The New Yorker thought a movie might take her son's mind (and her own mind) off the terrible tragedy that had just enveloped lower Manhattan 24 hours prior. He was hoping to see Jeepers Creepers.
But like much of the entertainment that usually dominates this bustling city, theaters like this one on 34th Street were closed Wednesday, as citizens came to grips with the shocking attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
"We live in this neighborhood, so all night we heard sirens," Tartell said, as she watched another caravan of police drive down the street. "A lot of people are nervous. Fifty percent of the people here were in tears or in shock yesterday. The reality is that, of those 10,000 people [in the World Trade Center], you're gonna know somebody."
With that in mind, most forms of entertainment have shut their doors, with no immediate plans to return to business as usual. New Yorkers have placed their priorities elsewhere: the safety of loved ones, the developing rescue efforts and local campaigns to find more blood donors.
Times Square, the normally frenzied epicenter for Broadway, media and, of course, MTV's Total Request Live, was empty Wednesday. Police barricaded parts of the street, tourists disappeared and mere handfuls of people decided to return to work in nearby buildings. On the day of the attack, MTV and VH1 had switched programming over to the news feed of Viacom partner CBS. But a day later, both stations were back to showing videos, and MTV planned to preempt its normally raucous Times Square TRL for news coverage.
Near Times Square, another high-profile event, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, was originally expected to wrap up Friday. But the makeshift tent erected in Bryant Park was empty and blocked off Wednesday. The structure was slated to be used for emergency purposes as the rescue efforts continued.
Meanwhile, Fashion Week organizers posted a brief statement at the site announcing the cancellation of the fashion showcase.
"We are in constant communication with the designers and looking into the alternatives to assist the industry with shows and venues in New York City at the appropriate time," Executive Director Fern Mallis said. "Our thoughts and prayers are extended to all the families and friends of those lost in this tragedy."
Tuesday's attacks came during one of the busiest weeks of the year for New York, entertainment-wise. MTV's Video Music Awards had just wrapped up, as had Michael Jackson's pair of 30th anniversary concerts at Madison Square Garden. Later this week, indie music fans were expected to converge on the city for the weekend CMJ Music Marathon and Film Fest. But on Wednesday afternoon, the music publication announced that it, too, was postponing its festival until October 10-13.
"On behalf of the entire CMJ extended family I wish to extend my most profound condolences to the families of the innocent victims of yesterday's vicious terrorist attacks, and my sincerest prayers for the thousands of injured," CMJ Chairman Robert Haber said in a statement.
"We pray for the people of this great city, our nation and the world."