Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 16:41:57 -0700
I thought that I would update you on what had transpired since my last e-mail. Emily and I are both at home and safe in Brooklyn (there's irony for you).
I was on the subway heading into work and was pleasantly unaware that a hijacked plane had hit WTC 2. When the doors opened at my stop a few blocks from the buildings, a woman was getting on and said that the WTC was on fire, but most everyone (especially me) dismissed her as just another NY crackpot and continued up the stairs to the street.
I came out onto the street around the corner from the WTC and people were everywhere, mostly staring up at the burning building.
Before I could round the corner to see the site clearly for myself I heard the BA-BOOM! of the second plane hitting WTC 1. Then I rounded the corner to witness the most horrific site of my life.
People started to run towards me and I heard screams that the buildings were going to fall on us, that they would explode and that we were all going to die. I turned and ran with the crowd toward the East River for a few blocks until I reached my nearby office.
At the office I answered calls from employees who had either seen the event or heard about it and wanted to know if we were OK. I decided to stay put for a while as the smoke was increasing outside.
We could see the burning WTC 1 from the window if we put our heads out, but chose to watch the TV so we didn't have to inhale the smoke.
The building shook a little and I saw WTC 1 fall inward and it was gone. Ash descended upon me like snow. I was surprised at how much and quickly it covered the cars and streets outside.
A while later the WTC 2 fell and the building shook again. A wave of dust and ash passed over me and it became dark as night, small bits of paper and other projectiles littered the air. Although I was quite frightened I knew that going out into the street could expose me to the intense smoke and ash.
I had spoken with Emily several times and wanted to find my way to her. The super came up and said the police and firemen were in the building and that I would have to go north beyond the demarcation line.
I prepared wet towels and bottles of water and left for the street, making my way toward the Brooklyn Bridge. Many people were on the streets and calmly exiting the area. I found a free bus to take us to the north part of the city. I got off and walked to meet Emily at her office.
We decided to make our way home over the Manhattan Bridge immediately. We made it to the bridge in a half-hour and joined the thousands of people walking over to try and get home.
Behind us, smoke was still billowing from the spot where the two towers once stood and people were talking about all kinds of different aspects of the tragedy.
Anger was very prevalent in the crowd, but also shock and dismay. We just wanted to get home. Busloads of police, firemen and national guards were the only vehicles going into the city.
As we got to the other side of the bridge, we saw many people on the streets and volunteers handing out free water and assistance. Police were everywhere.
We finally made it home and have heard from most friends who worked in and adjacent to the towers and they are OK.
One of Emily's friends was on the subway in the basement of the WTC when the whole place shook with the first blast. He was able to take the subway out of the area in the nick of time.
Others we know had kids in the WTC day care. They have told us that they are at home showering soot off their little ones.
Another one of our friend's fiancé worked in the WTC and there has not been any word yet from him. They are to be married in October.
We are now sitting here in complete shock and it almost seems surreal that those two towers are not longer there.
Please take care all of you,