The title of this one seems more than a bit ironic as I was working in midtown Manhattan on Sept.11. Often I find myself crying for no reason on this date and then I remember it’s Sept.11.
I haven’t ever written about that day. In NYC we didn’t know if it was the end of the world or not. All we knew was that the twin towers had fallen and the Pentagon had been hit. We didn’t know that fifty more planes weren’t coming.
I was working on the 31st floor of the Paramount building at the time and of course some ridiculously hysterical people were running around screaming “we’re next! we’re next!” because of course, the Paramount building would be a prime target. Oye.
When the order came to evacuate the city, all the bridges leading off the island had been closed except the Queens bridge to the north. Problem was that my friends and I lived in Brooklyn to the south.
We went to the sandwich shop across the street on Broadway and stocked up on food and water, again for all we knew, these might be the last supplies available for some time.
The tide of humanity filled the streets, all heading north towards the Queens bridge, but our tiny group was headed south. We stopped at the hospital to try and give blood, but there was not enough staff to take blood from the crowd of potential donors so they waved us away. It turned out they didn’t need much blood anyway.
We stopped at a bar, because the bars had working televisions and phones, all cell service had gone down with the towers. I tried to call my Mom in Reno and got through right away to tell her that I was alive and ok. I wasn’t able to get through to my wife Rebecca who was teaching in Brooklyn and watched with her students through her classroom windows as the towers burned and fell.
I stayed for a while at my friend Alana’s until the subways opened up again and I was able to get home. The smell of burning flesh and concrete permeated the air at the tip of Manhattan and Brooklyn across the river. When I finally got home the yard of our old apartment building was covered with what looked like snow, it was tiny pieces of burnt paper from the towers.