I had taken a break from teaching and was in the habit of walking to the temp job I had in the file room at SEIU Local 32BJ. Somewhere along Grand Street I noticed a plane flying really really low. Thinking it was probably just my faulty depth perception, I decided to duck into a shop for tea. It being SoHo, and my being an impecunious temp, I came out of the shop without anything.
When I made it down to Canal Street I could see that I’d been right about the plane, and that it had smashed through one of the towers. A horrible accident.
I went into work a bit dazed. All we did was talk about the horrible accident.
Until the second plane hit. At this point, perhaps in my innocent optimism, I was still thinking that maybe it was just that the air traffic controllers at Kennedy were asleep. Luckily, other people at the office were more alert and we all got out of Lower Manhattan.
The subways were closed, as was the Brooklyn Bridge. Feeling trapped on the island, I remember the rest of the day in snippets:
Running to the East Village with a bunch of people from work.
Trying to get someone on the phone.
Finally getting through to my grandmother, who said “These things happen.”
Meeting friends of friends in the West Village and having lunch together at a restaurant that had stayed openn to preserve some feeling of normalcy.
Finally walking home over the Manhattan Bridge with a group of people I’d never met before.
Walking around Carroll Gardens at night with friends, surrounded by charred paper and smoke.
Somehow getting to sleep.