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Manhattan Disaster Stories


James Croak

Lance Hunt

Daniel Silverstein

Mary Healy

John Zeiman- NYC

Rebecca in NYC

Larry Warshaw

John Zeiman- NYC

Fred Reed LIC

Cary Hart NYC


A reminder, artist James Croak, solo show at Stux Gallery, 529 W.20th St., Thursday October 11, 6-8


Received 9.18.01

James Croak
Subject: The Dig
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2001 13:00:49 -0400

(Douglas, your ever-appreciated gallery list today mentioned that you had not received many emails from actual New Yorkers. Here is one I sent out Saturday due to the fact that the press is not allowed near the site. James Croak)

4:30 am Sat.

Sophie et al,

I went back to the remains of the World Trade Center and dug for bodies.

There is a staging area at Chelsea Piers where city staff determines if one has useful knowledge or experience to help with the rescue. If they hear some, they tape S&R on you ( Search and Rescue) and send you to the Javits Center for dispersal. They send you uptown not down. Except for iron workers they want no one else there and have placed the military at all entrances to prevent anyone getting close. It is a polite run around.

Some iron workers dropped by my loft at 6:00am Thursday having put in an 18 hour shiftand asked if I wanted to go in next time. They weren't sure because they thought that I might have had enough having witnessed it all go down. Of course I wanted. We went Friday in mid afternoon: In Queens eleven of us piled into a van and headed for the Brooklyn Bridge to the uncanny sight of an altered skyline. We pulled in to a commercial equipment store and helped ourselves to everything we could carry: cases of gloves, masks, crowbars, pails, and respirators, without a thought of paying for it. The shop owner helped us load it, he proudly waved as we drove off.

We had an ex-cop drive the van with a police parking placard stuck in the window getting us by the first four security checks. Then we approached two HumVees parked across the road at Park Row and Broadway with many young men in battle fatigues standing about. National Guard I thought. Then they surrounded the van. Regular Army I thought. And then all six doors were jerked open at once. Marines. Welcome to Not America. I am in the middle of Manhattan in a private car and armed Marines are ripping open my doors. I felt better already. They snapped our ID's from our hands as fast as we could pull them out. The two in back talked very loud to hold our attention while the others moved in among us. Satisfied they had us park and motioned us into the site.

We collected our shoplifted gear and walked a quarter mile to the site, the tension in the air was frightening, military vehicles, M-60 machine guns. Hundreds of angry cops. Everybody looking us over. A couple of more checks and we walked into Guernica.

I saw the towers go down, so I thought that I would be prepared for the spectacle, but the enormity of the debris field dwarfed my expectations. It is about a quarter mile in any direction, there is no level area, the height varies from 15 feet thick to over a 120 feet. Smoke still rises from all areas. Three of the tower facades still stand up to 10 floors but nothing is behind them, just the standing steel front. The field is lower in the center so it appears one has walked into a vast coliseum, the smoking ruins of Pompeii. The exterior of the former towers was 12" steel columns spaced four feet apart. As they fell these shafts speared everything in sight. A dozen of them protrude from the West Side highway, sticking up like some mad confection. Four of them shot Zeus style into the side of the American Express building thirty floors up knocking off a corner. The debris washed across the highway smashing into the World Financial Center blasting all of the glass from its walls.

Looking downward through the wracks of steel beams you realize they are sitting upon a sea of emergency vehicles.

How to Kill Firemen
1) Make an explosion.
2) Wait 15 minutes.
3) Make another explosion.

Spread out across the debris field are bucket brigades, serpentine chains of a two hundred people eachfiremen, cops, militarylines meandering up and down to where the dig is taking place. The entire site is being excavated into five gallon pails which are hand passed to dump trucks. Not a finger will be lost. Each dig has a cadaver dog, the dog shows us where to dig and then a small hole is made. In goes a TV camera with a listening device and everybody yells to be quiet. Generators go off and everyone stands still. After four days there is no more sound so the digging and cutting begins. When they find a body they yell "body coming" and an adjacent brigade climbs across the wreckage to form an opposing line, the body is then passed in a stetcher between the lines. If it is a fireman (there are over 300) his hat is placed atop him and the stretcher is carried, not passed, actually we "pass" the pall bearers because there is no walking.

My first body was a fireman, his hat told me what had happened to him. Crushed, burned, shattered, it looked to have been brought up from the sea, a civil war relic. My second body was a young girl, petite, in shape. I can't take this I thought and considered running. Thankfully we didn't have another for an hour or so. Periodically the line would call "we need paint," meaning they found a body too deep to dig for at this time so the area is sprayed red to we can find him later. Several times we passed a body the size of a basket ball. If the wreckage shifts a Klaxon blows twice telling everyone to run, which we do. A minute later they all run back, me still shaking. The next body was in a fetal positionshe must have lived a while I thoughtdied of exposure with a billion tons of mess on top of her, scared beyond understanding. All total we found 27 bodies and carried out 9.

You think there are no heroes in America? I saw a lanky blond that could have modeled Chanel tie a rope around her ankle, grab a stethoscope and dive head first down a debris hole that would have shredded a raccoon. I saw firemen so deep into the rubble their flashlights were mistaken for fire. The firemen in general were fearless, shrugging their shoulders at the obvious danger of it all.

But missing from the scene was any talk of how it got like this, why it came down, what should be done about it. Nothing, not a peep. I suspect that it was a kind of collective shame for not having protected us from this.

After 12 hours the accumulated stress and fear got the best of me and I walked home. But I'm back in tomorrow.


Re: DKS List Sept 25 & my small story
Tue, 25 Sep 2001 22:41:24 EDT

I didn't even see that you had survival stories on your last list. I was
still kinda wacked, being only a few blocks away. Anway, I would like to
offer this peice, written the day after for consideration.

Thank you,

Lance Hunt

I am almost embarrassed to write this. It is almost dramatic, almost a narrow
escape, almost important. But, it is all I have, and is, will be in time,
part of the fabric that will weave the cloth of September 11, 2001.

The day was glorious, fine cool weather clear skies. I had over slept, having
talked to a friend until almost 1 am. I rushed to leave my apartment,
grumbling to myself about not having enough time to fix my lunch, that I
would have to pay too much at a deli. But, I reminded myself, as I spe
ed-walked to the 59th Street stop, that it really wasnat that big of
a deal, and that I had something good to read, and several symphonies on CD I
was going to listen to at work, to brighten my otherwise drab routine.
Waiting for the N train, I discovered I had already read this issue of
Global City Review that was in my hands to keep me company on my subway ride.
This irked me. I mean, how could I have mixed this up? Iam more organized
than this, have all my books to read lined up in order so I can anticipate
reading them. Just stupid. At Dekalb Avenue we were told there was smoke at
the Courtland World Trade Center stop, and that the train would be skipping
that station. What everaI get off two stops before that, and I continued to
flip trough my magazine to find something I had not read yet, thinking, if I
had only known, I would have grabbed aWar and Peace, which I had put down
several months earlier for being just too much right then.
I left the train at Whitehall, and on the platform passed the usual
stream of office workers heading south as I walked north, glancing at the
clock. It was just about 9, so I would only be a few minutes late. Nothing to
worry about. But, it still annoyed me that I had over slept. No lunch. And a
magazine I had already read. And, I needed cat food. I canat forget that.
They deserve Hillas Science Diet, not just Alley Cat or Friskies.
I topped the stairs, and looked up.
This was the Canyon of Heroes, all tall buildings and narrow streets,
where we celebrate great things, our victorious troops from Europe and Asia,
Neil Armstrong, the Yankees. The narrow slice of sky I saw was not the clear
perfect blue of Brooklyn, but was filled with a column of smoke that glinted
like peices of broken glass on a beach.
People around just stood and stared.
This vexed meaI was going to be late for workaand after all, hadnat all
these rubberneckers ever seen a fire before? With an annoyed face I pushed my
way through, passed the incense, fruit, coffee, and belt and tie vendors.
Then I heard: aIt was a planea|
Excuse me.
I walked around Bowling Green park, unsure what to think, feeling a
growing sickness deep in my gut.
I ran into Rance, a co-worker at the door of my building, 11 Broadway,
just south of the Bronze sculpture of the Wall Street Bull.
aYou couldnat believe it. When the plane hit you could feel the heat. It
was more spectacular than any movie....
Still, I was not sure what had happened. Terrorist? An accident? One
plane? Two? All I was sure of was the smoke and fear surrounding me. I rode
the elevator up the the 11th floor in silence, listening to two men talk
about the two planes. How it had to be terrorists. Had to be. Had to be.
Walking into my office, everyone is scurrying around. Randi is visibly
shaking. aI know people who work there. Oh, my god.
Yael, followed quickly by Eran, my CEO, tell everyone to leave.
Having just sat down, I grab my bags and head out to the hall.
The elevators no longer work.
I walk down the 11 flights of stairs.
Out front, there are people walking around, uncertain, worried, harried.

Iam dubious. It seemed too big. Too unreal. I ask Yael, our office
manager, if the day was over for us, and after being told it was, I took off
walking. The subways were closed, so I knew I had to find a way home. Walk
over the Brooklyn Bridge? Grab the Brooklyn Ferry, which stops only a few
blocks from my new home there? I decide that I will go to Strand Books, and
see if I can find that copy of aTime and Freewill by Henri Bergen Iave been
looking for the last three weeks. I cross in front of the Bull, and have made
it almost to the other side of Broadway at Beaver Street when I stop. For
some reason, I refuse to listen to myself. I knew I had to leave, but instead
I turned back. Why? Some sense that this was all just absurd? That I was here
to do work, and this wasnat going to stop me? A need to be around someone,
anyone, I knew? Just not to be completely alone with my thoughts?
I stood for a few minutes with my coworkers, with Yael, Vidya, Rance, and
Candice in front of my building. Then, we decided to walk around my building
right at the end of Broadway and look at the Twin Towers from over top of the
entrance to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel.
Against a perfectly clear, light blue sky with a light refreshing breeze
in my face, stood the towers. Beautifully white, reaching up to the sky,
strongly, symbols of what mankind can achieve if it wills.
In both buildings black gashes poured out smoke. Behind the skin of the
walls, flames leapt and danced as if to a Night on Bald Mountain. Yet,
everything else still seemed normal. The sky, the buildings around us, the
trees behind us in Battery Park, the tree I leaned against to watch these two
buildings burn like just lit matches standing up from a book-of-matches.
Papers wafted out, floated above the Manhattan skyline. Occasionally,
things fell from the building. It seemed as though this was it. We all just
looked up, and watched, not truly believing it, but having, there, in front
of us, evidence that it was so.
aa|do you think theyall collapse?
Nah. Hell, a B-17 hit the empire state building back in the forties.
Nothing happened. And, these planes, what Cessnas? A leer jet? Nah.
And, just think, we trained these people to do this.
The lady in front of me turns, and agrees, her words thick with an
eastern European accent.
I notice that everyone I knew has left me there propped against the tree.
And, I keep rolling through my mind how foolish we all are, we humans. All of
us. This great folly. Playing king maker in foreign lands... grabbing
Just then Beethoven entered me. A phrase from his 5th symphony, at the
start of the 4th movement, the scherzo.
Yael walks over to me. It seems to worst is over, and we can now go back.
At least to make calls to friends and family, to see what the internet can
tell us of this, which rumors are just that rumors, which are truth.
The elevators are all shut off but one. Yael and I ride up, just shaking
our heads. What is to be said?
There are a few of us in the office. I sit back down in my chair, and
turn my computer on.
Then, I felt it. A deep, strong rumbling. My building shuddered. In my
gut, the rumbling continued after it had stopped around me. The lights
flickered. Computer shut off before it had finished starting.
My gut spoke. Leave, it said. Leave now. Go.
I left. Then. Right then. No words. Just out. To the stairs.
The emergency alarm
There had been a break in in my building on Sunday night. Stole some
computers. A cover up from planting a bomb? How stupid I was not to have left
when my gut had told me before. Is this how it ends? Bringing it upon myself?
Too stupid to listen to what is most important?
The sick, sinking feeling in my gut grows strong. I want to vomit. But,
canat. Not now. Not when there is a chance. No, not now. Go. Just go. Go, and
go, and go, and go...
I pass an old man walking down the stairs. Sorry old man. My gut says go.
I was too stupid before. I wonat be this time. No. Just go. Go. Go. Go. Go.
a|and the alarms continuea|
a|I fight the thoughtsamore bombs, bombs planted here Sunday, Iam so
stupid, why am I so stupid, why am I not on the Brooklyn Bridge, walking home
right nowago, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go
I land in the lobby.
It looks like a late afternoon in winter outside. A blizzard. At
twilight. People stand around in the lobby.
I ask what happened.
aa|a tower collapseda|
aa|both towers collapseda|
aa|theyare gonea|
aa|no one can go into the streetsa|
aa|theyare not letting any one outa|
Bull shit. I must leave. Must. My gut says go. I will go.
I walk first to the font of the building where the building men are
holding the doors shut, then to the back, which is cordoned off. I go back
and forth twice, three times, trying to decided which way to leave.
I look at Yael and Candice who have both just found me. Their faces are
of...pain...I know of no other word. The pain not of loss, not of hurt, but
of fear.
I say I will leave. That I donat feel right here.
aDonat go. Itas safer inside.
My gut says go. It jumps up and down, turns over on itself to get my
I look out onto Broadway through the glass doors.
Nothing but a lone man in a dark suit scurrying through the blizzard of
dust and soot.
I hesitateashould I convince them, Candice and Yael to leave with me?
My CEO bursts in. He wears a thick layer of white-gray dust over his
whole body, shoes, pants, shirt, hands, face, hair. The only thing you can
see of his natural color is the area around his eyes in the shape of sun
glasses. He storms across the floor.
I grab his shoulder, ask him what happened.
aThe tower collapsed. He has no more time to speak to me and bolts up
the stairway in back.
I walk to the door, open it, and look back at Yael and Candice. I see
only pain. A woman snaps Stay or go. Just close the door.
I go.
And, out into the alien white landscape full of debris and footprints
like those on the soft dust of the moon.
Towards the South Street Seaport. I really donat know where Iam going. I
had been meaning to find out how to use the ferry, but had just never gotten
around to doing it.
How stupid of me.
I walk south and east, away. I find people, streams of them going that
way. I follow them, feeling all the while as if I could and would be struck
from behind, from above. I keep my mouth shut against the dust. It covers me.
Covers my glasses, gets trapped between the lenses and sunglass-clip-ons I
really no longer need. Itas a morning twilight on a beautiful September day
without a cloud.
Most people are walking towards the Brooklyn Bridge. Many have masks on,
those surgical masks from Duane Reed or Rite Aide. Others have bandanas
across their nose and mouth. Some are bleeding. Some have bandages. There is
blood on the side walk, making a pinkish pudding in trails of drops and
Sirens. More Sirens. Flashing lights. People covered in white. All
walking, just walking to the same place, to safety, to anywhere but here.
Occasionally, people swallowed a mouthful of water from a bottle and spit
it out, others used the small spigots sticking out of buildingsa foundations.
The pall felt like a new kind of air, like a new way of being, of
walking, almost as if underwater. It stank of concrete and burn.
I could smell the Fulton Fish Market now. And, somehow the sun started
breaking through, down, at the end of the street. I could see parts of the
bridge, the FDR. People crowding across them, a stream, an exodus.
I just kept walking. There was nothing else to do. Just keep going. Just
go. GO.
Cop cars, lights flashing, crept through the streets crowed with people
walking. Still those sirens. Still twilight. But I could see the sun now. I
wondered if I could find the ferry.
I found a sign to South Ferry and the South Street Seaport, and turned
down towards what I imagined was closer to the ferry, right through the heart
of the Fulton Fish Market.
On the street, we walked, the survivors. Along side us were the workers
of the fishmarket, in boots, jeans, t-shirts, aprons.
aa|we have water, ice, paper towels. What ever you need. Water, ice,
paper towelsa|
In teams along the whole market, a first man would give out paper towels,
a second would wet it with a hose, a third handed out ice from a large
plastic bag on a chair.
When I got my towel wetted to wipe my face, clear my eyes, I asked where
the ferry was.
aBack in hell. Just turn around, and hang a left in the middle of hell.
I kept walking towards the Brooklyn Bridge. Just kept going.
I then noticed the tightness in my cheeks, in my jaw, that hard, grinding
tightness of hate and anger and frustration, like giant balls in my face.
Even my teeth ached.
I could see the bridge above me now, and rehearsed what I would do if
they should blow this up while I crossedalose the bags, lose the shoes, the
jacket, and swimajust go.
I was too far east, directly under the bridge. There were several ramps.
Some, the furthest away, those back towards what had been the twin towers
were the obvious ramps, but there were several more closer and people were
taking them all. Confused, I took the one that seemed to be going where I had
to, and walked.
It was the wrong one I think, going to the FDR. I turn around and ask a
man who has just asked a police officer if this was the Brooklyn Bridge.
But then in moments, people are walking back, saying it was the wrong
I ignore all directions now, and just walk to where I can see is a ramp.
The sign reads ato the Brooklyn Bridge and I wait for the traffic to pass
in front of me to cross and finally get to the bridge, even as I walked back
towards the plume of smoke.
Sirens. Hot bright sun. White dusted people. Mostly silent people. Some
walked with friends, telling them, and themselves, where they had been when
it all came down. I still couldnat really think. My face hurt. The sun was
hot. I was hot. The plume of smoke billowed out over the East River and
Brooklyn as far as I could see, past everything.
Then Beethoven appeared to me again. Those triumphant strains of the 5th,
of having made it through suffering through sheer force of will and
determination. This filled my mind. In my imagination I saw the bows fly
across those strings to make something so beautiful. I filled myself with
them, pushed away all other thoughts. No, Beethoven shall walk beside me.
Everything else was far, far too heavy, and threatened to drop me to my
knees, make me sick, vomit down myself and over this bridge. I had to know t
hat some how, beauty can still exist. That this, at least, had not been
stolen from me. It was mine, and only I could give it away. And, that I
refused to do.
As I walked across the bridge, I could not bring myself to turn around
and look back at what had been the twin towers. I would be seeing that every
day for the rest of my life, but now, I couldnat bear to look.
Just GO.
And so I kept going.
The sun glared down, hot and bright. I took off my jacket, and wondered
if I looked the same as those around meacovered in white dust, and
dumbfounded, vacant, or pensive.
Nausea would hit in a wave whenever I thought of what had just happened,
when I thought of what might happen next, hoping that the Supreme Court had
chosen the right man 8 months ago. At those moments, I would bring the 5th
symphony backaI would not let anyone steal this from me.
As I neared the end of the bridge, I saw a group of people looking back
towards Manhattan, some taking photos. I gave in. Stopped. Turned. Looked.
A plume of smoke. Nothing else.
What did I expect? How does one see absence?
I walked and kept walking, through downtown Brooklyn. Just kept going,
sun hot in my face, cheeks knotted, eyes caked with dust, stomach sick, not
thinking. Canat do that. Canat. Itas too big. Enormous. Just hum Beethoven.
And keep going, keep going.
Some people wait for buses. Others walk. And the sirens. And the plume of
smoke overhead.
Rumors of other bombings, none confirmed, scurry around me. I donat want
to know. It will swallow me if I think about it. Eat me alive. Go.
Just keep going.
Simply walking, under the hot sun, air full with the smell of concrete
and burn, a thick plume still arching over Brooklyn, I eventually turned left
to make it to a street that looked like it went all the way through downtown
to Parkslope and beyond. I had only ever taken the subway this far, so I was
guessing. It looked right. And, as long as I kept going, I knew I would
eventually find my way home.
Thoughts of my mother, my friends began creeping in as I walked through
Cobble Hill.
A car was playing a radio, volume up, all its doors open. I stopped to
listen along with about a dozen or so others. Just the facts. We have a new
skyline. Thousands feared dead. 4 planes. Pentagon. Pennsylvania. No word on
a response.
Then ain an attempt to return to some normalcy, the traffic report.
Bridges and tunnels closed inbound. Trains suspended, but for some in the
outer boroughs, and that only perhaps because of power outages. Busses
suspended. But, perhaps only in Manhattan. Manhattan closed south of Canal.
All airports closed.
I started walking again.
Then I noticed I was thirsty and needed to let people know I had
survived. Physically.
I stopped in a deli and bought a gatoraide, and saw a dark skinned, dark
haired man behind the counter. In spite of myself, it flashed I should do could be...I pushed this too heavy thought away. He looked
slightly frightened as he gave me my change. With the change I called Sofi.
Told her I was alive, and asked her to call my mother, giving her the number.
I then kept going.
After crossing a canal separating Red Hook from Park Slope, I rounded a
corner, and there were several men with a forklift, and a pallet of water.
aHere, one man said, ahereas some more water.
I accepted with thanks, and kept going.
Finding third avenue, I started south to 61st. In front of me, behind me
were the remnants of the exodus, a sporadic stream of men and women trudging
along, all silent. But for the sirens. Still everywhere. The sun was so hot.
I felt it burning my face, my eyes itching from the dust, and the ball of
tightness in my cheeks ached.
But, as I walked, I kept Beethoven there. Reminding myself there is still
beauty, and as long as I remember that, it can never be taken from me. I
wonat let them win. They will not beat me. I will not permit that. It can not
happen. Then an offhand comment that Jemila, my friend from last night, made,
quoting Booker T. Washington: aI will let no man bring me so low as to make
me hate him.
(I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making
me hate him. )
She used itaI canat even remember in reference to what, but as nothing
compared with now. And, I will take that mindaI wonat, I canat let them
steal from me what is best. I will never allow that. For I would be worse
than they, as I know better, and yet would have turned away from that.
No. They cannot win.
And, so I kept going, passing cop cars blocking streets and police
watching, bearing shotguns around a federal prison, the lines of traffic
waiting to head onto the BQE, trying to get anywhere but here.
A young hip-hop kid walks towards me, someone I would never have spoken
to, nor would he have ever spoken to me on a normal day.
aMan, itas fucked up. Hits in LA. A plane in Chicago with bombs at the
I just shake my head. I mean, really, what in the hell can I say? What
words can convey this. I feel impotent.
aMan. He just shakes his head. Holds his hand up.
We high five. Walk away. Itas just different now.
Snippets of conversations I passed by:
aThey finally brought it over herea|
aa|blow the fuck out of thema|
aa|bomb them back to the stone agea|
This is still too enormous for me to think about. I simply canat think
about it. Not now. I wish not ever, but know, eventually, I must. I use those
magnificent phrases from the 4th movement of the fifth to keep me going, 20
more blocks, 10, 5, 1. Iam home. I go into my building, and, out of habit,
thoughtlessly, I check for my mail, what bills I might get, advertisements.
Nothing. Of course, the post office would have shut down.
To my apartment where my two cats were. They purred and meowed greeting
I envy them right then. But, I must keep going. If I slow down, my
thoughts might catch up with me.
I have seen no footage, no image yet, though my shoes, my shirt, hair,
fingers are dusted with what was, until three hours before, the twin-towers.
Phone calls. I canat reach my mother, but leave a message. My sister
calls, no, nothing in Chicago. Nothing in LA. A flurry of emails. My friends
from Mexico offering me a place to stay if I wish to leave. More messages
saying aIave been trying to reach you. All the circuits are busy.
I call Sofi for the latest news. Only New York and The Pentagon were hit.
One plane went down in Pennsylvania. No word yet otherwise. Bush to address
the nation at 9. I want to see it, and having no television, I invite myself
over. Sure, whenever....
But, first, I answer more emails. I scour the net for news. And those
damned sirens. Still those damned sirens. Is this some new disaster? or still
the one I escaped? I canat tell. I have no way of telling. The plume still
arches over Brooklyn. It smells of soot, of burn and concrete. I read all I
can, still trying not to think, not really, not deeply, just trying to...I
donat even and not think, fill myself, staunch the flow of
thoughts too heavy for me. I cannot even think of the kindness of strangers,
for I weep when I do, more than for the dead, for that is simply too big an
emotion for this one small body, this one lone mind.
I still have to keep going. I am hungry. Tired. Sunburnt. And, straining
under the weight of the thoughts that fill the air around me.
Then I realize Iam still covered in dust. My hair is stiff with it, eyes
caked. I shower, and this gives me a little too much time to think, and I
need to leave, keep going, never stop, never stop, not until I fall asleep,
and after I dress, I walk to Bay Ridge, just a few minutes walk away to buy
some groceries. My usual, vegetables, tofu. But, somehow, I canat make up my
mind about anything. Which tomatoes? I loose track of where I am. I keep
having moments of surprise at finding myself in a corner grocery, shopping.
Shopping? What am I doing shopping? Yes, to keep going. Not not allow myself
too long a time to think. Still, it takes me so much time just to select a
few items, and am not even sure if that is what I want or need, but I also
know it really doesnat matter.
Then, I notice the sounds of a news cast, and then the television up
I see for the first time what it was I had just walked away from. I feel
nothing as I watch. The plane striking. The flames I saw only a few hours
ago. The dust I had walked through. The absence. I donat know how long I
stared at the TV. But, I couldnat watch any more. I paid, and then, as I
walked down the avenue, remembered I forgot cat food. I had to get cat food.
I crisscrossed the street going into first one then another grocery.
Friskies, not Hills. But, that matters nothing. Nothing. Less than nothing.
I passed a street packed with Fire engines. From New Jersey. Connecticut.
Long Island. The police station a block away had cars two deep parked around
it. I remembered hearing before, I think at the car in Cobble Hill, that all
retired officers and firefighters had to report back to duty. I made it back
home with the images the rest of the worldathose who were not there, the
voyersain my head for the first time.
The plume of smoke still arched across Brooklyn. The smell of concrete
and burn. Sirens still wailed. I hate them now, the sirens. Hate them.
My super, a big strong man from the Domican Republic, sat on the stair
well. His eyes were red, held a ball of tissue in his hands. Just shook his
head. aI laid pipe in there. The collumns were thick. Thick. As big as
this. He moves his hands around indicating the whole stairwell, and just
shakes his head. The front door slams behind me and we both jump. I hate loud
noises now.
At home, I had to eat. I was nauseated, but knew I had to do something.
After a quick sandwich, I put in Beethoven, this time the 4th movement of
his 9th symphony, what I think is the most magnificent piece of music ever
writtenaI cannot let them win. They will never take this beauty from me. I
let the music flow over me. It drowned out the sirens, masked the stench,
covered my eyes to the dust that I somehow cannot, even now, wipe from my
Before I left for Sofi and Krassias house, I took solace, if that is even
the right word, from reading the words of other countries, from Russia,
England, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, all countries that were once our
enemies. This seemed odd to me at the timeathat I felt better about that than
anything I had yet heard today, but for the calls and emails from friends and
On my trip to Sofi and Krassias, I had to pick a new book to read. The
next one in line to read was War and Peace. The irony was too clumbsy.
Instead, I selected Candide. Ironic, yes, but at least subtly. I read it on
the subway to their house, and as I read a description of Voltaire, I smiled.
Really smiled for the first time this day as his philosophy of Deistic
humanism was sketched out for me and how he wanted to be the one that undid
the work of twelve...I had wanted to do this when I was younger.
I did not feel bad for smiling, for forgetting for a few moments what had
just happened, because, I canat let them win, and I will not give away what I
hold within me, no matter how frail or trivial it may seem. Others may give
them their minds, their emotions if they choose, but I shall not.
I watched President Bushas address, arriving just as it began. No real
comfort. Just enough to make it through this night. Nothing stupid has been
done. Some loose, aimless fears were calmed. For now. Flipping through
channels. More of the same. Dead bodies. Rescues. Cell phones. Repeated
images of piloted missiles and buildings crumbling. Death, and more death,
and still more...
I had to leave. Still those god damned sirens. And that smell of burn and
At home, more emails. Phone calls.
Eventually, I was too tired to stay awake.
I slept.
And today is such a fine, beautiful September day, like yesterday. But,
this morning, I smell concrete and burn, and the sound of jet fighters fills
the air.
My friend Maureen wrote me last night: I Feel blessed to be alive!
Iam trying. Trying like hell right now.

Daniel Silverstein

hello all, were okay.

living in war zone
need i.d. to get home
which is checked by military

no phone
no hot water
thank god for "willy" at the gym who is stuck
and cant go home, he lets us bathe

really bad
really really bad

saw the whole thing,
from jet engines booming low, too low.
then first plane passing by bedroom window with shadow cast across room
then large (not too large)
sounding like garbage truck in alley, bang.

screaming out on the street
me jumping out of bed, running to the window,
everyone looking south and pointing,
then me running to the balcony,
39 stories high
leaning peering around side of building looking south
seeing lots and lots of smoke
throwing on shorts
running up 1 flight to the roof
40 stories high in the air
an absolutely breathtaking view of
a crisp clear sky and beautiful sunny day
looking south,
eyes popping out of head

7 blocks away the World Trade Center
seeing an amazing thing
a 100' hole in-between the 80th and 90th floors
of building 1,

seeing thousands upon thousands fleeing
running up the West side highway
all around us tens of thousands
heading north

cant believe what were seeing
myself and neighbor on roof
big hole in building
we are frantic
he with camara me with cel phone
calling calling simon on other end
simon on his balcony top floor
as mine, on the far east side on river
me on far west side on river

then whats THAT sound?
second plane coming in from south
banking turning 7 seconds...
into floors 60-70
windows popping
metal twisting
smoke and fire is a blazin
people are jumpin
its bad

running back to apt
calling relatives
packing clothing
wheres the passports
wheres my birth certificate

back up on roof
oh my god this is fucked
then then

oh my god
mass people dying
carnage and wreckage
i run running

sally and i fleeing
in the SUV north
go to bunker/gallery
meeting up with others there

what a world
bless America


Mary Healy


Dear friends,

What occurred yesterday will never be forgotten. I now know what it feels like to be a victim of a terrorist attack. As you know, we live about 3 blocks southwest of the World Trade Center on the Hudson River in Battery Park City. I am afraid that the neighbourhood that we were so proud of and loved so much will never be the same. I will give you the details of our family's experience of this horrific unbelievable day: At around 9 am Niall called me from his office near Penn Station informing me of the first crash. I didn't hear it or have any idea what had happened. I thought it was a freak accident. Looking out my window into the cul-de-sac it was filled with taxi-cabs that were parked as if they had gotten away from the explosion and were trying to get a look up at the towers. (My building is on a cul-de-sac at the end of Albany Street, next to the Hudson River). For the next 15 minutes the phone began to ring and I received many calls from friends and family. I turned on the tv to get a better idea of what was happening.

Liam and I were planning on taking the subway up to Central Park Zoo that morning. I was showered and dressed and just needed to get him ready. I wanted to do something special before his first day of school, which was to be today. 18 minutes after the first crash I watched the second plane crash into the second tower on tv. (My apartment looks our on another complex and on the river--no view of the WTC). Panic instantly set in and I knew that we were being terrorized. Niall called frantic, yelling at me to stay inside. I really don't remember what else we said to one another before we quickly hung up. I knew I had to get out of the building so that I could see what was heading for us.

Looking out the window at this stage, I saw people running down my street from the World Financial Center trying to get away from the WTC. They were heading to the river. I quickly dressed Liam, threw him in the stroller and took the elevator down to the lobby. No wallet, no diapers, nothing.

The doorman said that we should get as close to the river as we could and stay away from any buildings. That is what we did. I felt like a sitting duck in the apartment and had a strong desire to be outside. At first we watched in disbelief the burning and debris, as you have all no doubtedly witnessed on tv. Liam was saying, "you not be scared mommy,o.k.? You not be frightened."

Then the scene became more than I could bear when I witnessed people jumping to their deaths from the tower. I saw people holding on to the outside of the building for their dear lives, trying to climb it. These people were directly below the burning hole on the first tower to be hit. It must have been the 80th floor or so. I couldn't watch this and I did not want Liam to see what was happening so we began to walk back towards our lobby which is a very short walk from the water. (50 feet). The doormen then said that they were informed to have everyone evacuate their apartments and to get into the basement.

I had opened all of the windows that morning because it was such a beautiful, cool day. I now am afraid to see the state of our home whenever we get to go back to it. We chose to sit in the lobby while random people were coming in trying to use the phones to call their loved ones. It was very difficult to get through on land lines or cell phones. People were crying and very nervous and upset. All of a sudden one of the building porters commanded us to get into the basement right then. This was when the first tower collapsed.

This was the moment when we no longer became spectators but actual victims ourselves. All sorts of people came running into the lobby for cover, the sky was black and the dust was so thick you could see nothing outside. Debris was flying through the sky. We all went to the basement but quickly realized that the vents were blowing smoke and dust into the basement. No one wanted to be in there. Someone opened the back doors to the courtyard and I saw the blackness that awaited us. We knew we couldn't leave either. I wanted to get back up to the lobby and that is what I did. I think most of us did.

At this stage I was carrying Liam and thanking God that I was able to. ( Surgery 4 weeks ago had me bed-ridden for about 8 days). I wasn't' concerned that I would go into premature labor (6 months pregnant) because I went to the doctor yesterday and my cervix was very long. This was when I encountered victims of the dust and debris that had managed their way into our lobby. It was very frightening. People were dazed and confused. Covered head to toe with thick white clingy dust. No one really knew what had happened. Finally, Niall appeared. I didn't even know he was coming to us!

He said he told me on the phone -- but I don't recall. He too was covered head to toe with dust and ashes and was overwhelmed to find us alive. After going through what he did to get to us he was certain he would find us dead.

Niall's story has him slightly traumatized by the attack. I will give you my version of his story: He watched from his office building on the 43rd floor in midtown the second jet impact the tower. Someone in his office was speaking to someone in the WTC on the 102nd floor at the time and they said that they needed help when the phone went dead. Niall immediately evacuated his building and headed downtown -- by FOOT!! He ran from 34th street all the way until he got to us. We noticed today that he ran a hole into his shoes! He had to go through hell to find us, but he finally did. By the time Niall got to the Embassy Suites, which is directly left of the World Financial Center, if you are looking from the Hudson River, the first tower had collapsed. He didn't know what had happened. He was immediately thrown to the ground (from the wind and impact)and heard screaming from a woman which he eventually helped to safety. He came upon two bodies in the marina area of the World Financial Center (where the big glass atrium was) that he knew were dead. He couldn't see well because of the dust and had to feel his way south--heading towards us. He saw all of the sails torn on the sailboats in the marina once he came upon them. He said it was eerily empty in this location. I believe most people had been getting away from this area either heading north of it or south of it before the tower collapsed. He actually had been in an argument with a police officer before the explosion who wouldn't let him enter this area. Once the explosion occurred no one could stop him.

He then heard a police radio, "Is anyone in the North Tower? Is anyone in the North TOwer?!" He was ironically right next to the NYC police memorial when he saw 2 officers down on the ground that must have belonged to this radio. He believes them to be deceased also. He continued to make his way down the esplanade to our building where Liam and I were. As soon as he saw us he began to cry uncontrollably and I wouldn't learn until later what he had just experienced. You all have seen on the news what that cloud of blackness looked like that covered BPC. He was wandering through it blindly at that moment.

We were together and we were relatively healthy. A fire marshall guided us out of the building and we all walked south toward the Jewish Museum.

The ashes were falling like snowflakes, the ground was covered with white dust and the trees were covered with debris. SOme of us were given masks to where for our breathing. Liam was covered by the doorman's jacket and we didn't know where we would end up. A water taxi that goes back and forth across the Hudson River saw us and came for us. WOmen and children got on that boat.

Niall had to wait for the next one. It was chaos getting on the boat, everyone wanted to get the hell out of there. The anxiety level was very high.

They were screaming and yelling at us to move to the back, to make room, to put on our life jackets. I put Liam's on, put mine on and then covered his face with the jacket so he wouldn't have to see what was going on. He was calm and sat in my lap with the jacket covering his head. 5 minutes out into the river, heading to Liberty State Park, I watched in horror as the second tower collapsed. Thanking God we were heading to safety and away from armageddon, I was concerned about Niall. Niall was 5 minutes behind me on a police boat.

At Liberty State Park they had a recovery haven for us and Niall and I soon reunited. We comforted neighbours and friends and eventually got on a bus to go to the National Guard headquarters in NJ. Once there, we sat and waited and got on one of the first buses heading to Newark, NJ. We were trying to get as far away as we could and to our friend's home in Morristown, NJ. Once at the Newark train station the police were turning us away. We all adamantly protested and got off of the bus. I told the officer that the national guard had sent us and then he said o.k., but there are no trains running. We got on a bus headed to Summit, NJ (believing that was close to Morristown). Once in Summit, men with masks and white suits had set up a medical tent for people coming in from the city that may have been contaminated with chemical warfare. We were about to ask them if we needed to do something when an angel of a man came and asked us if we needed a ride. We chose to go with him instead. He had come in from the city earlier to his home in NJ and wanted to help those of us stranded.

He gathered 6 of us and drove us wherever we wanted him to take us. All we know is his name is Allen.

From there we were met by our friends in Morristown who took us in, fed us, washed our clothes and gave us a very comfortable home to regroup in. It was around 5:30 pm at this stage. It had been a very long day. We showered and tried to sleep and got up this morning--happy to be alive. Liam keeps asking what happened, and we keep talking about it. I am trying to shield him from the tv now. Niall is doing better. We are now at my parent's home in Pennsylvania. We will be here until we can get back to our home. I have no idea when they will let us back in. I know it will be very difficult to see the aftermath first hand. I am having nightmares about it.

Our street, we have been told, is completely ruined. The buildings are in good shape but there are burnt out cars and wreckage everywhere. There is no electricity and I am sure that all of my food has melted from the freezer onto my absorbent limestone floors! The dust I am sure is covering everything inside and I dread seeing and smelling the damage. On that same note, we can clean, we are alive and we are healthy and we are thankful. I love all of you and will speak with you soon.

Re: Update one week later.
John Zieman <>

The power has been restored in my apartment building! , but still no phone or cable, and the structural engineers say its fine except for ornamental damage. More troubling in terms of moving back in is the bitter air quality, my super says the smell is burning insulation from the miles of cabling, and full of carcinogenic PCBs. I get cranky when the smoke drifts in the direction of my office several miles juptown, so I don't want to rush closer.

The mood around me is sorrow and after-shock. Lots of people can't sleep or are having rescue nightmares. Still, we are moving along, responding to all the momentary challenges of a day's work. But any moment of reflection can bring tears, a subway ride can drop many levels . . . Walking down the street you see bus shelters and signposts covered with "Lost" and "Missing" posters with pictures and descriptions of loved ones. Beautiful warm sunny days are quieter than usual in the city of tourists who can't get here, or can't get away, and many residents who have an option to call in from vacation homes or stay outside the city have done so.

The stress of endless sirens and overhead jets is diminishing, and the stories of those who are missing circle in closer to us. Everyone knows someone...

What is also happening is strong pulling together. People talking it out, in the office, the park, the street. Many are cautioning against a quick fix, some simplistic military vengence... There is an understanding that its not over, that it won't be an easy problem to fix, and that the extended boom economy may make other personal adjustments necessary.


Recieved 9.13.01

Rebecca in NYC

Hey friends,
First of all, I want to thank all of you guys who called and emailed so
concerned for my and Dottie's safety. We really felt so cared about. Thank
As most of you know, we are both fine. But we do have quite a story to
tell. It kind of shakes me up every time I tell it, so though I apologize
for the impersonal mass email, this was really the best way for me to be able
to share it with all of you.
Tuesday started out as a gorgeous morning. Sunny, clear, and cool.
Dottie and I are now living in a sublet apartment in Midtown Manhattan until
October 1st.
I had been up for a little while when my mother called to tell me a plane
had crashed into the World Trade Center. We watched on tv in shock as the
second plane slammed into the World Trade Center.
We had half an hour to be at work and I asked Dottie if she wanted to
wander down that way to see if we could see anything. We left with the
intention of simply getting further downtown. But after walking a bit, we
decided it would be faster to take the subway for a few streets.
We intended to take a local train and get off around 14th street or so,
well enough away from the Towers. We thought we'd just see the towers on
In our haste though, we wound up on an express train by accident and it
passed all the stops we wanted to get off at. Finally, it arrived at
Chambers street. The train slowed to a stop. We jumped up to get off, but
the doors would not open. Then it slowly began to move forward once again,
leaving the station behind.
We were in the last car of the train and as we pulled forward, a person
in our car jumped, looked our the window behind us and exclaimed, "Look at
all the smoke!"
The people on the train were silent and we all exchanged worried looks as
we traveled through darkness into the unknown. Soon we arrived at the next
station, Park Place. The entire car exclaimed "Oh my God!"
To our horror, the ENTIRE station was filled with smoke. You could not
see the other track on the other side. The train did not stop but slowly
crept through.
We had no idea what was going on. Why all the smoke from something that
happened on the top floors of a building over 100 stories up?
No one knew what was going on.
Slowly we kept moving forward until we stopped. With no idea where we
were or what was going on. All I knew was there was smoke behind us and the
World Trade Center in front of us. And we were stuck on the subway.
We were really scared. I thought perhaps terrorists had indeed invaded
the city and they had bombed the subway system. I don't even know how long
we were stuck down there. Finally, there came an announcement for us to
calmly make our way to the front of the train.
Really great news for us in the last car. It took forever. And as we
finally did begin to move, each car got smokier and smokier. At the front,
there was a uniformed person held the door open for us and directed us up the
subway stairs.
I was beyond relieved to be out of there. I didn't care what happened
(at the moment) just that I was off the train.
We walked up the subway steps expecting to be let out in fresh air. But
that was not the case. The steps led up and into a building. Outside the
building, it looked like WWIII. The streets were absolutely empty and
completely grey.
People were gathered in this lobby having no idea what to do or where to
go. Behind us a guy who was on the subway let out a nervous laugh or
something. But a man who had apparently escaped from the WTC attacked him!
He was beating him until the guy fell to the floor, yelling, "You think
that's funny? I narrowly escaped with my life out of the there! I have
friends in there!" It was horrific and out of control, as the victim's
girlfriend tried in vain to get the guy off her boyfriend. And other people
tried to subdue the man.
I knew we had to get out somehow.
The lobby was filled with the smoke. People were handing out gobs of
toilet paper to hold over your mouth and nose. They wouldn't let us out on
the side of the building as the subway, but I saw people exiting the other
side of the building.
I led Dottie that way. A policeman stood outside. When I opened the
door, I can't believe what I saw.
It was like nothing I had ever seen. The entire city was grey. Ashes
rained from the sky, just like in Auschwitz (the Jewish concentration camp).
Piles of ashes carpeted the street. Like walking through a playground of
sand. The cars were blanketed in ash. It was like a nuclear bomb had hit.
And yet, perfectly quiet. Except for sounds of sirens in the distance.
I walked up to the cop and asked him where to go.
"Toward Seaport," he said.
"Which way is that?" I asked him.
"I don't know," he said, "I don't know where I am right now."
I looked both ways. He pointed behind him.
"This is the bad way," he said. "Parts of the building are falling down."
And just as he said that we heard it. It didn't sound like an explosion,
it sounded just like what it was. A giant piece of building falling from
above and crashing down on the street. And it sounded very close.
"There's another one," he said. "Just walk that way," the policeman
advised me.
Taking Dottie's hand, we just followed the rest of the confused crowd.
Summer had turned to winter all around us. Everyone was covered in the
ashes. We couldn't breathe and we couldn't see. The streets were very
quiet. All you could hear was the sirens. Tons of sirens.
We passed some men handing out masks. He ran out as we approached him,
so he found some gauze to give us. We continued to walk with no idea where
we were going. I saw one woman crying hysterically, stopping to be held by
the person who walked with her.
Only once was there a cop to direct us.
"No matter where you're going, you have to go this way to get there," he
We kept looking at the smoke behind us, completely confused why we could
not see the towers of the World Trade Center and assumed it was hidden by the
thick black smoke.
Finally, we came to clearer air and blue sky. I turned to take some
pictured. We didn't take any in the thick of it because all we cared about
was getting out. We learned that there were no subways working, so we wound
up having to walk from there all the way back to Midtown (it took about two
The streets were chaotic. People covered in ashes, would come up to us
and start randomly telling us their stories of what they saw, including
people jumping out the windows to their deaths. As we walked by a pay phone,
two men were there almost ready to fight each other over it. Policemen
directed traffic at every intersection. On the streets, emergency vehicles
rushing from the scene looked like they themselves were on fire with all the
soot streaming off their roofs like smoke.
As we continued to walk down the streets, we came across several small
crowds all along the city who wrapped themselves around cars who had their
radios playing or store windows that had tvs, all along the streets. That is
how we learned just how large a scale this attack on America had been.
But it was not until we arrived in Times Square and joined the massive
crowd that had gathered on the sidewalk to watch the famous big screen tv and
saw the live coverage that we realized the Twin Towers were gone. We had
heard it hear and there, but never truly believed the giant buildings had
fallen until we saw it.
Comparing the times we looked at our watches and what we saw, we assume
the towers fell as we were underneath in the subway. We must have stepped
out onto the street just after the second building had fallen.
You have to understand, no one, including us, had any idea that the
buildings would fall!
I cannot believe the Twin Towers, which I have learned to call my own,
are gone from the magnificent New York skyline. I called them the king and
queen that guarded the city. And they have been completely destroyed.
As far as New York goes, everything was shut down from then on and today
as well. We arrived home on Tuesday our feet, clothes, and hair covered in
ashes. By Tuesday evening, Times Square had completely emptied out. It was
almost like a ghost town in a busy known for heavy traffic, both on the
sidewalks and on the streets. Cell phones and land phones were very
difficult to get through on, if at all.
I have been home from work both days. The mayor has asked for all of
Manhattan to remain at home if at all possible. Tonight we saw many
candlelight visuals on the street. Dump trucks full of debris travel the
streets as well as numerous emergency vehicles, sirens whirring.
I don't have to share with any of you my horror and sadness of this
situation. Tonight we unite as a country. We have all become victims. We
all are probably feeling the same thing right now. Life will never be the
Also, I am sure that many of you may have friends or families who were
traumatized, hurt, or killed in this horrible disaster. My heart is with
you. My heart goes out to our entire country right now.
I just want you all to know that I love you all very much and you have
all been in my thoughts through out this whole situation. All we can do is
hang on and see what happens next.

Peace and love to you from the bottom of my soul,



Recieved 9.12.01

Larry Warshaw

I was standing at the corner of West B'way and Grand at 10:15AM, 9/11, right after Tower 2 South Tower collasped.This is only 12 twelveblocks away from the WTC. It was beyond belief to look up andsee Tower 1 with a deep black gash and fire buring inside andon the surface. I had binoculars and saw inside this gash seeingthe flames burning burning.

At 10:28 AM I was looking up at Tower 1, and in a state of shocksuddenly saw a tremendous explosion blow up in the skyof gray dust looking like a giant mushroom rising into thesky covering everything yet changing its shape in sharp detailin the visual sky, time froze for everyone, then immediately dropping like acoat falling off the wall one saw the entire rectangle silver structurefaint into nothing until it hit the ground and the billows of grey explodingdust seem to rush towards us. Time now seem to actually freeze andmy comprehension of what just happened seemed stamped into myconsciousness - the overwhelming sense of the magnitude, and detail of what just happened I will never forget. I had no feeling, no thoughts, no sense of emotional life.

Today the clouds still cover the entire downtown area, only there isa burnt odor everywhere in Soho; I actually had to leave my studiosince the smell was too strong to stay inside, and as you walk to Canalstreet the smoke is heavier and most people are wearing face masks.Youcannot go south of Canal Street. The cops that stop you are from New Jersey.

One has to face the fact that since 110 floors collasped one ontop of another within seconds, the people who were working onthese floors would be pulverized by the great pressure of the immensedweight, and now the dust that covers cars and peopleand moves through the airare in fact the particles of their human remains.The dust is the only footprint left of these human lives.

This is be one reason why so few bodies have been found so far. There may have been over 20, 000 people working in both buildings.

You cannot imagine how much dust particles cover the streetsof lower Manhattan, and move thru the air in the silence ofwarm brightly lit day, and horrible moment in time, this dust is aliving memorial to those we shall never see again.


John Zeiman- NYC


living 3 blocks from the WTC, as I do, I was astonished by the loud proximity of the first crash, and went down to the street in time to see the second fireball plane exploding. I went up to get ready to get out, and the worst sound effect of all, a huge explosion approaching my house, shaking like an earthquake on a train toward me, and then a black cloud of dust blocked all the sunlight, I was plunged into the nuclear winter of burning soot and ash and toxic fumes, and lost sight of everything. I thought for sure I was going to die, and when the smoke cleared a bit, there were people running everywhere in terror, and the street was covered in an inch of white ash dust with office papers mixed in. Then the second tower collapsed, the horror explosion, and again the black

cloud covered with pitch darkness. I got my cat out and got in my car, we're sitting here in my office, there's a golden plume in the southern distance, but its a beautiful day to be alive...


Fred Reed LIC


9/11/01 - I'm in a bit of a jumble ... got a bit of the shakes, don't know
how to begin describing it but I guess I'll jump right in. I was up at 8AM
this morning, made breakfast and was doing some paperwork before leaving for
a dental appointment at 10AM. Around 9AM I started to hear a lot of sirens,
even more than usual. I started to get really irritated and looked out my
window but didn't see anything, longing for the peace of the Maine woods I'd
just returned from. Then Richard Khuzami called, a musical collaborator and
friend of mine who told me to turn on the TV. I climbed to the roof from my
fire escape instead, where I had a clear view of Manhattan from the WTC to
the 59th street bridge. I saw one of the towers clearly, the south one being
obscured by smoke. Just after I got to the roof a huge cloud of debris
spouted from the sides of the south tower and then blew across the south and
east of Manhattan. I realized with horror that the tower had collapsed and
that I had witnessed the deaths of hundreds, possibly thousands of people. I
watched closely with binoculars as smoke and flames billowed from the 2nd
tower. I was wondering why they weren't trying to evacuate the 2nd tower by
helicopters from the roof when it collapsed also. I still can't get over what
I witnessed and the sickness of the minds that must have planned this. I
climbed back down my fire escape and banged on my neighbor Gordon's door with
a sick feeling in my stomach. I've played with him and known him for over 20
years and he develops software for large corporations right at the WTC. I'm
wondering how many other people I know that might have been there on business
or been unlucky enough to have been traveling in the vicinity. Rumors galore
are running rampant in the city, and the bridges and subways are shut down,
no traffic being allowed into the city. Millions are now walking out of the
city and over the 59 street bridge, trying to get to their homes. I just got
thru to Gordon and he's fine but pretty shaken up after having witnessed the
second plane crashing into the WTC from across the street. He couldn't
believe how many people were coming downtown to watch before the towers
collapsed as he fled the vicinity. The phones are screwed up right now (I've
been able to reach people inside the city but not outside), so I hope
everyone will get this E-mail. OK, that's all for now..... I'm sure there
will be more later. Fred

9/12/01 The remains of the
towers are still burning, still visable from my building...... meanwhile
almost everyone I know is out of work for a while. The phones are working
fine now, but it's going tto take me awhile to catch up with everyone and I
don't know when I'll be working again myself. I'm trying to volunteer for one
of the rescue/cleanup crews, but pandemonium reigns............ I might work
with one of Cary Hart's crews....... his E-mails are quoted and included
below. Thanks to everyone who tried to call or E-mail me, I'm fine, but a
lot of people I know aren't. Yours, Fred

Cary Hart NYC


I am OK, I was standing on Thomas street 8 blocks north on Broadway. I
heard the first air craft go over my head and slam into tower #2, I fucking
couldn't believe it, 5 minutes later while watching I saw the second
aircraft explode into tower 1, bodies jumping, the inside were an inferno,
the steel was so hot it was arcing, they had no choice. Then the second
tower crashed, crumpled like a skeleton that had its skin ripped off. it
was the most horrible thing I have ever witnessed. I walk north 6 blocks to
my office which looks at the tower from the 7th floor, we were watching and
then the second tower collapsed. I think every emergency personal in the
city was there and was killed. Friends are missing. Buildings are still
burning, F16 fighter jets are flying over. You would not believe what has
happened here. There must be 5000 or more dead at least. horrible. I
will stay in touch. I hope that this country as a people make the right
decision about this terrorist attack.


Our crews and people are ok. We are

a couple of blocks away waiting to be
called into to do search and rescue or what ever else they may need us to
do. The area is still burning. My offices are on the 7th floor with a clear
sight to the south. Nothing left. I was on the west side highway and saw a
caravan of 50 ambulances, no sirens, only flashing lights heading north to
hospitals. Triage centers are set up all over the place, but I heard they
have only found 10 people alive since last night. People are calling from
their cell phones in the lower basement levels, they can't get to them,
highly unstable structurally. The Marriott hotel adjacent to the site is
breached by fire and may collapse. I was with a group of engineers from
Turner & HRH construction and the assessment was not good. Heavy equipment
can't be used too far into the site. Underground structures are breached
and every effort to move them in discloses another breached holiday beneath.
It is incredible frustrating with everyone wanting to get in and help find
people, but though the area is much better organized today it is still
logistically hazardous. I fear anyone who were in the buildings when they
collapsed are lost. The fire and police rescue teams were in tears this
morning when it became clear in the light of the day what remained. I will
keep you posted as soon as I hear or see anything more.



Our crews and people are ok. We are a couple of blocks away waiting to be
called into to do search and rescue or what ever else they may need us to
do. The area is still burning. My offices are on the 7th floor with a clear
sight to the south. Nothing left. I was on the west side highway and saw a
caravan of 50 ambulances, no sirens, only flashing lights heading north to
hospitals. Triage centers are set up all over the place, but I heard they
have only found 10 people alive since last night. People are calling from
their cell phones in the lower basement levels, they can't get to them,
highly unstable structurally. The Marriott hotel adjacent to the site is
breached by fire and may collapse. I was with a group of engineers from
Turner & HRH construction and the assessment was not good. Heavy equipment
can't be used too far into the site. Underground structures are breached
and every effort to move them in discloses another breached holiday beneath.
It is incredible frustrating with everyone wanting to get in and help find
people, but though the area is much better organized today it is still
logistically hazardous. I fear anyone who were in the buildings when they
collapsed are lost. The fire and police rescue teams were in tears this
morning when it became clear in the light of the day what remained. I will
keep you posted as soon as I hear or see anything more.



I am OK, I was standing on Thomas street 8 blocks north on Broadway. I
heard the first air craft go over my head and slam into tower #2, I fucking
couldn't believe it, 5 minutes later while watching I saw the second
aircraft explode into tower 1, bodies jumping, the inside were an inferno,
the steel was so hot it was arcing, they had no choice. Then the second
tower crashed, crumpled like a skeleton that had its skin ripped off. it
was the most horrible thing I have ever witnessed. I walk north 6 blocks to
my office which looks at the tower from the 7th floor, we were watching and
then the second tower collapsed. I think every emergency personal in the
city was there and was killed. Friends are missing. Buildings are still
burning, F16 fighter jets are flying over. You would not believe what has
happened here. There must be 5000 or more dead at least. horrible. I
will stay in touch. I hope that this country as a people make the right
decision about this terrorist attack.


Our crews and people are ok. We are

a couple of blocks away waiting to be
called into to do search and rescue or what ever else they may need us to
do. The area is still burning. My offices are on the 7th floor with a clear
sight to the south. Nothing left. I was on the west side highway and saw a
caravan of 50 ambulances, no sirens, only flashing lights heading north to
hospitals. Triage centers are set up all over the place, but I heard they
have only found 10 people alive since last night. People are calling from
their cell phones in the lower basement levels, they can't get to them,
highly unstable structurally. The Marriott hotel adjacent to the site is
breached by fire and may collapse. I was with a group of engineers from
Turner & HRH construction and the assessment was not good. Heavy equipment
can't be used too far into the site. Underground structures are breached
and every effort to move them in discloses another breached holiday beneath.
It is incredible frustrating with everyone wanting to get in and help find
people, but though the area is much better organized today it is still
logistically hazardous. I fear anyone who were in the buildings when they
collapsed are lost. The fire and police rescue teams were in tears this
morning when it became clear in the light of the day what remained. I will
keep you posted as soon as I hear or see anything more.








© 2001 Douglas Kelley