Thursday, September 11, 2008

9-11 in NYC

Getting to work today is no different than any other.

Today I live 59 miles away from where the world trade center towers stood. The morning "it" happened I lived 11 blocks away in the West Village of Manhattan on Greenwich street. I was working from my apartment on a freelance website design when my Wife called me and said "there is a huge fire at the Trade Center" Being curious I walked out in the street and looked south down Greenwich street and saw a huge hole 3/4 of the way up the north tower. It was amazing looking from that distance. I ran upstairs, grabbed my camera (not digital) and pedaled my bike down the Westside Hwy bike path towards the hole spewing smoke. I stopped at Murray street one block from the scene.

I was mesmerized starring straight up as file cabinets would come smashing through windows to get air in to the people inside. Papers were raining down and then the images that will be tattooed on my mind forever, person after person jumping from the windows. People landing in heaps 30 or 40 feet from where I am standing. It was real, not images depicted on a 2-D surface like a TV or movie screen there was no abstraction, just real lives stopped in an instant, piled in heaps. The entire time this is happening the collective feeling from everyone witnessing these events up to this point was, "when will this be under control and when will it end" I kept saying this over and over in my head, maybe even aloud.

Then soon after the world had the answer. The south tower fell 1st behind the north tower that I was standing at the base of. The crazy thing was that huge rumbling cloud of the entire building was so slow. Or so it seemed at the time. I ran back north up the westside hwy from where I came. I stopped and tried to call my Wife on my cell phone, everything was overloaded. Then my phone rings, it's my brother from Houston wanting to know what the hell is happening. I blurted something to him that I was ok and then the 2nd tower fell. Hung up the phone and started running again, I am surrounded by the entire Stuyvesant High School student body, we all run north together. I catch my breath at where I chained up my bicycle and in the basket on the front of my bike is a NCAA basketball, I rode back to my apartment, drank 1/2 a bottle of Bushmills whiskey in one long chug, and then caught my breath.

I took a roll of photos that I was afraid to get developed. 3 weeks later I did. I caught the entire sequence of events.

Later that morning when I was with my wife and some friends that escaped the building next door to the towers. Things changed, everything changed in my mind. That invisible man in the sky that I always had doubts about, he was dead to me. The only things that matter now are my family.

Time goes on people and governments spin tall tales about that day.

This is the first time I've ever written about that day, I still have the basketball, the photos, and the detailed images in my mind. My son and I, who was born a year later now play with that same ball.

Today I"ll walk to work instead of riding the subway and remember "that" day. I need to always be connected to this city.

1 comment:

Phoebe said...

This post is pitch-perfect.