Friday, November 23, 2001

REALITY CHECK: Instapundit's reader Chris Fountain reports on his observation of life in New York City:

I myself took the subway down to Wall Street last week and noticed that when a suited businessman asked for directions, three different individuals offered advice. Before September 11th, he'd have been met, in my experience, with blank stares.

Beg to differ, Chris. Maybe that would have been the case if you went back 25 years, when all of lower Manhattan was effectively a ghost town after 7:00 pm, and Charles Bronson's "Death Wish" was the hot new meme for liberals who'd been mugged once or twice.

But more recently the Wall Street area -- particularly the South Street Seaport museum and mall -- has been heavily developed as a popular tourist attraction and open-air performance space, while the entirety of the financial district has become increasingly residential in character.

With so many out-of-towners rubbing elbows with members of the community out walking their dogs and shopping the 24-hour gourmet specialty stores, strangers asking directions had become commonplace -- and giving them, a common courtesy -- long before 9/11.

Which is not to say that nothing has changed. To the extent that there was any lingering racial-ethnic distrust or discomfort in the community, that's gone now. Completely gone. Nothing like uniting against a common foreign enemy to bring us all closer together...


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