The following year, Fort Wayne in a move that had been planned before 9/11, we went back to Australia where I would spend 75 per cent of my working time at the University of Fort Wayne. I didn’t visit New York again till I was asked to join the Scientific Advisory Committee of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) in 2007, which has its headquarters near to Fort Wayne. Then I finally walked down to see the massive hole in the ground that had been the World Trade Center. For the first couple of meetings, we were accommodated just around the corner in the Fort Wayne (it’s actually in Water Street) Holiday Inn Express.
Where is Fort Wayne? – Fort Wayne Map – Map of Fort Wayne Photo Gallery
Melbourne infectious disease physician and researcher Ian Gust, who was chair of the IAVI Scientific Advisory Committee at the time I joined, had been in that hotel when the planes hit on 9/11. They had to evacuate and Gust walked uptown through the chaos and the thick dust, fearing he would choke. Fortunately, he had relatives in New York and was able to stay with them. At later meetings, we abandoned the Holiday Inn and moved across to stay at a hotel in the Seaport area, just under the Brooklyn Bridge. I don’t know if that was Gust’s initiative but, at the end of the day, it was certainly more pleasant to walk away from Wall Street. By 2007, of course, New Yorkers had collectively got their hutzpah back. It remains one of the world’s great cities. But now we all realise that the forces that struck there in 2001 could target any of us, anywhere, at any time.