Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ray's After 9/11

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.


sarj, 2001

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."


sarj, 2001

Now Famous Ray's is Famous Roio's, 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."


September 2011

10 comments:

JAZ said...

It makes me sick every time I walk past St. Vincent's; just so many things wrong with it being shut down that I don't even know where to start. And on top of everything else, all the small businesses in the neighborhood that were ruined when it was shut down.

There's no chance I'd have the heart to walk past it today - throw in the fact that it's a Tuesday and it is clear blue sky again, and it's just too much to pass it today and see the proud St. Vincent's sitting emasculated. Shame on anyone in any way responsible for it's state - and I guess shame on me and everyone else. I don't know.

It cannot be put any more perfectly than this:

"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."

God I fucking hate today

Brian said...

"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."

Best and saddest quote I've ever read about New York City.

Marty Wombacher said...

"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."

This should be written in stone and placed in front of what used to be St. Vincent's.

BabyDave said...

That morning of September 11, 2001, Sixth Avenue and Varick Street/Seventh Avenue South/Seventh Avenue were quickly cleared of traffic, in anticipation of the expected massive stream of wounded to be taken to St. Vincent's and elsewhere. One expected nonstop sirens. Instead there was an almost-ghostly silence. Stunning even now.
As for St. Vincent's, memories are at times both so hazy and vivid that the place is embedded in time. Good friends and relatives passed through -- and passed on -- there. How it was allowed to vanish is beyond me.

Goggla said...

Seeing those flyers was one of the most heartbreaking parts of that day for me, along with the empty emergency entrance at St Vincent's.

Anonymous said...

Hey Vanishing,

Brycey here. What's with all the negative talk about Mayor Bloomberg? Don't get it. The streets are now full of pimpin' glass condos that I really really want. And how easy is it to get money from a BRIGHT and HUGE bank on every corner? Seems convenient to me. When I came here as a kid I saw all these ethnic and homeless looking people in the street. Now it's more and more white people, which means it's safe. I couldn't even walk in the East Village before, now me and my homies roll 15 deep and yell and scream all the way to Ave B, Boyyeeeeeee.

~Bryce Allen

Ms. said...

Yes indeed--the flyers--they were all over town that year, a wall at Belview on 1st Avenue full of pictures, and people still looking for loved ones....so here it is the 11th 9.11, I woke to church bells tolling amazing grace (then it was bagpipes for the countless funeral services). I posted some difficult but thoughtful reminders at my main blog, then immediately posted a light filled holy spirit stained glass window at my picture blog, returned to some obsessive Indigo dyeing cloth I've been happily doing for days, started work on a new prayer flag for a friend, pruned a local garden I tend which is full of brilliant flowers still, passing the police brigades returning from the morning ceremonies downtown, unloading their trucks of assault weapons (I am situated directly across from the precinct that served as operational headquarters in 2001 when it had to move from the burning towers, and pass a small memorial in front every day.) This evening, I'll go to my regular yoga practice, then meet with a friend for supper--I'm making my version of pizza tonight here, with a big salad, red wine, and laughter.

ShatteredMonocle said...

Tell it to the Iraqis.

Anonymous said...

I worked at St. Vincent's 9/11/01. There were few survivors but many family who came to search for survivors. There was so much community spirit in Greenwich Village that day. Line around W. 12th to give blood.

Later that day the New School opened their doors to take overflow of families from St. Vincent's. They put out coffee, a buffet and TV screens all over. Remember, at that time no one knew what was really going on, if there would be more attacks, etc.

Jim Holt said...

Jeremiah, I recall your excellent op-ed on the subject, but I think its conclusion was incorrect. The structure that became a gas station was built before Esso came into being by that name. It was there when Hopper conceived "Night Hawks." (I looked into all the dates when I was researching this for a possible NYer piece.) It has the right shape for a small diner, and Hopper said that he made the diner in the painting much larger than its actual model.