in this together

Pete Hamill's account of saturday's town meeting (see the log below) ends with a New York story worthy of standing alone.

Then came news of the Con Ed power failure. My subway lines were closed, and I jumped into a taxi. The driver said he was from Peshawar. He didn't want to talk about Pakistan. His shrug told me the heat and traffic were bad enough.

Below 14th St., every traffic light was dead. And then at Seventh Ave. and Bleecker St., standing in the middle of the avenue, I saw the first citizen directing traffic. A white dude with gray beard and baseball cap. "Stop right there, man," he ordered one pickup truck, and the truck stopped. At Houston St., a thin black man in his 40s was doing the same, using hand signals as if he'd worked at this job all his life. The traffic moved, and not a cop or politician was in sight.

Then at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, a packed steel-glass-and-rubber line of westbound cars refused anyone a chance to pass toward downtown.

"Goddamn Jersey drivers," the man from Peshawar said.

We the people, baby.

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Published on July 22, 2002 8:18 PM.

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