Ty Batirbek-Wenzel, a Turkish born Muslim who lived in downtown New York City on 9/11, thought she'd never be able smile and laugh again. Nearly eight months later, she found a pretty good reason.
Tears flowed for days, she said. NYFD Firefighter Eric Allen where among the dead.
Then a bartender in the Bowery who later wrote Behind the Bars; The Straight-Up Tales of a Big City Bartender, Batirbek-Wenzel knew Allen from the West Village, where he was a member of Squad 18.
She and her husband Kurt Wenzel tried to console each other. Eight months later, Kyle Wenzel arrived one month early on May 10, 2002. He was conceived two days after 9/11.
"Life goes on in beautiful ways," she said. "To have a baby from that was very symbolic for me. To raise a Muslim man is a tall order today."
Batirbek-Wenzel, now a Springs resident, moved with her family from Bashuyuk to the Bronx when she was less than one years old. Raised in a strict Islamic household, she has kept strong ties to her routes. Her husband converted to marry her.
She was not without conflicted about her religion, but the attacks gave her resolve to show the true face of Islam.
Following 9/11, she felt "an insane amount of Islam-phobia," she said, making it important to raise a son "to right the wrongs of that image."
"To know they were Muslims, the guilt was so astounding," she said. "That's why I want to make Kyle mean something."
His middle name is Baris, Turkish for peace.