so many of you emailed or called to check up on me and to offer your
sympathies to the massive destruction of life and property here, I
wanted to reply. The efficiencies of email let me do it in this bulk
manner, but know that this is addressed and meant for you each and
city is uncommonly quiet at this hour. The normal movements and noises
are reduced and the shattering impact of the endless sewer replacement
on Canal Street, in front of my building, has been replaced by the
occasional wail of sirens or the clatter of heavy equipment being moved
to a staging point. They are spraying the streets with water, which is
strange, like they need to clean up some sort of dangerous dust
(asbestos?) but the air here seems sweet, clear and cool...a marked
contrast to the destruction not so far away.
is still thick smoke
flowing eastward just to the south of me. My front windows face
south and the former twin towers. My view of them is blocked by a large
commercial building that occupies a full block south of me. But the flow
of smoke was visible all day and even tonight, contrasted against an
almost clear, black sky.
started for me at around 8:45 when I was awakened by the sound of a
large plane going overhead clearly too low. It was a loud, low growl and
I will never, now, forget that sound. My first thought was that the
plane, unseen by me, was clearly too low. I then heard a loud thud
similar to the sound a large truck makes going over the steel plates
placed over the endless sewer replacement.
to the front windows and saw a fire truck racing down the street and
more tellingly a gathering group of people on the side street staring
fixedly south. I didn't see any smoke but figured some small plane
crashed just south of me. Getting dressed in yesterday’s clothes I ran
down the stairs and on to the side street.
greeted me was not what I had envisioned, but the North Tower of the
World Trade Center with a huge hole dead center. Debris and flames came
were evident coming from all sides around this wound. It was a large
hole and I imagine it easily covered 10 floors and was vaguely "plane"
were transfixed and the conversation ranged from those who seemed to
know it all to the horror that was clearly taking place. I was staggered
by what I saw but detached too. I remembered the crash of the bomber
into the Empire State Building in 1945 and knew that buildings could
withstand this kind of disaster. And, besides, we thought it was only a
gathering crowds had more information, and someone knew it was a
passenger jet, someone had seen it overhead, someone had seen it hit.
needed to tell someone, anyone what I was seeing, but the cell phone was
useless, choked out by everyone else's need to talk too. There was a pay
phone next to me, and I got on it as soon as it was free. I think I made
two calls, and it was in the middle of the second call to my sister's
cell phone (which, too, was crippled), that a round, red and black
fireball seemed to spontaneously emerge from the south tower. As if it
had blown a little, deadly bubble. I remember screaming something into
the payphone ("Oh the humanity") about this is the most incredible thing
I have ever seen and then slamming the phone down. People screamed,
several started to cry. Sirens wailed and wailed.
someone mentioned the second plane, then the third into the Pentagon. It
made no sense; we were being invaded, attacked, reduced to terrified,
helpless victims. More sirens, more people, and more death as bodies
began to fall from the both buildings. You couldn't really tell human
apart from the other falling debris, but you knew, knew somehow that
those small specks couldn't be glass or metal.
enough and headed back into the apartment, I needed a shower and to talk
to someone. As I reached the apartment I heard screaming from the
street, and turning on the TV, watched as the one tower collapsed, or as
it seemed then, to vaporize away...
point, I realized that closing off the city as they did and do in such
crises, could make getting food and supplies difficult. And at some
point I had already offered the use of my apartment to friends who might
be stranded here. I left again and went around the corner to the market
and bought some essentials. People were everywhere. I left the market
and before making the left on to Canal Street to head home, looked at
the North Tower, spewing smoke, flames, bodies but still standing, it's
large needle antenna still flashing it's red aircraft warning light. A
little too late and a little too high...
entered the apartment I heard again the screams of a larger and louder
crowd. The TV revealed why and I could see large plumes of white smoke
spreading to the right (west) and left (east) of me. It was like the
smoke emissions of when the Space Shuttle takes off.
rest you've seen and heard now endlessly. The horror of the casualty
count has yet to be revealed but the horror of the day in wrapped around
me like a mummies bandage and I am not sure I want to remove it.
most of us are numb and the surreal intensity of the destruction hasn't
penetrated truly. New Yorkers are accused of many traits, but we are now
at our finest. The tails of ordinary heroes are yet to be told, video
will replace the songs of bards. Our professional public servants have
endured massive losses and yet never wavered and never gave in. They are
still on the job tonight, and many are facing the most destructive event
of their lives. None will be the same.
first hand accounts of ordinary folks doing the extraordinary to help a
stranger. A friend, who works near the towers, ran in to a store and
bought all their towels to hand out to victims whose heads were
bleeding. He related that many merchants loaded carts full of water and
food and were handing them to anyone and everyone.
there are no body counts except the 200 who died in terror on the 4
hijacked planes. I situation that this government has to answer for and
our population, who refuses to be inconvenienced by true security
measures, has to face a new reality. That freedom is not easy nor
convenient nor cheap.
friend, whose boyfriend is a New York Fireman, endured hours of not
knowing his fate. He called in at 7 PM saying that they are pulling
bodies out of rubble and that there are over 3000 so far. Where it ends
is anyone's best guess, but I don't think we can ever know.
tracked down friends and friends of friends who were there and some of
what they saw is beyond belief. It may be normal for a war, and we may
be a bit inured of it from endless media and entertainment displays but
for them, and for us, the closeness of the horror will never fade. We
now understand, perhaps, what our fathers and grandfathers dealt with in
the wars of the last century.
all unsure of tomorrow and what it brings. There is a sharp defensive
system that we employ and, so far, we wait, reliving the day in every
conversation. The horror of the body count awaits in the next weeks, and
this will add to the burden we all will carry. It will be more then we
can understand, and many will not.
that many want to volunteer to help, but don't know how, I will try to
find something constructive to do; it may help to make sense of this.
Those two towers were ugly but they were there, they were a landmark, a
compass point and they were ours. They are gone. What we replace it with
is yet to be seen.
the death of a loved one, we feel a loss, and the violence of it
violates us and our sense of humanity, morality and civility. How
religion and fanaticism can allow this is beyond belief, how people can
celebrate this is beyond humanity. As a Jew I wonder how the enduring
hatred of us can be so manifest and so cruel, as an American, how our
society could inspire such desire for total destruction and as a New
Yorker, well, I think I take that most personally.
not sure how our government will react. I certainly have no love of our
president and his entourage, but these are the times that make men
(meaning mankind) shine and I think that he has the patience, resolve
and a strong moral sense which will help lead us past this and to what
ever repercussions are eventually effected. I know the rest of the world
is also firmly behind us as well.
mayor, who is normally a cold and unfeeling technocrat, a prick, has
shined so far, he has rallied and organized and communicated so well,
clearly affected and clearly grieving for lost friends and a lost city.
A real New Yorker.
Recently friends came to visit NY for the first time and I proudly
played host. We visited the towers and saw the view. As a native NYer
you tend to shy away from these tourist experiences in normal life and
to regard them with a jaded eye, but I am so proud and happy I did. It
was a glorious day, clear and bright and the view was endless, uplifting
and eternal. It's how I will remember those two ugly towers that were
our pride and joy.
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