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From Cincinnati to New York — Remembering 9/11

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This article was originally written shortly after the events of 9/11.

I was born in Youngstown Ohio, primarily raised in Cincinnati and flourished as a writer and editor in New York City. When the World Trade Center was hit by terrorists using commercial jets, I was in Cincinnati dealing with the aftermath of my father’s death.

Two hours after the attack. At 9 a.m. on Sept. 11, I see a part of my world destroyed on Good Morning America, when I watch the second airliner hit one building of the World Trade Center.

I have an office in Tribeca, downtown Manhattan, less than 20 blocks away. I have friends who work down by the World Trade Center. Some business associates have offices near the building.

Since I’ve been in Cincinnati dealing with my dad’s funeral, I’m there as I normally would have been. What’s happening downtown seemed all the more unreal.

I get on the phone. I don’t know what else to do. Is photographer Roger Wong, my office mate, running down the street to take pictures when that plane crashed? I can’t get through to his cell.

I call Nick Giordano at the Digital Evolution office on Fulton Street, six blocks away from the base of the World Trade Center. I got him on the phone. “Are you alright,” I ask.

“You can’t believe it,” Nick says. “I was standing out there when the second plane hit. I could feel the pressure of the explosion hit me. It was like nothing you could ever believe. I don’t know what to do — stay in the office or go out on the street.”

Ironically, the worst part of it all is that I want to be back in New York, to help, to work, to save people — and to mourn. 

What feeling of impotence I feel. It’s what everyone must be feeling.

I slowly find out that friends and business associates are safe. Roger leaves word that he’s OK.

But I have no idea when I’ll find out about others in the days to come. What will I find when I return?

The following day. Though my roots are in Cincinnati, my life for the last 20 years has been in New York. But New York is no longer the place I left it a week ago. Life in the city has been irrevocably changed in the most disastrous way possible.

When the World Trade Center buildings were attacked and destroyed, I was here handling the details of a death. Now I have a massive scenario of death to return to. I have no respite either way.

As soon as I saw the disaster unfold, I began making calls. I mostly got answering machines and urgently left messages asking if everyone was alright.

I reached my friend Rob Hambrecht, a fellow dweller of my Upper East Side apartment building, another transplanted Cincinnatian. Both of us have been through a lot over the years in order to maintain our foothold in Manhattan.

“I can see hundreds of people walking north on Third Avenue,” he reports. “It’s like a total exodus here.”

We don’t want to stay on the phone — by now word is out throughout the world and calls and emails are flowing in. He wants to give blood, and I want to keep the phone open for callbacks.

My friend Vicki calls. She got her kids from school.

I get a hold of an ex-girlfriend who lives in the West Village near Hudson with a solid view of the WTC. “I saw the building collapse while I was getting my daughter from her school,” she says. “It seemed like it happened in slow motion. It was unbelievable.”

I feel trapped here in Cincinnati, numb and pained, impotent, disconnected to my life in the city at the center of the cultural and economical life of the planet.

Should I be on a bus on the way home to see first-hand what’s happened to my city? I can’t even begin to consider where I can go. All I can do is stare and try not to look into the future.

Three days later. I’m watching ABC’s Connie Chung interviewing Howard Lutnick, the CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald. The company is the top exchange for the world’s bond markets and had its headquarters in the WTC.

Lutnick is crying about the loss of his 700 employees, including his brother, and how he escaped death himself. He is crying about how he can’t kiss his kids without thinking about those who died. He wants to go to work to do something, and then he thinks of all the funerals he’ll attend and breaks out crying.

His staff at other Cantor Fitzgerald locations decide to open back up, even against his vote otherwise. They want to maintain life as it’s been.

But life is no longer as it was. Throughout the world, people have set up memorials. The networks are broadcasting around the clock commercial-free.

People wave the flag everywhere and continue to make the same mistakes as they struggle to establish new rules of accountability to prevent this again.

But the destruction of the World Trade Center has already happened. So many unanswered questions arise as a result. And the most obvious one is how will we change our lives afterwards? Will we recognize who the enemy really is — not just someone who prays to Allah or has a Middle Eastern name? There are people with such names who are Christian, Animist or even Eastern Orthodox.

Five days later. I get an email alerting me to the following transcript of remarks by preacher Jerry Falwell on Pat Robertson’s The 700 Club: “The ACLU’s got to take a lot of blame for this. And I know that I’ll hear from them about this. But throwing God or successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this, because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad.

“I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.’ “

What does Falwell have to say about a good, Christian, right-wing boy like Tim McVeigh? Where are the calls making slurs about the white separatists and other right-wing groups who support equally heinous acts against the United States? We lash out against phantoms such as Osama bin Laden and Sadaam Hussein but tolerate the Falwells and Robertsons who express equally sick fundamentalist religious views.

Word has it that Bin Laden and his associates profited on the tragedy by buying short on shares of reinsurance companies who would have to pay off on all the damages. And we rushed to open the New York Stock Exchange.

My friend Bruce calls. He says that everybody feels different, that there’s some kind of movement afoot, that the world has been changed irrevocably. I’ve had days of constant television exposure, but it’s not the same as being there able to play my part in the change of life and culture.

“Maybe this will force a shift from a culture of money to a culture of life,” I say.

I’m off to see the world premiere of Charles Coleman’s Streetscape by Paavo Jarvi’s Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. It’s based on Coleman’s meditations on life in the city of New York.

The opening section captures the energy of the streets alive with people — horns and strings incessantly interact with percussion swinging with a syncopation not dissimilar to Jazz — and then comes crashing to a halt. A bridge section provides a quiet expressed melancholy, resolved with the next section that surges back up to reflect the energetic life of the city.

This soaring rendition staged by such a fine orchestra seems like a fitting wrap on such a week of anguish. Maybe going out tonight provides more than a simple diversion. In the city where I was raised, I’ve just heard a soundtrack for restoring life in the city I now call my home.

Events

Memorial Day Playlist

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As you lay out by the pool, the beach, Central Park or on the sidelines of a parade, T2C offers you music to celebrate and get you in the mood.

 

 

 

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Events

Happy Memorial Day From T2C

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We at T2C honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. 

Did you know? Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.

The Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries.  

On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, was designated for the purpose of strewing flowers and decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. 

On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. 

In 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day.

We leave you with these thoughts 

“And for what did they die? For something money cannot buy… that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

God Bless America

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Broadway

The Outer Critics Circle (OCC) Awards And You Are There Part 2

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Yesterday we gave you part 1 of The Outer Critics Circle (OCC), awards ceremony held at the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center’s New York Public Library for The Performing Arts 111 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC).

In this part Steve Guttenberg gives the award to Outstanding Featured Performer in an Off-Broadway Play: Jay O. Sanders – Primary Trust


Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Musical:
 Andrew Durand  Dead Outlaw

Current President David Gordon introduced Andrea Martin who gave away the awards for Outstanding Direction of a Musical: Jessica Stone – Water for Elephants

A special award was given to Harry Haun longtime OCC member who served on the board as well.

Outstanding Choreography (Broadway or Off-Broadway):Justin Peck —Illinoise

And the tie for Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Play: William Jackson Harper, Primary Trust

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play: Primary Trust

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical: Dead Outlaw

Kelechi Watson presented the awards for Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Musical: Kecia Lewis  Hell’s Kitchen

Outstanding Direction of a Play: Daniel Aukin – Stereophonic

Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Musical: Kelli O’Hara  Days of Wine and Roses


Outstanding New Broadway Play:
 Stereophonic

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Outstanding New Broadway Musical: Suffs

Founded during the 1949-50 Broadway season by respected theater journalist John Gassner, The Outer Critics Circle is an esteemed association with members affiliated with more than ninety newspapers, magazines, broadcast stations, and online news organizations, in America and abroad. Led by its current President David Gordon, the OCC Board of Directors also includes Vice President Richard Ridge, Recording Secretary Joseph Cervelli, Corresponding Secretary Patrick Hoffman, Treasurer David Roberts, Cynthia Allen, Harry Haun, Dan Rubins, Janice Simpson and Doug Strassler. Simon Saltzman is President Emeritus & Board Member (Non-nominating) and Stanley L. Cohen serves as Financial Consultant & Board Member (Non-nominating). Lauren Yarger serves as the Outer Critics Circle Awards ceremony executive producer.

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Broadway

The Stars Showed Up Michael Greif at The New Dramatists Luncheon

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The New Dramatists Annual Spring Luncheon at the New York Marriott Marquis honored Michael Greif, the acclaimed director of not one but three shows playing on Broadway, Days of Wine and Roses, The Notebook and Hell’s Kitchen. Tony Award-winning producers Kevin McCollum and Stacey Mindich served as honorary co-chairs.

Michael Greif

Michael Greif

Christie Brown, Michael Greif, Brian d’Arcy James and Emily Morse

Michael Greif, Brian d’Arcy James

Michael Greif, Brian d’Arcy James

New Dramatists also presented the inagural Konecky Award, named for New Dramatists’ beloved Board President Isobel Konecky and her husband, renowned entertainment attorney Ron Konecky, recognizes those in the theatre and entertainment industry, who serve the field with passion, dedication, excellence, and leadership. The inaugural Konecky Award will be presented to Concord Theatricals.

Attending were:

Ali Louis Bourzgui

Joy Woods

Jordan Tyson

John Cardoza

Betsy Aidem

Will Brill

Rick Elice

Brian d’Arcy James

Michael Greif, Hannah Greif and David Greif

Adam Pascal, Michael Greif and Daphne Rubin-Vega

Members and Creatives of Hell’s Kitchen that includes-Susan Oliveras, Lily Ling, Tom Kitt, Camille A. Brown, Michael Greif, Kecia Lewis, Desmond Sean Ellington, Badia Farha, Kristoffer Diaz, Aaron Nicholas Patterson and Oscar Whitney Jr.

Ryan Vasquez

Kecia Lewis

Camille A. Brown

Kristoffer Diaz

Schele Williams, John Cardoza, Victoria Navarro, Geoffrey Ko, Dorian Harewood, Michael Greif, Maryann Plunkett, Jordan Tyson, Bekah Brunstetter, Katie Spelman and Kurt Deutsch

Schele Williams and Michael Greif

Priscilla Lopez

Jennifer Whyte, Steven Skybell, Tom Scutt, Rebecca Frecknall, Julia Cheng and Henry Gottfried

Priscilla Lopez and Michael Greif

Henry Gottfried

Tom Scuttt

Christine Ebersole and Michael Greif

Francis Benhamou

Steven Skybell

Jennifer Whyte

Julia Cheng

Michael Greif, Christine Ebersole, Priscilla Lopez and Doug Wright

Rebecca Frecknall

Eli Gelb

David Adjmi

Corey Stoll

Alison Luff

Isabelle McCalla

Amy Ryan

Amanda Green

Eden Espinosa

Sarah Pidgeon

Shoshana Bean

Quincy Tyler Bernstine

Michael Greif and Shoshana Bean

Justin Peck

Paula Vogel and Celia Keenan-Bolger

Juliana Margulies

Daryl Roth and Juliana Margulies

Jim Dale and Daryl Roth

Jim Dale, Daryl Roth and Juliana Margulies

Brody Grant

Lea Salonga

Lea Salonga

Sarah Paulson

Leslie Kritzer

Shaina Taub and Leigh Silverman

Amber Iman

Nikki M. James

John Weidner

Jessica Hecht

Andrew R. Butler

Casey Likes

Grant Gustin

Sean Patrick Flahaven

Doug Wright

Bradley King

Jamie deRoy

New Dramatists

 

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Broadway

The Outer Critics Circle (OCC) Awards And You Are There Part 1

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The Outer Critics Circle (OCC), awards ceremony for the winners was held on Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center’s New York Public Library for The Performing Arts (111 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC).

Current President David Gordon and  Vice President Richard Ridge welcomed everyone. There were celebrity presenters and Tony Danza proved why he is a comedy star. The first award given out was to Outstanding Video/Projections: Peter Nigrini – The Who’s Tommy.

Danza also gave out the awards to Outstanding Orchestrations Marco Paguia – Buena Vista Social Club.

Outstanding Costume Design: Linda Cho – The Great Gatsby

Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Play: Jessica Lange – Mother Play

Receiving the John Gassner Award for New American Play (preferably by a new playwright): Oh, Mary! and a tie for Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Play (tie): Cole Escola left a video message.


Next to present was Montego Glover who gave Outstanding Featured Performer in an Off-Broadway Musical (tie) Judy Kuhn – I Can Get It For You Wholesale

and to Thom Sesma – Dead Outlaw

Outstanding Book of a Musical and Outstanding Score Shaina Taub – Suffs

Outstanding Scenic Design (tie): Paul Tate dePoo III – The Great Gatsby

Outstanding Lighting Design: Brian MacDevitt  The Outsiders

Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Play: Kara Young – Purlie Victorious

Next up Steve Gutenberg gave awards to Outstanding Revival of a Play: Appropriate

Outstanding Sound DesignRyan Rumery – Stereophonic

Outstanding Solo Performance: Patrick Page – All the Devils are Here

Founded during the 1949-50 Broadway season by respected theater journalist John Gassner, The Outer Critics Circle is an esteemed association with members affiliated with more than ninety newspapers, magazines, broadcast stations, and online news organizations, in America and abroad. Led by its current President David Gordon, the OCC Board of Directors also includes Vice President Richard Ridge, Recording Secretary Joseph Cervelli, Corresponding Secretary Patrick Hoffman, Treasurer David Roberts, Cynthia Allen, Harry Haun, Dan Rubins, Janice Simpson and Doug Strassler. Simon Saltzman is President Emeritus & Board Member (Non-nominating) and Stanley L. Cohen serves as Financial Consultant & Board Member (Non-nominating). Lauren Yarger serves as the Outer Critics Circle Awards ceremony executive producer.

Tomorrow Part 2.

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