Everyone has a story. It’s overwhelming to consider the devastation and human toll that this act represents. If you have been affected by this tragedy, please accept my sympathies and prayers.
On Tuesday, September 11 I had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I had been called to Federal Court Jury Duty the day before, and having not been placed on a jury, I had to return the next day.
I came out of the subway at the Brooklyn Bridge stop at 8:50 am, just after the first plane hit. I could not believe my eyes when I looked up. After staring for a few minutes and trying to figure out with the others standing near me, I ran into a Duane Reade for a one-use camera. While in the store, I heard (and felt) the second plane hit. At the time, I still did not understand what was going on. I took these pictures as I walked around the area, trying to figure out what was going on. (Click on a thumbnail to see the full-size photo.)
I finally realized that I was probably in the line of fire if the buildings fell (I did not occur to me that they would collapse straight down), and so I walked over to Broadway and started walking north. My thought was to get to the area of Grand Central, and try to get out of Manhattan. As I started up Broadway, the first tower collapsed, sending smoke and debris up the street, following the path of least resistance. People behind me started to stampede, and I found myself running to keep ahead of them. These pictures were taken as I headed up Broadway. Notice that the Woolworth building disappeared in the wake of the smoke and debris.
As I made my way up Broadway, I stopped by a cab that had its doors open, playing WINS 1010 Radio at full blast. It was here that I learned that it had been two planes that hit the towers, and that the Pentagon had also been hit. I decided to buy an AM radio, and this was a great help. I learned that all bridges and tunnels were closed, and all transit was shut down. I walked north, trying to avoid the immediate Grand Central area, because I heard there were bomb threats, but close enough so that I could get into Grand Central once it opened. My goal was to be on the first train to White Plains.
My cell phone did not work, and I had trouble finding a working pay phone that did not have a line of a dozen or more people. Eventually I found a phone that worked, and made 3 calls to alert my mother, my friend Stephen, and my supervisor that I was safe. By 1:00 pm, Governor Pataki announced that Metro North was operating, and I got myself on the very first train out of the station. I was home by 2:30 pm, shaken to my boots, but safe.
In the time since, I have reacted like most Americans — in our shock we have cried for people we never knew, and for a country that has become complacent and careless. The new patriotism is courageous and contagious. I pray that this continues, and prevents anything like this from happening again.