Residents Take Lower Manhattan Lockdown in Stride for 9/11 Anniversary

By DNAinfo Staff on September 10, 2011 9:12pm

By Patrick Wall and Tom Liddy

DNAinfo Reporters

MANHATTAN — Lower Manhattan was a fortress ahead of the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, but many residents and workers in the area took the extra security in stride.

Catrina Lindbaek, of Battery Park City, the neighborhood affected most by a series of street closures meant to secure the area for the commemoration ceremony, said she's used to the clampdown.

“There’s always a lot of security around here so I haven't noticed it too much," she said as she enjoyed the sunshine on the esplanade, near the Hudson River, with her two boys Oskar, 4, and Absalon, 3.

"I guess it gets to be the norm and you don’t notice.

“When you live down here you just have to expect that is part of the neighborhood now and it probably will be in the future too."

The area bounded roughly by Chambers Street to the north, Battery Place to the south, Broadway to the East and West Street to the west were shut down ahead of the ceremony Sunday.

Many of the street closures extended into Battery Park City, including parts of South End Avenue.  In addition, some pedestrian walkways crossing West Street in Lower Manhattan will be shuttered on Sunday along with subway stops passing near the World Trade Center site.

Residents of the area have been told to carry ID with proof of address at all times and workers at businesses had to bring ID, a pay stub and a security letter from their employer.

Neil Patel, 35, a Battery Park City resident since 2002, said that it was eerie to see no cars on South End Avenue.

"This is very weird to see no cars on this street," said the surgeon, who also noticed the beefed-up police presence in the area. "It’s more reminiscent of 9/11."

Still, he did plan to get out of town for the weekend.

"For five seconds I was thinking about going somewhere for the weekend," he said. "Instead I thought I would stay away from the major tourist attractions."

Patel said that he was living in NoHo at the time of the attacks. He remembered the mail man coming by each day, looking for people to pick up their mail that never did.

Taso Mouhteros, 43, also of Battery Park City, said that his wife, Kimberly, 41, took an hour to get back from Brooklyn from her hair appointment when it normally takes 15 minutes.

“I think there’s a little bit of excess and our lifestyles are really changing because of fear,” he said.

But Kimberly accepted the delay.

“If there’s something legitimate you can’t go overboard," she said. "Your life is disrupted but if there’s a serious threat, then what’s an extra 60 minutes.”

She said that the family also had no plans to leave.

“We just evacuated for Hurricane Irene, so we didn’t want to evacuate again,” she added.

And Mohammad Rahman, 46, the manager at Picasso's Pizzeria on South End Avenue, said that he had barely noticed a change.

“It affected deliveries a little bit, but not too much, I hope," he said. “We’re not changing anything. I hope nothing will happen, but you know…”

But Elizabeth Kwack, 33, the manager of Battery Park Pharmacy, said that she will have to shut down on Sunday.

“There’s no access to Battery Park," she said. "It’s completely blocked off.”

Kwack, of Ft. Lee, NJ, said that she didn't even bother to try to drive in to work. Instead she took a ferry and bus and had to walk the rest of the way — a two-hour trip.

“On the one hand, I can understand, it’s the 10-year anniversary and it’s a big deal," she said. "But there’s still life here that’s going on. You can’t just shut down a whole community..”