There is little doubt that what happened on September 11, 2001 was consequential for the United States. But it is also necessary to think about how this event (and other terrorist acts) have affected the American way of life. The AP looks into what it means for the daily lives of New Yorkers – here are a few snapshots of an altered city:
Visitors to the Statue of Liberty must go through two separate, airport-style security checkpoints. Taking pictures of the PATH trains that run under the Hudson is illegal. Even the city’s architecture is changing: closed “sky lobbies” are replacing ground-level public spaces; vehicle barriers are de rigueur.
At Rockefeller Plaza, concrete barriers emblazoned with “NYPD” blocked part of the streets running through the promenade, which draws thousands of visitors to see its Christmas tree and ice skating rink.
In the subways, train conductors tell passengers, “If you see something, say something.” So do posters and ticket machines. Police conduct occasional spot checks, setting up a table in stations and searching travelers’ bags at random.
Times Square — now partly transformed into a pedestrian mall — sports wider sidewalks aimed at creating buffer zones around high-profile buildings. Nearly every lamppost now has at least two domed cameras and an antenna for beaming live images to police.
“Cameras, cameras and more cameras,” said Robert Jacobs, 30, a visitor from Chicago. “Makes you wonder who’s got time to watch it all.”
The overwhelming theme in this story is security: a greater separation of pedestrians or workers from potential harm while at the same time increasing vigilance through cameras, checkpoints, and the active participation of residents.
But what does this mean for the average resident? A little more inconvenience and time to travel? Some visual reminders that terrorism is a consistent threat? What I would want to know: has terrorism significantly altered people’s mindsets (perhaps stress levels about possible attacks) and behaviors? Do people or businesses not move to New York City because of the possible threats? This article suggests terrorism hasn’t altered much beside raising the general level of anxiety by some amount.
h/t The Infrastructurist