News of Crash Brings Flood of Emotion in New York

As news spread about a plane crashing into a building in New York City, residents quickly realized that it was not a reprise of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But a common refrain on the city's streets was the need to check on family and children. Michele Norris talks with Margot Adler.

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

After today's small plane crash and the news that Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle died in the accident, NPR's Margot Adler went out and talked to New Yorks as they took all this in. She joins us now from our studios in New York.

Margot, what did you hear from people?

MARGOT ADLER: Well, initially, as Robert said before, there really was this sense of 9/11 all the time. People got the information about the plane crash very, very fast. They told me as I was walking up the street maybe an hour after the crash, not even that close, maybe I was 18 blocks from it, they said they received it on the Internet, from text messages. High school students said their parents had text messaged them while they were in class. People heard it on All News Radio.

And their first reaction was oh, my God. This is 9/11. And for example, listen to Larry Pace, who is just sitting, basically, he heard it on All News Radio and here's what he has to say.

Mr. LARRY PACE: You just hate to think about the possibilities of what it could be, and you're hoping that it's not, you know? Nobody knows what it's like unless you've been here. Seeing it on the news or seeing it on TV is nothing like seeing for real, up close, without a doubt.

ADLER: That kind of attitude was, I would say I got that from nine out of ten people that I spoke to at that moment. But within hours, the mood shifted. When it became very clear that it was an accident and then when it became clear that Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle was involved, suddenly the mood shifted.

I went and stood by the subway, where hundreds of people were going to see the Mets playoff game, and many of them with, you know, Mets shirts. And some of them were sort of, you know, your typical New Yorkers. They were sort of bantering and even making sort of, maybe not jokes in not such good taste. But here for example is Sam Styers(ph), who says he's a Mets fan, but he really feels very sad about what happened.

Mr. SAM STYERS: You know, a Mets fan, I'm a baseball fan. And it's absolutely horrible. And I feel for his family first. You know, I hope they do something at the game tonight just to honor him. But I still think they should play the game.

ADLER: That was Sam Styers.

NORRIS: Margot, Cory Lidle was a New York Yankees pitcher, was originally from California, played ball out there in West Covina. What kind of pitcher was he?

ADLER: Well, he was not an overpowering pitcher. And he had quite a bit of issues with almost all the teams he played with. His current season with the Yankees ended on bad terms. He was dropped from the Yankees' post season rotation. He was put in a relief role. And most recently, he even had a really testy interview on a fan radio station.

So he was definitely known as a kind of somewhat difficult, somewhat complex player.

NORRIS: Thank you, Margot. That was NPR's Margot Adler. Thanks so much.

ADLER: You're welcome.

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