September 2001


Upper West Side, Manhattan.Central Park.  #

Upper West Side, Manhattan.

Central Park.


Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.Prospect Park, Brooklyn..  #

Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

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Doylestown, Pa.. . .Read Laura's  #

Doylestown, Pa.

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Read Laura's 9.25 entry.


Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.. . .The  #

Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

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The first news I had of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa was this e-mail. At the time it seemed extraordinary to get a first-hand account of a terrorist attack from a friend. Now most people I know can tell a similar story.

Date: Fri, 7 Aug 1998 13:53:11 +0300 (GMT+0300)
From: Shova <>
Subject: east africa under attack??

dear all,

just thought i should send you news of the explosions in this part of the continent. the first bomb exploded in nairobi, around 1030am. still on vacation, i was barely awake when i heard the loud explosion and saw the windows shake in my bedroom. i was on the point of passing it off as some car jacking episode with gunfire between police and car jackers, but thought it didn't sound right, because there was just a single explosion. immediately i got a call from my husband, in the UN, who informed me that a bomb had exploded in the co-op building in town...

soon, friends started calling, and then the local tv started a live broadcast. it wasn't a pretty sight. the bomb had exploded between the coop building and the us embassy on haile selassie street. there was much damage, reports now confirm 10 dead and 200+ injured. speculations were rife...was there a coup brewing?... the hospitals are now filling up with casualties, and they're requesting for blood from donors. people are not clear yet, as to whether the us ambassador was still in the co-op building or had returned to the embassy, next door. the us embassy has been damaged as well. the explosion was so strong apparently it blew off the bomb proof doors of the us embassy and these were later used as stretchers. apparently there was a car bomb that exploded outside the coop building as well. buses were hit by this explosion causing deaths. at the moment entrance to town has been sealed off, and rescue operations are still in progress...

and then sky tv broke in with news that there were 4 simultaneous bomb blasts in 4 african capitals, in kenya, tanzania, sudan and uganda. wow!!! east africa under attack? (although sudan would be north africa) the us embassies in all four capitals have been targeted... now there's widespread speculation of an external terrorist plot. it's too early to know the truth, yet. but we shall wait and see... i'm sure things will start getting clearer once the evacuation is over, and investigations begin.

in the meantime i do hope that we find peace soon, in the midst of unknown evil forces. have a peaceful, unexplosive day, won't you?


. . .

What to tell your child.


Midtown Manhattan.Rush hour on 7th  #

Midtown Manhattan.
Rush hour on 7th Ave. These were briefly posted in the early hours of 9.11.

. . .
... (1:06 AM): holy atomic fireball
... (1:11 AM):
... (1:11 AM):
in my mouth
... (1:11 AM):
... (1:12 AM):
sorry. didn't mean to scare you.


Williamsburg, Brooklyn, February 2000.. .  #

Williamsburg, Brooklyn, February 2000.

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Jed Ela, creator of the Ironphone, sent this out:

Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2001 15:42:18 -0400
From: Jed Ela <>
Subject: Walk to Washington


Not to get all Forrest Gump on your asses, but I am walking to Washington.

I cannot take the thought that many more people could soon die, in an act of "infinite justice" I want no part of. I am against ALL state-sponsored killing and I cannot allow the world to believe such acts are committed in my name.

I am leaving in a few hours from my house in Somerville (Massachusetts).

If you would like to join me, meet me, or offer housing along the way, my cell phone number is (646) 234-6071.

Peace be on all of us.

Jed Ela


Coney Island, Brooklyn  #

Coney Island, Brooklyn.
Wonder Wheel.

Vacationers used to actually stay in Coney Island.

Intense handball.

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I wrote a story for the NYT Circuits section: Game Makers Scale Back; Players Have Other Ideas. It mentions a mission for the game Rogue Spear in which one is supposed to hunt down and kill bin Laden; screen shots are here and here. Update: The creators of this mission had a rethink and took it down today.

And in case you missed it: Weary of Gadgetmania? Just Dial M for Mockery. Ironphone photos here.

. . .

A reader writes:

Subject: translation for your 9.19 top picture
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2001 09:52:42 -0400

Can a real Jew believe in Jesus? Of course not! Why? Call us...


Brighton Beach, Brooklyn  #

Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.
Escape to Russia.

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This newsletter from Oppenheimer came in the mail yesterday. All 598 Oppenheimer employees got out of Two World Trade Center before it collapsed.


Brighton Beach, Brooklyn  #

Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.


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New subway map (216K PDF), with empty spaces.


Aftermath, Central Park, Greenwich Village, Union Square  #

Central Park, Sunday.

Greenwich Village.

Union Square.

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Next Sunday's NYT Magazine is online. Jonathan Lethem struggles with his failed imagination. Sounds familiar.

. . .

This page has all of last week's entries.


Manhattan from Park Slope  #

From Park Slope, Thursday night.

. . .
What's going to happen? I asked. Why is everyone here?

Just wait, my mother said. Watch the skyline.

And then, without warning, the entire skyline of New York erupted into glorious light: dazzling, glittering, throbbing in triumph. And the crowds on the rooftops roared. They were roaring on roofs all over Brooklyn, on streets, on bridges, the whole city roaring for light. There it was, gigantic and brilliant, the way they said it used to be: the skyline of New York. Back again. On D Day, at the command of Mayor LaGuardia.

-- Pete Hamill, A Drinking Life

. . .

On the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, people stared at the spot where the two towers had been. In some cases, they stared where they thought the towers had been. They had never bothered, never needed, to note their actual location, and now they could not remember.

-- NYT

. . .

Photos from downtown at Macrostate. Via Rion.

. . .

Park Slope, today.
My apartment is usually under a flight path for LaGuardia Airport. Today it is under a flight path for the President's security detail. At least four loud jets, circling the city in pairs.


Manhattan Bridge  #

Manhattan Bridge.
Usually people are too jaded to check out the view of lower Manhattan as the Q train goes over the bridge. Now, everyone looks, to see the smoke, and to see what isn't there.

. . .
New York blends the gift of privacy with the excitement of participation; and better than most dense communities it succeeds in insulating the individual . . . against all enormous and violent and wonderful events. . . .

I am not defending New York in this regard. Many of its settlers are probably here merely to escape, not face, reality. But whatever it means, it is a rather rare gift, and I believe it has a positive effect on the creative capacities of New Yorkers for creation is in part merely the business of forgoing the great and small distractions.

--E.B. White, as quoted by Max Frankel.

. . .

Links to more New York stories and photos. List largely stolen from bgirl, who is also posting photos.
. . .

I wrote a story for the NYT's Circuits section: Weary of Gadgetmania? Just Dial M for Mockery. It's about a guy who built a cell phone into a steam iron. The phone looks like this. The story, written two weeks ago, has very little to do with anything. At this point, that may be a reason to read it.


Old pictures of the World Trade Center  #

The sweet smell of burning plastic is lingering in my apartment.

I don't think I'm happy with the new world. Can we have the old one back?

. . .

October 1999.

September 1999.

October 1999.


. . .

My photos from yesterday are here.

More photos from Brooklyn at


The attack  #

Park Slope, 10:18 a.m.
Not a cloud in the sky, except where the World Trade Center used to be. (Wide version.) The second tower collapsed a few minutes after I took this, but I couldn't see it from here. Impossibly sad. (News via Dori.)

. . .

12:26 p.m.
The smoke has shifted direction and is blocking out the sun. It smells awful. I'm going to go and see if I can do anything to help. If you're in New York, give blood.

. . .

1-3 p.m.

On the Brooklyn waterfront.

People finishing the long walk over the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn...

...and down Flatbush Ave.

It's hard to think about anything else.

. . .

Jason has links to other news and thoughts. And this.

. . .

7 p.m.


Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.The High Gothic  #

Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

The High Gothic period of warehouse design was short-lived.

There was no Renaissance.

. . .

How to use the word "like." Via Hotsy Totsy.

Matt Richtel: How to use a stick.


Indio, Calif.Don't believe the hype:  #

Indio, Calif.
Don't believe the hype: this town is a wreck.

Desert Hot Springs, Calif.


Joshua Tree National Park, Calif..  #

Joshua Tree National Park, Calif.

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Southern California radio: all Vietnamese all the time, '80s '80s '80s, listener-supported contemporary Christian hits, and a cover of a Smiths song in Spanish. Esta luz nunca se apagara.


San Gorgonio Pass, near Palm  #

San Gorgonio Pass, near Palm Springs, Calif.
I went a little nuts in windmill-land. More photos here, including some panoramas.

. . .

Exclusive sneak preview: The Internet Broadway Database is kind of like that other site, only it's for theater freaks. Conceived and directed by my friend Karen. Please offer feedback.


Santa Monica, Calif.. . .I've  #

Santa Monica, Calif.

. . .

I've been bad, as usual, at responding to e-mail. Soon. Thanks to all who have sent nice notes.


Los Angeles.Jinn and Hiep goof  #

Los Angeles.
Jinn and Hiep goof off at the Getty Center. I put up some more pictures of the center here.

. . .

Welcome, Sydney Morning Herald readers, to the place where I reveal... oh never mind.


I-10, Calif.. . .It's  #

I-10, Calif.

. . .

It's the meme that refused to die. An editor at the NYT's Week in Review section liked the little Coke thing I did for the business section, so I put together this 'Word for Word' feature: 'Just Say No to H20' (Unless It's Coke's Own Brew).


Santa Monica, Calif.The last  #

Santa Monica, Calif.
The last one is a special guest photo by Hiep.

. . .