Have you ever heard of Point Thank You? Point Thank You is the name for a street corner in Greenwich where, in the months following 9/11, New Yorkers gathered to show their gratitude to rescue workers leaving the wreckage; where tourists from Japan and Europe, Jews from Brooklyn, yuppies, the homeless, all gathered to say “thank you.” To applaud, to shout, “we love you.” It’s where an exhausted ironworker from Florida stopped every night to share a cigar with students from NYU. Where Greenwich Village Drag Queens passed out bottles of water to firemen from Iowa. The Fire Department dogs, pressed into service to find human remains, even got treats from the crowds at Point Thank You.
This demonstration of gratitude erupted spontaneously on the day of the attack and quickly gathered momentum. Web sites emerged, volunteer coordinators sprung up. During the first few weeks after the attack, hundreds gathered round the clock to pay tribute to rescue workers. At around five o’clock, when people got out of work, the numbers swelled even more. After a month or so, a solid core of a couple dozen volunteers rotated in shifts, maintaining a 24-hour presence at Point Thank You throughout the freezing winter.
After a while, the folks at Point Thank You became legendary in New York. The volunteers’ tenacious commitment to gratitude throughout the frigid winter caused some in New York to refer to them as “those nuts down on the Westside Highway.” The volunteers claimed this epithet as their own. The Thank You Nuts, they started calling themselves. Fools for gratitude in a city that previously hadn’t had the best reputation for practicing gratitude.
I think we should all become NUTS…THANK YOU NUTS!