On a typical day, New York City streets register more than 70 decibels, enough to cause progressive hearing loss. The quiet that enveloped the city after the Towers fell was overwhelming. Manhattan-bound traffic was closed off to nonemergency vehicles for two days, and all commercial flights coming in and out of JFK, La Guardia, and Newark were canceled. Subways ran off and on because of power problems caused by the destruction at Chambers Street. Major League Baseball games were postponed until the seventeenth; the Stock Exchange reopened the same day. That wasn’t the half of it. Whole parts of the city seemed mute—most strikingly, its typically loquacious residents, who walked the streets speechless.
Many of New York City’s institutions were shuttered in the weeks after the attacks. Fashion Week was postponed for 41 days. The Statue of Liberty was closed for three years and its crown stayed closed until 2009. Regular mail delivery didn’t resume for thirteen days. Broadway theaters halted performances until September 13, when their shows returned with dimmed marquees.