Once authorities established a link between the bombing in Seaside Park and the one in Manhattan, UNC class of 2016 graduate and former Daily Tar Heel print advertising manager Alex Walkowski realized the weight of the events.
“The New Jersey (bombing) didn’t really affect anyone,” he said. “It was a big thing but I think just the (5k) race was delayed — so there weren’t any casualties, no one was really injured and it didn’t make a ton of news.”
“But then when the (Manhattan) one came out, that was a much bigger deal and that was because it affects more people. Then very soon afterwards they had said, ‘Okay there’s a link between the two of these,’” Walkowski said. “That’s when it got scary.”
New Yorkers were astonished by how quickly the bombing in Manhattan occurred after the one in Seaside Park.
“It is very shocking because now it’s in your neighborhood,” said UNC class of 2016 graduate and former Daily Tar Heel editor Ryan Schocket. Schocket lives in the same county as Seaside Park, and commutes into the city for his job. “It’s no longer just a headline, something you see in the news.”
As terrifying as the bombings were for residents of the city, some New Yorkers said they felt prepared for the events.
“When you live in a city of more than 8 million people I think you develop awareness that things like this could happen, and as a result, I don’t think for me the shock factor was huge,” said Marisa DiNovis, a UNC class of 2015 graduate.
Despite the bombings, former Tar Heels said they are confident that the city will be back on its feet in no time.
For DiNovis, a native New Yorker, the city has always been resilient.
“I think New York will be how we’ve always been — I’m from here, I grew up not far from the city, and I think that about 15 years ago was when our city’s response was really tested, when a seemingly random violent act occurred,” she said. “I think that now we’re always prepared. You never want something like this to happen, but you’re always prepared for it.”
Weekman mirrored her sentiments.
“New Yorkers have this mentality — I guess that they’ve had since 9/11 — that if you let someone scare you then you’re letting them win,” said Weekman.
“But if you keep living your life and keep being strong then you win — you come out on top.”