New York and New Orleans
Articles about French Quarter bars and restaurants now coming out of New Orleans remind me of TriBeCa in mid-September 2001. My cousin Wendy Warburton is an editor of the Ottawa Citizen. At her request, I escorted a Citizen reporter through police lines to my office in TriBeCa, then showed him around the community. He was fascinated by Yaffa, a restaurateur who transformed her business into lodging for a South Carolina fire department, gave away her food, then slowly, judiciously sold off the booze. Yaffa was an extravagant dresser in a vaguely Middle Eastern manner; she had been an Israeli paratrooper. She thrived on the crisis. She said mean things about Arabs with which we all silently agreed. The reporter’s final article was more about Yaffa than the World Trade Center. Meanwhile, in my world, Yaffa continued to issue mundane orders: “Make some more peanut butter sandwiches.” I was her scullion and eventually hid. Now, thank God, I have reverted to the status of old, faithful customer.