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Wounded City

Wounded City: The Social Impact of 9/11 on New York City

Nancy Foner Editor
Copyright Date: 2005
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 392
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  • Book Info
    Wounded City
    Book Description:

    New York has eight million deeply personal and unique stories of pain and perseverance from September 11, 2001. But the toll of tragedy is greater than the anguish it inflicts on individuals-communities suffer as well. InWounded City, editor Nancy Foner brings together an accomplished group of scholars to document how a broad range of communities-residential, occupational, ethnic, and civic-were affected and changed by the World Trade Center attacks.

    Using survey data and in-depth ethnographies, the book offers sophisticated analysis and gives voice to the human experiences behind the summary statistics, revealing how the nature of these communities shaped their response to the disaster. Sociologists Philip Kasinitz, Gregory Smithsimon, and Binh Pok highlight the importance of physical space in the recovery process by comparing life after 9/11 in two neighborhoods close to ground zero-Tribeca, which is nestled close to the city's downtown, and Battery Park City, which is geographically and structurally separated from other sections of the city. Melanie Hildebrandt looks at how social solidarity changed in a predominantly Irish, middle class community that was struck twice with tragedy: the loss of many residents on 9/11 and a deadly plane crash two months later. Jennifer Bryan shows that in the face of hostility and hate crimes, many Arab Muslims in Jersey City stressed their adherence to traditional Islam. Contributor Karen Seeley interviews psychotherapists who faced the challenge of trying to help patients deal with a tragedy that they themselves were profoundly affected by. Economist Daniel Beunza and sociologist David Stark paint a picture of organizational resilience as they detail how securities traders weathered successive crises after evacuating their downtown office and moving temporarily to New Jersey. Francesca Polletta and Lesley Wood look at a hopeful side of a horrible tragedy: civic involvement in town meetings and public deliberations to discuss what should be done to rebuild at ground zero and help New Yorkers create a better future in the footprints of disaster.

    New Yorkers suffered tremendous losses on September 11, 2001: thousands of lives, billions of dollars, the symbols of their skyline, and their peace of mind. But not lost in the rubble of the World Trade Center were the residential, ethnic, occupational, and organizational communities that make up New York's rich mosaic.Wounded Citygives voice to some of those communities, showing how they dealt with unforeseen circumstances that created or deepened divisions, yet at the same brought them together in suffering and hope. It is a unique look at the aftermath of a devastating day and the vitality of a diverse city.

    A Russell Sage Foundation September 11 Initiative Volume

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-209-1
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Eric Wanner

    IN THE GRIM WEEKS after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, many New Yorkers asked themselves how they could contribute their talents and abilities to help their fellow citizens and assist in the effort to restore and revitalize the city. As a research organization with a long history of studying social and economic conditions in the city, the Russell Sage Foundation naturally turned toward the idea of using the analytic capacities of social science to assess the shocking blow New York had suffered and analyze the underlying dimensions of what we fervently hoped would...

    (pp. xiii-xiv)

    • CHAPTER 1 The Social Effects of 9/11 on New York City: An Introduction
      (pp. 3-27)
      Nancy Foner

      THE ATTACK on the World Trade Center (WTC) on September 11, 2001, changed New York City forever. The twin towers, which had become one of the symbols of the city and were a workplace for more than 30,000 people, were destroyed. An entire zip code, 10048, is now, as one journalist puts it, in a kind of twilight zone and has not been used since the attack (Haberman 2003). The death toll was shattering. At latest count, 2,749 died in the attack, close to half of them New York City residents and most of the others from the surrounding suburbs....

    • CHAPTER 2 Vulnerability and Resilience: New Yorkers Respond to 9/11
      (pp. 28-76)
      Irwin Garfinkel, Neeraj Kaushal, Julien Teitler and Sandra Garcia

      THE TERRORIST attack on the World Trade Center (WTC) took the lives of nearly three thousand people in New York City, resulted in huge economic losses, intensified fears of international terrorism, and launched the “American war on terrorism.”¹ The 9/11 attack and its continuing aftermath have disrupted, traumatized, and upturned the lives of many around the world.

      In this chapter, we quantify a few of the effects of the WTC attack on the well-being of adults and children who live in New York City. Our study is based on the New York City Social Indicators Surveys (NYSIS), the third wave...


    • CHAPTER 3 Disaster at the Doorstep: Battery Park City and Tribeca Respond to the Events of 9/11
      (pp. 79-105)
      Philip Kasinitz, Gregory Smithsimon and Binh Pok

      ALTHOUGH IT is usually thought of as a place where people work, lower Manhattan is also a place where tens of thousands of people live. The World Trade Center (WTC) site is bordered by two residential neighborhoods: Battery Park City, directly to the west, and Tribeca, which abuts it to the north. In many ways these communities are superficially similar. The residents of both neighborhoods are predominantly white, highly educated, and affluent. Both are, by New York standards, new communities created in the spatial reorganization of lower Manhattan that followed the construction of the twin towers. Both have an unusually...

    • CHAPTER 4 Double Trauma in Belle Harbor: The Aftermath of September 11 and November 12 in the Rockaways
      (pp. 106-132)
      Melanie D. Hildebrandt

      SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, began as a picture-perfect day: crystal-clear skies, beautiful ocean waves, warm temperatures, and best of all, no crowds on Rockaway’s beaches. This was the kind of day that many Rockaway residents looked forward to, a day when the summer crowds were gone and the streets, sands, and surf belonged to the locals. Yet this particular day would forever change the way the local residents of the close-knit, predominantly Irish American and Jewish American communities on the west end of the Rockaway peninsula felt about September.

      On that day residents stood along the seawall facing Jamaica Bay, watching...

    • CHAPTER 5 Constructing “the True Islam” in Hostile Times: The Impact of 9/11 on Arab Muslims in Jersey City
      (pp. 133-160)
      Jennifer L. Bryan

      THE ATTACK of September 11, 2001, on the World Trade Center in New York had an enormous impact on Arab Muslims in Jersey City, New Jersey. In particular, it sparked a critical turning point in the construction of Muslim identities, in-group community cohesion, and intergroup relations in Jersey City. It was not the attack itself so much as its aftermath—the state war on terrorism (with its transnational and local variations), the media images and stories linking Arab Muslims with terrorists, and the social and economic backlash against Arab Muslims—that caused such profound social effects.

      In the immediate aftermath...


    • CHAPTER 6 The Impact of 9/11 on the New York City Airline Industry
      (pp. 163-183)
      William Kornblum and Steven Lang

      THE TERRORIST attack on the World Trade Center had a far-reaching impact on New York’s standing as a global port and dealt a devastating blow to New York’s airline workers, the port’s largest population of employees. For passenger and freight transport, contemporary globalization is associated with the replacement of maritime workers, longshoremen, and stevedores in particular by pilots and flight attendants, airplane mechanics, ticket agents and reservation clerks, baggage handlers, security and food service workers, and many other airport-based occupations. But while the government gave significant assistance to the airline corporations in their efforts to recover from the terrorist attack,...

    • CHAPTER 7 Moving On: Chinese Garment Workers After 9/11
      (pp. 184-207)
      Margaret M. Chin

      THE CHINESE garment workers of Chinatown in New York City experienced tremendous disruptions in the aftermath of the September 11 tragedy. Chinatown itself, located less than ten blocks from the twin towers site, suffered unprecedented economic losses. In the first eight days after the attack all vehicular and nonresidential pedestrian traffic was prohibited in the whole area south of Canal Street. In the first two weeks following the attacks the majority of garment workers could not get to work because subway stations and major roads in the community were closed or access was limited.¹ Within Chinatown, Bowery, Broadway, and Lafayette...

    • CHAPTER 8 Of Hardship and Hostility: The Impact of 9/11 on New York City Taxi Drivers
      (pp. 208-241)
      Monisha Das Gupta

      WHEN I asked New York City yellow cab drivers to describe how their business had changed since the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center (WTC), a Bangladeshi driver expressed a sentiment shared by many of the drivers: “Before 9/11, it was beautiful. We enjoyed our job. We made some money. I would help my parents financially. I couldn’t complain. Everything was fine. Now the job, people in the street, customers, neighbors—all the people have changed.” As a researcher who has been studying New York City’s taxi industry since 1996 (Das Gupta 2001; forthcoming), I was jolted...

    • CHAPTER 9 New York’s Visual Art World After 9/11
      (pp. 242-262)
      Julia Rothenberg and William Kornblum

      IN THE weeks and months following 9/11, New Yorkers crowded art and photo exhibits that touched on the devastating events. Their keen interest in graphic representations of the horror and heroism was a vivid reminder of the importance of the visual arts in the cultural and economic life of the city. But as this chapter documents, the attack on the World Trade Center damaged some important neighborhoods of the arts community. Depending on their proximity to the twin towers, artists and gallery owners experienced shocks and challenges to their livelihoods and to their ability to contribute to the city’s recovery....

    • CHAPTER 10 The Psychological Treatment of Trauma and the Trauma of Psychological Treatment: Talking to Psychotherapists About 9/11
      (pp. 263-290)
      Karen Seeley

      IN THE hours after the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, New York City hospitals prepared to receive the wounded. At St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village, gurneys dressed in clean white linens were neatly arrayed along Seventh Avenue, awaiting a deluge of injured survivors. But the hospital beds remained empty; the physically wounded did not materialize. In lieu of bodily injuries, many of those who survived the attack suffered wounds that were psychological. As the loss of life, the property damage, and the terrorist threat were measured, and as the shock and fear set in, attention turned...


    • CHAPTER 11 Resolving Identities: Successive Crises in a Trading Room After 9/11
      (pp. 293-320)
      Daniel Beunza and David Stark

      SO ACCUSTOMED have we grown to the image of the facades of the World Trade Center (WTC)—two tall rectangles cut against the skyline of Manhattan—that we seldom give any thought to what went on inside the towers. Although we have seen photographs of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack and learned about their personal lives, even now we rarely hear about the work that was done behind that curtain wall of concrete and tinted glass.

      The World Trade Center was above all a place of finance—not retail banking, but types of financial activity that involved trading....

    • CHAPTER 12 Public Deliberations After 9/11
      (pp. 321-348)
      Francesca Polletta and Lesley Wood

      IN THE wake of the physical devastation wrought by the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, politicians and planners agreed that rebuilding the site would have to be a participatory process. There was talk of “inclusive” planning and “diverse voices” being heard. What was attacked was American democracy, argued those charged with the key decisions in the rebuilding process, and the response could only be more democracy. “Common ground”—indeed, “consensus” about the most important issues—could be achieved.¹

      One might be forgiven for some skepticism about what such commitments would mean in practice. After...


    • CHAPTER 13 Epilogue: The Geography of Disaster
      (pp. 351-362)
      Kai Erikson

      IN THOSE dark, confused days right after the attacks on the World Trade Center, journalists asked two questions of persons they thought to be expert on human reactions to disaster. The first and most obvious of them was: to what other event can this new horror be compared? This was an effort to identify the genus to which the attack belonged, to locate it somewhere on the scale of human experience so as to give it a recognizable shape.

      The bombing of Hiroshima came up frequently in those conversations. That seemed like a natural association, given its size, the volume...

  11. INDEX
    (pp. 363-374)