Thwoka thwoka thwoka

English: NYPD helicopter patrolling New York C...

English: NYPD helicopter patrolling New York City. Photo taken from the Empire State Building Observatory. Deutsch: Ein Helikopter des NYPD patrolliert über New York City. Das Foto wurde von der Empire State Building Sternwarte aufgenommen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hate the sound of those blades beating the air. When I was younger, it was a sound I associated with wit and laughter, the opening credits of M*A*S*H.

Now? Forget it. When I hear a helicopter I look up to see where it is, and assess which direction will take me away from it. Leftover PTSD from 9/11, I suppose. But it seems as if it’s never neutral. I don’t live in a part of the city where tourists would be taking rides, and I’m not en route to the Hamptons. So a helicopter means something is happening; police searching for someone, news crew filming, either way, I don’t want to be out in it.

Yesterday evening I was out walking a dog in Central Park when I heard them. I felt that unwelcome pitch and roll in my stomach, and then realized the odds were excellent that the choppers were part of the Parks Dept, doing a recon mission to see what trees it would make sense to trim in case Hurricane Sandy does hit New York and have the impact they’re predicting.  Does the Parks Dept have helicopters? I have no idea, but the thought worked for me.  I reminded myself to buy a couple of gallons of water just in case, and kept walking.

After I was home, I found out why the helicopters were out. A mother’s nightmare, every mother’s nightmare. Two young children were stabbed to death in their apartment, allegedly by their nanny, who was also stabbed but not killed, while the mother was at swim lessons with the third child. The entire Upper West Side, a neighborhood is filled with families, dogs, and nannies. I don’t know the circumstances, don’t know the family, don’t know the nanny, but my heart breaks for their loss.

I heard the mom is a successful blogger, documenting her children and family life in the city. I can’t even imagine the push-pull that will take place for her, not wanting to see the documenting of a happy and complete family, and yet maybe she’ll be glad to have those moments enshrined in cyberspace.

I’m not sure why I feel especially captured by this tragedy.  My youngest is considerably older than this mom’s oldest. I don’t live a similar lifestyle. This is, after all, New York.  Things like this do not happen every day, but violence is a part of the city. This type of violence, or at least what it appears to be at this point, can and does happen everywhere, city, country, suburb; someone “snaps,” and there are victims: young, old, innocent.

As I am typing, I hear more of those evil blades.  Please tell me the Parks Department does in fact have helicopters.



  1. Oh this just hurt to even read. I don’t even have anything profound or insightful to offer, but I had to let you know that I indeed READ this, and it touched me… and these things touch us all when they represent the vulnerability of life, the fears we all harbor as mothers.

    Wishing peace to that mom out there and the little one who is now facing life without his/her siblings. What a tragedy.


  2. I can relate to this more than I would like. My 12yo niece was airlifted by a helicopter to a hospital after being run over by a schoolbus. She died there the next day. It was years before I was able to see or hear a helicopter with an intense emotional and psychological reaction, although I am able to now.
    I’m sorry, Mama Fringe.
    I hate the negative impact of these things.


  3. Oh, I hate the helicopters, too! Believe it or not, we have the same sort of thing here. Helicopters usually mean a police search. Scary when they’re shining the searchlights into your own back yard.

    Horrifying what people do to one another.


  4. This story was just on the news here, where they’re reporting that the nanny was the one who wielded the knife. Tragic and heartbreaking. How do you go forward when something like this happens? 😦


    1. I honestly don’t know, and can’t imagine moving forward after this type of tragedy. I can’t begin to imagine how the parents woke up this morning. I heard the nanny is under arrest in the hospital.


  5. Couldn’t click like – it’s a profoundly moving story and it’s made me reflect. I recall helicopters a lot as a child. Our street was adjacent to an alley that a lot of scary things happened in. Drugs, muggings, fights – choppers were a regular part of the predawn hours. One night I heard shooting – lots of it. The next morning I found out my 7th grade classmate, Patrick, had broken into an apartment on the alley and killed the people who lived there – everything became so very real after that. I still think of his face when I hear a chopper – a freckle faced boy.


    1. Heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing your helicopter associations. I’ve never gone on a helicopter ride, and I can’t imagine choosing to go on one for pleasure. Too much yuck and tears associated.


      1. Me too – It’s funny – I live in the woods outside of a small town and rarely hear them anymore – I assume they are either a life flight or DEA looking for pot – but I think of Patrick…I don’t want to ride in one either.


  6. Whenever I’m inpatient with one of the kids, I hear the helicopters land on the roof. I hate it. I think about how sick or hurt a child would have to be to earn a Lifestar trip to the hospital.

    One day a baby was admitted to the room next to ours. “So here’s the little one that made all the fuss up on the roof yesterday” I heard out in the hall, all the nurses hovering over the little crib. No mommy with this one- he was accompanied by a cop and a DCF worker. I have no idea what brought him there but it broke my heart that he had to be in that hospital without- or maybe even because of- the people who should love him most.


  7. Simply dreadful. I really can’t begin to imagine the horror, loss, pain. Why do people have to hurt each other.
    Brilliant writing too. We toured the states just after 9 /11 and I nearly wet myself every time a plane came to land in washington they do a low swing by the city, it was terrifying.


    1. Wow, what a different experience you had than it would have been pre 9/11. I hate the way things have changed (insert foot stomping here). Every time I see armed guards in Times Square (or again, hear a helicopter overhead), I feel sick. Not for fear of terrorists, but because of the loss and difference in the way we live our lives.


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