and Text from the WTC Attack
First Posting, Tuesday 9/11/01 around 10am:
I saw the first plane come buzzing in down lower Manhattan, flying incredibly low. The noise was what I imagine an old buzz bomb sounded like. It was a big jet, wobbling, flying unsteadily and very fast. Being a New Yorker, I almost shrugged it off, but two women on the street shrieked "oh my god, it's going to crash." I stopped cold. I counted the seconds, maybe five, before I heard a thud. I couldn't immediately see that it had hit the world trade center. In a few minutes, though, the smoke rose up, glittering with thousands of bits of tile or dust or something, clearly coming from right near the world trade center. And then I started crying.
At my brother's apartment, on the roof, I took these (still shocking) pictures:
|Tuesday, 9/11/01 12:30 -- More thoughts about this day:|
It was a beautiful morning in New York City. My brother and I woke up early and ran down across the Brooklyn Bridge. The sun was shining, gleaming off the water. As I ran I continually craned my head back around to catch once again the magnificence of downtown Manhattan. I just thought how breathtaking it all was, that this must be the most beautiful sight in the world.
Right after I saw the explosion and the glittering smoke rising from downtown, I called my father on my cell phone and cried as I told him about it. I was thinking about the people on the plane, and in the building. I was also thinking about that (bad) movie, The Siege, with Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis, and Annette Benning. After a terrorist attack on New York, a general played by Bruce Willis sets up a racist police state and starts putting people in camps. And I thought about how angry I was, and how I could feel my own desire for revenge on these terrible people. I cried for a long time.
When I had calmed down after the attack, I went to the convenience store to stock up on food and water. I was waiting in line with seven bottles of water. We were listening to radio news about the bombing. In Spanish. And then I decided that though this attack is awful, these terrorists just can't mess up the things that are right about this country. And the more we know that, the more we have them beaten.
Wednesday Morning, 9/12/01:
Still doing OK here.
I spent yesterday afternoon helping my business school classmates figure out whether everyone in our class was OK. It's shocking to see how many people we know were down there. At least ten percent of our class. Fortunately it looks like everyone survived.
I know people who were in the buildings and in the neighboring buildings, who witnessed this up-close. Second-hand I know a couple of people who are alive today because they ignored instructions to stay calm and stay at your desk in the second building after the first crash. These two saw the first crash, got up leaving everything at their desks, and walked down the stairs. Both of them would have been dead at ground zero had they listened to the PA system.
Last night my brother and I went out to dinner. What else was there to do? Walking back home was very strange with the absence of the world trade center on the night skyline. I'm not sure it's possible to explain to someone who hasn't lived in New York. I used to see these buildings on the way to the subway every morning, and basically every time I looked south in the city. I told my brother it's like missing the moon.
This morning it seems that we're now within the security perimeter. They're checking ID's before letting people into the area. My ID says I live in Texas. Fortunately, the apartment lease here is still in my name, plus I have an old checkbook with this address, and my New Yorker subscription which my brother renewed in my name the last two years out of convenience. So I plan to head out to donate blood this morning carrying a rent stub, an old checkbook, and this months New Yorker as ID.
Tonight I was planning to have a get-together at my brother's apartment to see my New York friends. I've decided that it's still on for whoever can make it.
I was planning to leave New York tomorrow to fly to Florida to visit my grandmother. At the moment all of the airports are closed. If they reopen them, I'm taking my flight. It will be my small gesture of defiance.
Photos of Houston Street from Tuesday Afternoon:
A battalion of dumptrucks on Houston Street
Buses line up to head downtown
Photos while Walking Around Wednesday Morning:
View from Houston Street and Sixth Avenue
View from Sixth Avenue near Eighth Street
View of Saint Vincent's Hospital, the primary trauma center
As my part in the national day of remembrance I returned to the corner from which I saw the attack. I had been avoiding it. I looked to the sky where I saw the plane. I looked to the south where I saw the smoke rise over the towers. I thought of the people who died on the planes and in the buildings, and I thought also of all of the people who are working on the rescue and recovery efforts.
Tuesday 9/18/01, one week after:
New York is active again, and filled with ever-growing vigils and memorials. I don't know if those outside of New York have a sense for this from the news. Every fire station I have seen now has a small shrine in front of it, filled with candles, flowers, flags, notes, and the saddest items, the pictures of those missing. Union Square Park on Sunday was filled to overflowing with people. Peaceniks were smoking pot and singing peace songs. Sorority girls were selling flag pins to raise money for the Red Cross. Every corner of the park was filling with candles and cards. Someone had brought an enormous roll of paper; they spread it out and invited people to just write their thoughts and comments. It was America at work there, with both hawks and doves, in English, Korean, Spanish, and other scripts I couldn't recognize. I don't know how the aftermath feels in the rest of the country, but it feels right in New York. It feels good--heartening--to be here right now.
My friend Jesse and I visited lower Manhattan. I took a few pictures in case it might be of interest.
Picture from our building, at night:
View of the wreckage from Hudson Street:
View of the wreckage from near Wall Street:
Ash coats the US Constitution Museum, downtown:
The New York Stock Exchange, up and running:
McDonalds feeds the work crews:
Offerings at a downtown Fire Station:
Symbols of American strength?:
Copyright 2001. Material on this page may be re-transmitted with appropriate attribution.