'New York loves Boston.' Did we just say that?
New Yorkers set aside historic rivalries in signs of support after the Boston Marathon bomb attacks. Their message: We've been attacked. We know what you're going through. We're with you.
On Monday night, projected on the outside wall of Brooklyn’s Academy of Music were the words, “Darkness Can Not Drive Out Darkness, Only Light Can Do That,” NY(heart)B – the Red Sox B.
And, TV personality Jon Stewart on the Daily Show on Tuesday night told his viewers that, given the bomb attacks in Boston, “in situations like this, we realize it is a sibling rivalry and we are your brothers and sisters in this type of event.”
Yes, the Big Apple is putting aside its rivalry with Boston. The message: We’ve been attacked, so we know what you’re going through. We’re with you.
On Tuesday, Mayor Bloomberg proclaimed that New York would fly all its flags at half-staff in memory of those killed and, in addition, New York would fly the flag of the city of Boston at half-staff at City Hall. At Yankee stadium as well, flags flew at half staff.
The city is sending more than goodwill. According to New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, New York sent two police sergeants to the Boston Regional Intelligence Center. They can provide expertise as well as learn more about the bombing from the Boston Police Department.
“We have an excellent working relationship with the Boston Police Department,” said Mr. Kelly at a press conference on Tuesday. “They are members of our Operation Sentry," a program to detect terror operations that may originate outside of New York City.
At least one bar, the Rivera Café and Sports Bar, which considers itself the home of New York-based Boston sports fans, is planning to send money to a fund to help the victims of the bombings. During the next seven days, Steve Sertell, the general manager, says he will send 10 percent of his gross revenue to aid victims.
"I just want to make sure it’s funneled to the right people, to make sure it’s the people at the Boston Marathon who are the beneficiaries,” says Mr. Sartell, who says he was delighted to see the Yankees stand in solidarity with the Red Sox.
“It is times like this that we put all that petty stuff aside,” he says.
It’s not surprising to see the outpouring of support, says Alan Hilfer, director of psychology at Maimonides Medical Center in New York.
“What we saw after 9/11 is that it takes a crisis for us to see that we are less a country with differences than a country that shares the same values and sensibilities,” says Dr. Hilfer. “We may have traditional rivalries in sports, we may make fun of Bostonians but when something like this happens we tend to appreciate our similarities more than our differences.”
After 9/11, the residents of Boston also put aside their rivalry. On Sept. 20, some 29,627 fans at Fenway Park rose to their feet midway through the fourth inning and sang, “New York, New York.”
On Tuesday night, the fans at Yankee Stadium stood up in the middle of fourth inning to sing “Sweet Caroline,” a Neil Diamond song which is normally played in the middle of the eighth inning at Fenway.
“The events in Boston transcend the silliness of the rivalry,” he says. “When confronted with these horrors, things like “Boston S*cks” seem meaningless.”
Bostonian Makena Cahill, who now lives in New York, says she is definitely feeling the love.
“I went for a run on Tuesday and I saw more people wearing their Boston Marathon T-shirts and Boston hats than normal,” says Ms. Cahill. “I think there is an underlying sense of solidarity.”
Cahill thinks New Yorkers quickly empathized with Boston because of 9/11. They have been through this before,” says Cahill. “Because of the nature of the event, it wasn’t an attack on Boston. It was bigger than that.”