pakistani military, they were skeptical about the allegations that the military knew about Bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan and played a double role.

“There might be a few at the lower level, like there are everywhere in the world, who sympathize with Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, but why blame the whole Pakistan army and the ISI,” said the research fellow.

As the debate over Osama bin Laden’s killing rages on and the details come in, the Pakistani community in the Bronx, anxious and worried about the future of their country and its relationship with the United States, is mostly silent for now.

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Skulls and Rosaries

Audio slideshow by Elettra Fiumi and David Patrick Alexander.

A local Soundview botanica owner counts on days like Saint Michael’s Day on September 29th to boost his flagging business.

“People aren’t going to the saints as much as before,” said John Santiago, owner of the Botanica store, which manages to maintain a steady revenue of approximately $53,000 per year. His is one of the last standing local botanicas. Three others closed down in the last year.

In a city still trying to recover from high jobless rates and a global economic collapse, this Botanica maintains a faithful clientele by offering religious tidbits of advice and a little generosity alongside wooden crucifixes, or bath soap that wards off evil. When someone in need can’t afford to buy something, he might give them a candle for free.

Santiago said sales of merchandise that includes skulls, rosaries and candles have gone down since the 1980s except for a brief surge around 9/11.

“People were getting scared and thinking they were going to die so they should clean their souls,” he said. “People only believe when something tragic happens.”

Sales increase drastically mostly around religious days like the day after Halloween, Christmas day and New Year’s Eve. Most clients don’t remember other saint days throughout the year, but when Santiago reminds them, he recalls them thanking him by giving him “muchos blessings.”

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