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America's New War: Life in New York City

Aired September 20, 2001 - 06:37   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: It is fair to say, Leon, that during this time of conflict, it seems that life will certainly never be the same, especially for those people who live in New York City and witnessed the destruction in person.

Anthony Pucciarelli and Lori Falco live in the New York neighborhood of Tribeca, and they join us this morning -- good morning to both of you.

First and foremost, I just want to ask: How are you doing?

ANTHONY PUCCIARELLI, TRIBECA RESIDENT: It's (UNINTELLIGIBLE) with what's going on.

LORI FALCO, TRIBECA RESIDENT: Getting by.

PUCCIARELLI: Getting by.

LIN: Getting by, getting by. Well, that -- we can all count our blessings that we're hear today to talk about these stories.

What I'm trying to get a sense of, though, is after the terrorist attack -- I mean, here you are living in a neighborhood so close to the disaster zone. How has your life -- your daily routines, your daily life changed?

PUCCIARELLI: Well, where I'm standing right now -- you know, my basic routine was that I would get up about 4:00 in the morning. About this time I would be going to my gym, which is right to the right -- I mean, New York Sports Club. And then, I would go to the gym and go to work. And I find myself now getting out of bed at 9:00.

I'm in the trucking business. I deliver financial printing. And I'm out of business, you know. But yet, there are people with a lot more stuff, and it's like living in a war zone. You know, you come out of your house, and you see people giving away food.

You know, it's such a mixed emotional thing, because there is love all around, and then there's death all around, too. You know, like it's like -- it's like an emotional roller coaster.

LIN: Yes, and for Laurie, you -- it must really hit close to home. You used to work in the World Trade Center. FALCO: Actually my building was 7 World Trade Center, and I wasn't there at the time. I was in 388 Greenwich. And I had seen the hole in the first tower, and I had gone down and seen the hole in the second.

And people in the streets -- you know, looking up at that and it's four blocks away as we were, we didn't know whether the towers were going to come down on us. I didn't know what to do. I went home to actually start packing a bag thinking that my building would fall. And when I was doing that, the second tower fell down. And I thought I was going to die. I thought I was going to die.

And what I realized is that nothing material is important in my life -- absolutely nothing. And I just prayed for God not to take me, and that I wasn't ready to go yet.

LIN: Lori, thank God you're safe, thank God you're safe.

FALCO: Yes.

LIN: As you walk around, I'm wondering, it's got to change your perspective every time you walk into a building. It's kind of hard to avoid a high-rise in a place like New York City.

FALCO: You can't avoid that. Absolutely -- and I work at Smith Barney right next door, and you know, they have many floors. And people are petrified actually to go to work.

LIN: Do you feel safe walking down the street? Do you feel safe going about your daily business now?

FALCO: To be honest, I have an underlining fear every day -- hearing loud noises. I actually went into church the other day, and we heard a subway. I wasn't sure if that was, you know, another bombing. There was a bomb scare at work the other day. There is an underlining constant fear that I live with on a daily basis.

LIN: So how do you guys cope with this -- Anthony?

PUCCIARELLI: Basically, you know, we just hope -- but, you know, walking down the street, you know, if you don't look at the Trade Center, and you just see what's going on, you know -- you know something wrong is going on, because basically, you know, it really didn't hit like what really went on, you know, if you're living in it.

You know, you see all this stuff going on, you see these firemen are at it. They are so lovable. They're doing work that's been on with the police officer. Everybody's doing so much stuff, like you know, you need that time to think about what's really going on, and then you go home, and you lay in bed, and you know, you really think, you know, there's 5,000 people lost their lives in there. You know, it's just like -- it's too hard to even understand what's going on. You know, it's so vast.

And you know, you try and get away from it. Like yesterday, you know, me and Lori were on ground zero Wednesday and Thursday, you know, doing some service, giving out water and some protein bars. And the commissioner and Pataki and Giuliani says no more volunteers. So we decided -- she went to work, and I went uptown to get away from it. And I went into a restaurant to eat, and I'm sitting down eating, and a guy sat right next to me from Pittsburgh that lost his sister.

LIN: Oh!

PUCCIARELLI: You know, no matter where you go in New York City, you can't get away from it, you know, and...

LIN: Yes.

PUCCIARELLI: ... it's just -- it's unbelievable. You know, alls I could do, like Lori said, is I pray to God, you know, I hope this passes. And I pray that our leaders make the right decision, and we don't have to lose no more Americans. You know, we lost so many people.

LIN: Anthony...

PUCCIARELLI: I don't want to see...

LIN: ... I'm sorry -- go ahead.

PUCCIARELLI: I don't want to see us lose no more people. I want to see us do what's got to be right, and I just hope God makes our leaders make the right decisions.

LIN: As we do too.

How do you guys try to help each other then in little moments during the day?

PUCCIARELLI: We cuddle each other. Like yesterday we tried to -- last night, we tried to watch the Yankee game.

You know, we live on the 14th floor. You know, we're in a high- rise, you know. You know, and then you've got the -- you know, your way of thinking, I got to say, well, you know what? They did enough damage in New York. I don't think they're going to do no more here.

You know, there's -- and I go to church a lot. I keep close to God at this time. And like Lori said, you know, I was a workaholic. I worked sometimes 12, 14 hours a day. And you know, that all changed. You know why? Because it's about family, it's about being close to my family. You know, like they say, live life like every day is your last. You don't know. We live in a different world, I feel.

LIN: We do. Lori Falco, Anthony Pucciarelli -- thanks so much for joining us this morning. And best of luck to both of you and everyone around you.

PUCCIARELLI: Thank you for having us.

LIN: All right.

PUCCIARELLI: And thank you for having us.

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