It’s been almost a decade since the al-Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center. Yet one in four New Yorkers still thinks about the 9/11 attacks every day, according to a poll commissioned by The New York Daily News and Siena College.
As a Londoner, I am still shocked by the events of 7/7 and the failed copycat attacks two weeks later. But what surprised me when reading last weekend’s poll was just how individually affected ordinary New Yorkers were. We’ve all seen the footage of planes destroying the very heart of downtown, but I didn’t know that 38% of all NYC residents and 46% suburban New Yorkers actually knew someone who was killed that day.
Ten years on and more than half of the respondents say they worry about a repeat attack and a third panic when they see a low-flying plane. Amazingly, 28% of New Yorkers are sceptical of the official explanation – almost one in five believes the explosives conspiracy theory and 10% are unsure.
Most worryingly, the unity the city showed on the day of the attacks appears to have been eroded by fear. 38% admit to looking at strangers more closely now wondering if they may be a terrorist – 13% all the time and 25% often. 25% say they are always or often suspicious those they believe to be Muslim.