Awhile ago, when The Famous Ray's Pizza at 6th Ave. and 11th St. shuttered (then bounced around in limbo, later revived by the original owner as Famous Roio's), I thought about how the little pizza shop served as a memorial for the missing in the days after 9/11.
At the time, I wrote up this post, but never published it. Today seems like a good day for it.
The Atlantic, 2001
I remember walking down that block and seeing all the flyers, but I'm not sure why Ray's Pizza, and not another place, became a memorial site, only that it was a block away from St. Vincent's Hospital and that maybe families stopped here to take a break, have an inexpensive meal, and share information.
The 9/11 flyers taped in bunches to the bricks of St. Vincent's were so many, they spilled over, running down the block--taped to the London plane trees, to light poles, to No Parking sign posts--until they reached Ray's where they gathered again, like water running into a pool.
At the time, the Times reported:
"There were 68 handbills taped to the windows and brick wall of Famous Ray's Pizza at Avenue of the Americas and 11th Street and 24 on nearby lampposts and traffic light boxes and 17 on a phone booth up the block at 5 o'clock when Detective Michael Meehan of Midtown South, a mourning band over his shield, stopped by with a thick roll of tape to affix three more... One was for his brother Damian."
Now Famous Ray's is Famous Roio's [UPDATE: Roio's is gone, too], but St. Vincent's is gone to make room for evermore luxury condo dwellers. We live in a different city from 11 years ago.
As one New Yorker wrote in to the Daily News last year at this time: "Our city suffered two tragedies a decade ago: the 9/11 attacks and the election of Mayor Bloomberg. The former tried to destroy New York City; the latter succeeded."