I was born in NYC. I went to college there. And I was living 10 miles from the George Washington bridge when the towers were struck.
Where were you when the World Trade Center was hit? It's a self-indulgent question--a way of making yourself the center of events that don't affect you personally--but I'll indulge anyway since I think it's important to remember.
I had just dropped my son off at school when I heard on the radio that a small plane had hit the World Trade Center. By the time I pulled into my driveway a couple minutes later, I heard Warner Wolf, the sportscaster, describing the attack from his apartment overlooking downtown NYC. I ran into the house and turned on the TV in time to see the second plane hit.
I spent the day moving from the TV, the radio and the Internet; I was determined not to miss anything. I remember a man stuck in one of the towers called into a local TV station and described the situation there. Later--that day? Or in the days following--I remember thinking that he was probably dead now.
It was important to get through to everyone I cared about, though I knew most of them were safe. I remember putting off calling my sister in California. She'd had a baby less than a month before and I didn't want to wake her up with the gruesome news. I called sometime after 1. She was terrified and upset. Her best friend lived in TriBeCa, still does, and she was trying to get through. Eventually, we found out that Inge was fine, physically at least.
It was impossible to get through to friends who lived there, although eventually emails began trickling in. I was lucky: No one I knew was hurt. A friend from school who lived in Alphabet City was fine. My best friend's sister, who worked at the WTC, had stopped for a cup of coffee before going to work, so she wasn't in the building at the time. Since her cellphone wasn't working, Carey began walking uptown towards her apartment on the Upper West Side. Eventually, she found a working payphone and called her husband.
I was in graduate school at the time and I had no classes that day. As it turned out, I didn't have classes for the rest of the week. This allowed me to continue my vigil in front of the TV. I was hoping to see people being pulled out of the wreckage as had happened in the days following the attack on Oklahoma City. There weren't any.
(Reposted from September 11, 2005)