Our City Since: The 9/11 Stories of The New York Observer

(Dale Stephanos)

It’s impossible to say who first uttered the phrase, but almost immediately it was ubiquitous: “In light of recent events…” Whether intoned by elected officials or cable news anchors or between friends in sarcastic bar chatter, “In light of recent events” became the preamble to enumerating all the ways our lives changed in the weeks and months after September 11. Disaster preparedness kits were passed out at offices, we were ordered to remove our belts at airport security, hulking concrete bollards were installed outside high-rise buildings, Muslims were eyed warily on the subway. We bombed Afghanistan.

We were living in light of recent events. And we still are.

The events are no longer recent, of course, but the effects linger, and much has changed because of that morning. There are the obvious differences, both large and small: the casualties of war and travel-size toiletries. There have been endless pieces written to explain and compile the tectonic movements the world has undergone, from how our new position in the geopolitical landscape to the role of religion in secular politics. But we wondered about the less apparent ramifications for nearly every aspect of life. Here, we have collected our observations about the ongoing implications, the incremental, unexpected and oblique ways in which our habits of living shifted in the decade since that day.