NEW Yorkers want their New York back. I want my New York back. And I'm sure much of the civilised world would like back its own grand and glamorous vision of New York City.
Of course, this week, there is no turning back the clock as the horror of the events of the last few days really begins to sink in.
However, the terrible truth is that none of us are going to recover this city the same megalopolis of the movies, of the TV, of books and magazines any time soon, if ever.
In the excruciating hours since several blocks of New York's Downtown were shockingly re-christened Ground Zero in the course of a single hour, I have walked the streets and rode the restarted subways of a city which truly has been brought to its knees. A city transformed.
A New York struggling to come to terms with its grief, its desperation and its outrage.
We have, as one New Yorker succinctly put it, a 'hole in the sky' where once there was one of the world¹s greatest landmarks.
And in the rubble of those once mighty twin towers there are many thousands of dead and dying. The recovery operation is likely to take weeks, probably months.
And though Mayor Rudy Guiliani and those leading firefighter and police officials who managed to survive the World Trade Center catastrophe have shown brave faces since the mighty twin towers disintegrated, the mayhem and extremely palpable panic has continued.
Bomb threat evacuations have taken place at New York's number one tourist attraction, the Empire State Building, as well as the great Pennsylvania and Grand Central stations.
There is no doubt New York City today is, in more ways than one, gutted. The same bomb scare that closed the Empire State and Penn Station also sent me fleeing for my life from the nearby Daily News building on Manhattan's West Side and out to a refuge on the banks of the Hudson River.
New York has felt as though it is under curfew both day and night.
Incredibly, it is not.
Still, after darkness falls and when sidewalk cafes should be buzzing with people making the most of the few warm late summer evenings we have left, they are bizarrely quiet.
And the only vehicles to be seen as you walk the streets late at night are police cars, many escorting ambulances transferring victims from the disaster area at the south end of Manhattan to the many hospitals and morgues around town, fire engines with their sirens wailing and the odd
Humvee trucks of the US National Guard.
No people and little traffic at any time of day in New York City this city that is supposed never to sleep makes for a very disconcerting and eerie experience.
I have got as near to the disaster area as the press is permitted to go, about half a mile from Ground Zero.
TV pictures are unable to convey the completely terrible experience, including the filling of your lungs with acrid smoke that has now cast a depressing pall over the whole of Manhattan island. It is an apocalyptic vision down there.
Truly, the unthinkable has occurred, and it was difficult to remain staring into that smoking, steaming mass of twisted metal and concrete, where still so many people remain entombed today.
So near and yet so far, I felt helpless as all manner of trucks and military vehicles, ambulances and police cars sped past our Press corps and into that appalling heart of darkness.
Predictions of a final death toll waver massively between 10,000 and 25,000.
It's going to take a long time for New Yorkers to become their extravagant and gregarious selves once again.
The horrific extent of this tragedy is only just starting to unfold, and for now New Yorkers are numb and in a deep state of shock.
The fears of all of us are not over yet. Our nightmare goes on.
Dave Candler is now living and working in New York with his American wife.