#689 | Monday, January 28th 2002
i was in manhattan - down the street -about 40 blocks away working when the planes hit. i was lucky. but there are some visions from those next days i will not forget... being a relative newcomer to new york to begin with, seeing the entire city shut down with in hours of the towers collapsing.

i remember walking through central park with a collective group of people fro my office. we had been told to head uptown... just go north. men and women in their business suits huddled in groups in the park listening to the radio broadcast the president and the mayor.

we were trying to figure out what to do.

and not sure how to help.


Jennifer | 35 | New York

#683 | Sunday, January 27th 2002
I heard about the first attack when my fiancee called from the gym, where she had seen the initial news flash on television. We live in Boerum Hill, a neighborhood in Brooklyn between one and two miles (as the crow flies) from lower Manhattan. The highlight of the tour of our one bedroom apartment had always been the postcard-perfect view of the WTC from our west-facing windows.

When she called, I instinctively flipped on CNN, but then I also opened the window shades. I felt like I was watching a tennis match, whipping my head from side to side to see the live shot on television and then comparing it to the same picture outside of my window.

Iíve always been something of an airline nut. Living where we live, with unobstructed south and west views, was especially fun for me, since we were directly under one of the Laguardia landing paths and I could watch them line up three or four deep as they prepared to land. On a clear day, I could even see the planes taking off and landing on the horizon over at Newark.

So I know where the planes are supposed to be on any given day, and Iíd had nightmares over the years about them being in the wrong place and crashing into the ground. Iíd never had a vivid enough imagination, however, to think that one might crash into the World Trade Center, let alone two. So I had trouble processing it all that morning when I spotted a fast-moving, low-flying plane heading north over New York harbor. I remember wondering to myself, "Havenít they closed this airspace yet because of the accident?" Then I realized what was going on: "Oh, itís the tanker plane coming to dump a load of water on the burning building." Then, that plane hit the tower too, and I realized in a flash that the first crash had not been accident.

ron lieber | 30 | New York

#651 | Wednesday, January 23rd 2002
i was getting off the subway at the wall street stop, a bit late for a meeting, my second week of a new job. people were crushing up the stairs, as always. i was waiting at the back of the crowd, had injured my knee three months earlier and could only go up stairs one at a time.

all at once, everyone on the stairs turned to come back down. i couldn't hear the noise from where i was, but the second plane had just hit.

being a new yorker, i thought "hey, there must be someone with a gun on the street. or maybe there was a terrible car accident right above."

and, being a new yorker, i was tough enough to not let such things bother me. i thought, ok, can't go up to the street here. i'll use another exit." i turned to walk north on the platform, headed toward where i could enter my building from underneath. i was nearing the entrance when a woman came running toward me, tears streaming down her face, saying that a plane had hit the trade center and that people were jumping out of the building.

life froze for me that moment, and my brain started to work s l o w l y. the only thought that occured to me was: "i h a v e t o g e t h o m e."

i headed toward the underpass to the uptown tracks. i was halfway down the stairs when LOTS of people started running through, all of them screaming "get out of manhattan! go to brooklyn!"

my brain, still slow, scrambled. i knew i needed to go uptown to go home, but there was no way to tell if the uptown train was running.

then i experienced what a leap of faith is really like. my brain/soul/heart decided that the train would come.

once i made it to the uptown platform, which was pretty empty, i sat on the bench to wait. i realized that i had to tell someone that i wouldn't be able to run if something horrible happened. there was a guy on the platform playing back videotape of the burning building. just as i turned to tell the woman next to me that i couldn't run, the train came. it was about 9:20.

we boarded. but the subway conductors DIDN'T KNOW TO TELL PEOPLE NOT TO GET OFF, and people streamed off the train, trying to get to work.

brain still slow, i knew that was a bad thing. so, like a new yorker, i blocked the doors from closing and tried to shout in as calm a way as possible to get back on the train. folks looked at me, a young professional woman, obviously not nuts. and some of them got back on the train.

i was home by 9:45. when i got off the subway in my neighborhood, my friend elizabeth was on my doorstep, panicked that i was trapped downtown. people were lined up on the street, staring down to the view of the burning buildings. arms crossed. mouths hanging open, mouths covered with a silent hand.

i was in my apartment, trying to call my grandfather, when my landlord yelled upstairs that the first tower had fallen.

when i think of that day, that perfect warmish clear september day, i still cannot fully absorb what happened. my heart still breaks at the horror and the loss, and i thank the universe for helping me to get home safely.

lisa | 34 | New York

#633 | Tuesday, January 15th 2002
I was giving myself a once over as my cat watched me from the window. I heard an earth shattering crash and my windows rattled and building shook (like a sonic boom of a landing space shuttle only bigger and louder). My cat was startled and so was I, but I shrugged it off as perhaps a car accident right below my window. I rushed down the stairs in my usual morning craze, relatively unstartled by the previous noise I heard and one block later I had forgotten it but not for the couple dozen people seemingly frozen on the street corner looking SW. As I looked up, I saw the sky filled with a thick grey smoke and what seemed to be millions of birds (I later realized these were not birds but papers). Suddenly a couple of cops from the subway station ran up and yelled "Naw man it was an explosion!!". My imaginaative mind raced with curiousity and a little bit of fear, perhaps it was a boiler explosion...yes thats definitely it, tragic tragic yes...hm...For one fleeting moment I hesitated to go into the subway (sometimes the subway gets whack if accidents happen above, you just never know) but NEVER NEVER was I guessing that it involved the WTC, let alone terrorists.
-I am sorry this is long winded but it is a part of my healing process to recall what happened, because I cannot get it out of my head, everyday I relive this and I hope someday soon, I can put it to rest-
I took the train to Broadway/Lafayette and transfered for the uptown 6 at Bleecker. When I got upstairs there were about a hundred people on the street corner, their mouthes gaping. Confusion, paralysis, seemed to have inflicted each person and we all just sort of stood there but I still did not know what happened. Getting the feeling it was pretty bad, I asked a lovely woman, "What building is it?"... She could hardly speak at all but she managed "It is the WTC, one tower was hit by a plane I just watched it on the news as I left..." I was shaking, I thought it was a joke but I knew it was not. I wass ssoooooooo confused that after five minutes of just standing there I got on the 6 train. I will never forget the train that morning. Everyone seemed on the verge of fainting. A grown business man looked close to death. Noone knew if it was an accident. noone knew anything. Noone could think about death because we were still stuck on the fact that a plane hit the building. I got to 86th street and saw a group of people huddled by a radio at the corner store. I tried to listen but it was impossible. All I heard was that another plane hit the other tower. It happened while I was on the train, in disbelief, still unsuspecting. When I got to work I could find noone. The phones were completely jammed and I could not reach my boyfriend. I was panicking. I could hardly see. My head spun and spun. I tried to do some work, but when I made a phone call, I was overcome with guilt for having made the call. I turned the radio on and a plane had hit the Pentagon. Now I was shot to another planet. The blows kept coming and with everyone I became more and more unsure of anything being real or fake or true or false. My boss arrived, likened it to Pearl Harbor, gave me a list of things to do and went out again expecting to do more work. I realize now she was in total denial...it was really freaky but everyone deals with shock differently I suppose. I finally spoke to my boyfriend who told me to meet him at his office. "I cant", I said, "I have to work " He said I was nuts, work could not be done and finally I agreedd he was right. I met him on 70th and we hoped to catch a cab, but it became increasingly clear that driving was not happening. We walked and walked and walked. Over one hundred blocks I walked that day. I have a scar on my foot to always remember it. It was warm and we held hands tight. We could hardly speak the two of us. We just tried not to let go of each other as the seaa of people grrrew heavier and heavier and deeper and deeper. Thousands of hundreds of ...tons of people. Indescribably amountts, like and exodus crossing bridges. It was harrowing. It was breathtaking, It instilled a fear like no other to see people flee this great city. As we walked the crowds never thinned. Some were already drunk in the bars we passed. We passed the blood bank with a line a block and a half long. We passed the hospital with about fifty doctors in full gear awaiting patients. The park was blocked off as a holding area with gurneys. Scary...Wee arrived home, twenty blocks away from the WTC, where I started that morning giving myself a once over and collaapsed in exhaustion. We couldnt watch tv........
I just wanted to write this because everyday since September 11th, I have relieved this scene in my head, Everytime I get to Bleecker on my waay to work I am reminded and I look South to see if it were all a dream, but the towers are still gone. Everyday as I give myself the once over, I wonder if another crash will occur. Everytime I hear a plan, a siren, or a loud noise, I relive it again. I am fearful of crowds, I am fearful of flying which I did two weeks ago but it totally spent me. I know it is not great to be scared because that is what they wanted. But I stood here that morning as the planed zoomed over my apartment building and was so unassuming and I never thought it would have been what it was and that kills me. My sadness is slow to emerge. I cant watch it on tv. I am not depressed at all, I have gone on as everyone else, I made the Deans list despite it all, but it hurts beyond belief and I just hoped that by telling my story in full, I might remove it from my sadness and move on to doing honor to those who died for our freedon in the name of America. My love and prayers to everyone on earth.

Emily | 24 | New York

#624 | Thursday, January 10th 2002
When the planes hit, I was in the library of my high school (in a suburb of Manhattan). I heard one of my teachers talking to someone about how a plane had hit one of the trade centers. At the time it was thought to be an accident, so while I was shocked I assumed no real damage had been done to the trade centers.
Later on in the day rumors started going around. We finally heard that both of the twin towers had been hit and that they were coming down. Because we were in school, information was scarse. People began to panic when the pay phones stopped working and no one could get ahold of their parents. People were saying that the White House had been blown up as well as the pentagon. We all paniced and eventually a friend of mine and I went home where we found out what had really happened-it was as bad as we had imagined.

Serendipity H. | 18 | New York

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