Bin Laden reaction: Clovis native says NYC upbeat

Sharna Johnson

New York is smiling, according to Clovis native Cyndi Phelps.

Waiting in Phoenix to catch a late flight back to New York Sunday night, Phelps said everyone became glued to the TVs in the terminal when the president came on to announce Osama bin Laden was dead.

A few minutes later on the plane, the pilot’s voice came over the intercom.

“The pilot had some sort of connection with the Navy Seals that were the ones that (killed bin Laden) and he said ‘It’s an extraordinary night and the whole plane just erupted in applause,” she said.

While the 29-year-old was jealous that she wasn’t with her friends celebrating the news, she said it was surreal, “being on a plane with New Yorkers (when the news came out) knowing that they used planes (in the attacks).”

Monday when she got to work, she said there was still a feeling of happiness and celebration in her office and throughout the city.

“People were just so unbelievably thrilled they couldn’t stop smiling. The revelry was just unbelievable, it was just this feeling of it’s done, he’s gone and not only that they took out his son as well,” she said. “You look out there and people are smiling…. It’s hard to explain, it’s like closure in a lot of ways.”

A Clovis High School graduate, Phelps said she works as an officer manager for a hedge fund and has lived in New York for eight years. She arrived two years after the attacks.

“I’ve always said that this city is a living breathing entity. You can tell when this city’s having a bad day, you can tell when it’s having a good day,” she said. “Over time it’s gotten better … ground zero, it’s rebuilding; there’s not any remnants, they’re really trying (but) New Yorkers and, I believe, Americans will never forget that day.”

Even with the good news, Phelps said there was a heightened police presence on the streets with more random searches conducted in the subways, but she said it, “wasn’t a sense of nervousness, it was a sense of protection.”