Friday, July 15, 1977

Pathos, Heroics, Humor On a Night to Remember

It was a night of terror and destruction and genuine anguish for many. It was a night of excitement and ingenuity amid touches of gallantry for others. And in many ways it was a night filled with the ludicrous, heroic, zany, toughing and dopey doings of the thousands of people who swarmed through the darkness, somewhat baffled by it all.
For many, life was even worse when they awoke yesterday to clocks that were still stuck at 9:34pm, the moment when darkness had struck. It was a morning without water, without elevators, without subways, without banks and even for many, without a good hot cup of coffee to make it all bearable.

And for some storekeepers, it was a day during which they stared uncomprehendingly at the wreckage of a night of looting and rampage. There were those for whom this meant complete ruin.

On the Upper West Side of Manhattan at 95th Street and Amsterdam, Le Mans, a men’s fashion store was “totally cleaned out,” according to its vice president, Ted Brooks. “It looked like a bomb shelter,” he said. “They took everything – clothes, shoes, furniture, plants and fixtures. They even took our computerized cash register.”

New Outlook at Windows on the World

“It was amazing. We were looking out at the most spectacular view in the world – New York at night – when suddenly it disappeared.” Ivy Stevens was one of the 600 guests dinning at Windows on the World, the restaurant on the 107th floor of the WTC when, before their eyes, the vast panorama of Manhattan simply flickered and went out.

A Grim Game of Cat and Mouse on Tour of East Harlem Eric Pace

Rioters bombarded police cars and foot patrolmen with bottles and stones, trying to turn them away. “Throwing bricks at the cops – that’s a normal occurrence,” one strapping detective said at the station house. Patol cars were repeatedly stopped by flat tires as they crunched over tin cans, broken bottles and bitrs of glass littering the streets and sidewalks that were eerily lit by police spotlights, fires in trash cans and candles flickering in shopfronts here and there.

Tony Ragona, 50 years old, sat in a chair outside his bakery at 139th Street and Second Avenue and told an interviewer, “This store is OK because I stayed here last night with my .32-caliber pistol and my attack dog. I told them. You come into my place, I shoot you. That was enough.”

excerpt from NYT 7/15/77 D. Carmody

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