|Still beautiful and majestic|
After that, the first thing I did was pull out my phone and call Mary, but I couldn't get through. The second thing I did is sprint towards the PATH station. Whatever was going on was very bad, and both my wife and sister where in the city. So I was going to go get them. I got to the PATH station and jumped on a nearly empty train. I learned later that I got on the last train of the day.
The normally 20 minute trip took almost an hour. I got off the train at 23rd Street. As I crossed 5th Avenue I looked south, just in time to see the South Tower buckle in on itself and free fall straight down. To this day, I don't know exactly what I was feeling then, except for dread - there was plenty of dread. I ran to my office. It was just before 10:00 AM.
Once in my office, I called Mary again and got through. She was fine, her office was farther uptown on 46th Street. My sister worked for me, and I found her in the conference room watching TV with the 75 or so other people that worked on our floor.
For about an hour, we all sat around. But around 11:15 AM, we were told to go home. I called Mary again and told her that my sister, a few people from the office and I were walking uptown to get her. On the way, I remember stopping at a bank machine and grabbing some cash and then buying some disposable cameras. The pictures we took still make me ill when I look at them.
We picked up Mary and then had to figure out how to get back across the Hudson. Someone told us that the ferries were running to Hoboken. So we walked west, crossed over the West Side Highway and waited in line for 4 hours at the ferry terminal. It was during the wait that I realized how amazing New Yorkers are. It was a hot day and there were thousands of people waiting in line. Lower Manhattan was burning. No one knew what was really going on other than that two planes had just brought down two buildings, so the roar of the fighter jets streaking over the city at very low altitudes was disconcerting. Yet I didn't see one person cause any trouble of any kind. In fact, there was no doubt that everyone had each other's back that day.
Finally we got on a Ferry. But when we arrived in Hoboken we were met by men in hazmat suits and sent through a long white tent where we were hosed down. This was the creepiest part of the day. It wasn't until later that it occurred to me that this was in reaction to fears of biological contamination.
Once we finally got home we turned on the TV, and didn't move from the couch for at least 48 hours. But it wasn't because we where watching the non-stop TV coverage, I remember that being almost impossible to watch. Rather, it's simply because we were numb and could barely move.
This blog hasn't been and will never be about politics, at least in any real overt way. With that said, I'm still an old punk rocker at heart and question just about everything. By March of 2003, the initial shock (but not the anger) of 9-11 had worn off and I was very much confused about what was going on with America's War On Terror.
But of one thing, I'll never have any doubt - I'm glad that sonofabitch is dead.