Twin Towers Terror
The Day The New York Skyline Changed
"I don't want to start any blasphemous rumors,
But I think that God's got a sick sense of humor.
And when I die, I expect to find him laughing."
What can I say? September 11th, 2001, everything changed. Our city, our Country, our World and our lives. All changed forever. I've decided to build this page for my friends and family to post their thoughts, experiences, and pictures expressing their feelings on this day of terror. Special thanks to Steven Yount for his incredibly poignant graphic that he created for this day.
For me, it all started Tuesday morning at 9am when I left for work. I was driving into Brooklyn listening to a CD, and had no idea what was going on. I kept seeing unmarked Police cars, Ambulances, and Fire Trucks screaming past me on the Expressway, but as a Native New Yorker, I'm kind of used to it. Traffic was worst than usual, but again, not too out of the ordinary.
As I came around a turn on the BQE, lower Manhattan came into view on the horizon. It was covered in black smoke. I figured it was a fire of some sort, and decided to turn on the radio to see what was going on, and if traffic was blocked or if I needed to find a different route. While I was reaching for the radio, the Twin Towers came into view, and I could see Tower 1 burning. Tower 2 was still obscured by Tower 1 and all the smoke. I switched off the CD, and turned on the radio and was about to switch to an AM station (because 92.7 WLIR usually doesn't cover traffic or fires in NYC) I discovered that WLIR was broadcasting CNN reports live.
The radio kept talking about a crash, and a fire, but didn't say what had actually happened.
I picked up my cell phone and tried to make calls, but couldn't seem to connect to anyone for a while. When I finally got through to Nute and told her to turn on the TV and tell me what happened, the radio finally announced that it was a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Nute was already watching it on the news, and told me that Tower 2 was hit as well.
While I was on the phone with her, I watched small things falling (or jumping) out of the windows of Tower 1. I couldn't see exactly what they were (I was too far away), but I could see that they were moving independantly as they fell. A few seconds later I watched Tower 2 collapse to the ground as a plume of white smoke rose from the ground where it crashed. I wasn't even sure what had just happened until Nute told me that Tower 2 collapsed.
When I finally got to the exit ramp, there were cars all pulled over on the shoulder, people standing around or on their vehicles watching the events unfold in Lower Manhattan.
I made my way to my office in Greenpoint, and after I parked I ran to the local Smoke Shop and bought his last disposable camera. I ran into my office and made my way to the roof (which wasn't easy since the upstairs tenant changed the lock on their door, and someone had posted a guard dog on the main roof of the building). I "jimmied" the door, and made my way to the 5th floor where there's a hatch in the ceiling that leads to the roof. I set up a ladder and climbed up. Once up there I had to pull the ladder up through the hole with me so I could climb it and get a view over the other buildings in the area.
By the time I got up there Tower 1 had also collapsed. I snapped some pics with the camera and then just sat on top of the ladder for a while looking at what these cowards had done to our beautiful New York Skyline. It was gone. I guess I had gotten used to seeing certain features of the Skyline from having lived here my whole life. The Empire State Building was still there, as was the Chrysler Building, but the World Trade Center was just gone. All that was left was a huge plume of smoke.
I went back downstairs and tried to make some calls but all the phone lines were down, and my cell phone was still barely connecting even though I had a strong signal. I remembered seeing a guy working on the Telephone pole outside so I went to ask him what was going on. He told me that almost all of Brooklyn was down, and he had no idea when it would be fixed.
I went back into my building and went into the sheet metal factory on the ground floor. They had a small TV on, and that was the first time I got to see a close up of the carnage in Manhattan. The owner of the factory told me that the rumor was that there were 8 planes hijacked, but only 4 were accounted for so far (there were a lot of crazy rumors going on that day), so I decided to head home in case there was another attack on NY.
As soon as I got back into Queens my cell phone was working again, and I was able to contact some friends and family and make sure that a lot of them were ok. Thankfully, Nute had spent the whole morning making calls (when calls could be made) and e-mailing everyone we knew to see if anyone was still missing. We heard a lot of people telling us about close calls, about just having left the Towers before it happened, or that they were on their way to work but were running late. Friends in the Police, Fire Departments, Army Reserve or National Guard, Red Cross all being called into service to help with this tragedy.
All I can say is that I was so happy for those that made it out, and so saddened for those that didn't. This was my experience of that terrible day.
Here's an account of the events as Hector witnessed them:
I was coming out of a coffee shop on University Place and 13th street when everybody on the street began looking up, due to the airliner that was flying directly over head at less than 1000 feet. It was so loud, like when a plane passes over Shea Stadium. Less than a minute later I watched it plow into one of the World Trade Center's towers. I dropped my coffee and people were screaming all around me, I could not believe what I was looking at, the explosion rang in my ears about five seconds later. I walked slowly to 8th street where people were doubled over hysterical in tears, I just kept staring at the tremendous hole in the tower.
I didn't see the second plane hit because my view was obscured by the NYU dorm buildings. When I finally got a peek in between I noticed that the other tower was on fire as well. By that time I could hear what was going on on the radio of a delivery truck that was passing by. I got to work about ten minutes late, and none of my coworkers knew what had happened. I started explaining, but I guess they didn't believe me. A few of them put on their Walkman's and listened to the news. I clocked in, but I couldn't function, all I could think about was the horrible sights that I and many other New Yorkers had just witnessed. Around ten I saw swarms of people running toward the corner of St. Marks Place screaming it's falling! It's falling! I ran outside and looked downtown, but all I could see was a thick black cloud, followed by a rumbling sound. The earth began to shake much like when the subway train passes underground, it was a scene of total chaos. I ran back to my job, my stupid boss told me to finish a job that a customer was waiting for. Right in front of him that very customer soaked from tears told me to finish it tomorrow.
There was a girl sitting down on the floor next to where I was working, she was crying how it was the end of the world and how she had to get to her mother. I clocked out took her by the hand and dragged her outside. A few of her class mates were outside, we just started walking uptown. There was a sea of people on the streets some walking from as far as ground zero covered in blood. All the bars and restaurants that were still open were full of people watching that horrible footage on TV's. We just walked all the way to the Queensborough bridge, we took a rest around it's center, they just weren't there anymore! Reduced to a smoldering cinder, nothing but smoke was visible were they once stood. We walked all the way to Jackson Heights, the girls mother was a nurse at Elmhurst Hospital. She thanked me for helping her, so did her mom and friends. All I could think about was how life, for everyone, has changed forever.
For days all I watched was that damn footage from every possible angle, It didn't really happen did it? After they stopped showing the plane footage and concentrated only on the rescue effort did it begin to sink in.
Friday the 14th I walked as far as I was allowed which was Broadway and Laffyette, I could smell the thick smoke, see the desperate faces and see the dump trucks roll in. Life imitated art as sick as that sounds, thousands of people died, thousands of lives ruined forever.
Now living in New Jersey, as I drive on the turnpike, I see that foreign hollow where those two beautiful symbols of New York used to greet everyone, when I saw them after a long trip I knew I was home.
Just something I wanted to share, may God keep their souls, may freedom live forever.
Now here are some pictures that some friends of mine have asked to have posted. Please note, these pics may be disturbing to some people, so don't look at them unless you're sure you want to see them. I take no liability for any mental damage from seeing these. And please don't steal these pictures for your own website. If you'd like to use them, please ask first.
We'll start with pics from Victor. He works for the NYC Human Resources Office Crisis and Disaster Services.
And here are some pics from my friend Arlene. You can check out her website HERE.
If you have any questions, E-Mail me. Spat@spat-nospam-cave.com