New York’s Ongoing Recovery Process Following 9/11
For those living in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, life irrevocably shifted in “both obvious and subtle” ways, according to Professor Susan Opotow (John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and The Graduate Center, CUNY) and Zachary Shemtob. The day’s violent events affected the city’s infrastructure, economy, and residents’ mental health in immediate ways, but what else occurred once the aftershock wore off? Now that nearly two decades have passed, the scholars trace myriad recovery efforts and issues in their new co-edited book New York After 9/11.
The collection sets out to pose three questions: “What were the key conflicts that erupted in New York City in 9/11’s wake? What clashing interests were involved and how did they change over time? And what was the role of these conflicts in the transition from trauma to recovery for New York City as a whole?” To help explore each one, Opotow and Shemtob invited experts in an array of fields — including architecture and design, health, psychology, human rights, and public safety — to contribute essays.
The resulting chapters investigate topics like the city’s changing sense of security, fire emergency plans in tall buildings, PTSD in first responders, building the 9/11 Memorial, Muslim youth living in the city, and more. “Their analyses allow us to understand how the events of Sept. 11 and its immediate aftermath rippled out over time to affect New York City in the years since and into the present,” Opotow and Shemtob write.
Even though New York After 9/11 specifically investigates New York City, Opotow believes it can help others working in disaster preparedness. “There are some common truisms and expectations about how disaster trajectories proceed, but what I found surprising was learning that recovery is a multiple rather than a singular process,” Opotow said in an interview. “It proceeds in its own way in different urban sectors.”
Shemtob earned his Ph.D. in criminal justice from The Graduate Center, CUNY in 2011, before going on to complete his J.D. at Georgetown University Law Center.
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New York After 9/11
Fordham University Press, 2018
“New York is Still Healing, 17 Years After 9/11” (GC News)