But my fear and sadness cannot be compared with what people saw with their own eyes, what they felt and experienced as they watched the events unfold in person on that day.
Our own SNARLing was one of those people. Here, as part of the Philofaxy All Stars Blogging Tour, she recalls what she saw that day:
|On the BQE (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway)|
it's getting close to that time of year again - sept. 11. this time it's been 10 years. TEN freaking years. man, that 10 years has gone by quick. 10 years ago, i was living in flatbush in brooklyn. i was working for a furniture manufacturing company in greenpoint so i was lucky i could drive to work and every once in awhile, i could even bring my dog with me. one of my best friends was still living in williamsburg so i got to hang out with her almost every day. life was cool, except of course that the relationship i was in at the time was falling apart. i was falling apart. big time. i'm not sure what it was about that particular relationship - maybe because it was the one i was in when i turned 30 - and he was older and 'seemingly' more put together. of course, he was also an alcoholic and had fallen off the wagon shortly before we got together. great backdrop for romance, wouldn't you think? but of course i was in love, and you know how stupid people can be sometimes when they are in love.
i was driving to work really worried about whatever silly little things i'd worry about on a daily basis at the time. mowgli, mostly. today i was leaving him with my friend laura in williamsburgh while i worked. she and her boyfriend had a fabrication business and she was gonna be working in their studio that day. i didn't even notice this on my way to work - that's how horribly internal i was at the time. i came into work and my boss said, "the world trade center's on fire". i thought he was joking. then he handed me the camera and said, "can you go outside and take some pictures?" wow. i saw the one tower on fire, took a bunch of pics (unfortunately, i don't have those) went inside and got my own camera, took a bunch and saw that now both towers were on fire (i missed the 2nd plane hitting THANK GOD i don't think i'd be able to handle having seen that in real life).
in case you're unfamiliar with brooklyn, greenpoint is the northern most part of it before you hit queens. it is along the river and almost directly east from 14th street in the city. williamsburgh was the up and coming hip place at the time (of course it was a complete dump still when i lived there). the williamsburgh bridge goes into lower manhattan into the old jewish ghettos - a little bit northeast from ground zero.
Click here to zoom in and out of the area.
far left marker is the world trade center; top is where i used to work, southern most point is where i used to live. ny is pretty dense, so to give you an idea, my work was only about 6.5 miles from my apartment; the wtc is only 3.5 miles away from my work. so these pics are facing southwest:
i went inside for a bit feeling guilty for not working since i was already late. none of us really knew the gravity of the whole thing - we didn't know it was because of planes crashing into them or anything really. we all just kept going in and out; in and out. i went in for a second and came back out and then there was just one tower standing. holy shit. went back in, came back out and then the 2nd tower was gone. thankfully i missed the most devastatingly horrible images of the buildings collapsing. we got sent home soon after since the phones weren't working and there really wasn't anything we could do work-wise. i was lucky since i drove to work, i wasn't stranded anywhere nor did i have to walk 3 hours to get home. i went to my friend laura's and we just listened to the radio. it was horrible. all of williamsburg was stunned. shaking their heads in disbelief. sitting around talking quietly or not talking at all, just sitting around together. people who were stranded in the towers were calling into the radio stations giving accounts of things from their perspective. i remember this one guy in particular - he was so calm about it too. i mean, new york is such an accepting what-can-you-do-sort-of-place but man, maybe this was sort of a more-desperate-this-is-it-for-real-situation. i hoped against all hope that this guy would be saved. laura wanted us to drive upstate to get away from the city but for some reason, i didn't want to go. i knew there'd be traffic up the butt, plus there was something eerily comforting to me about it all - the only words i could think of to describe the whole day were 'weird' and 'surreal'. in my head, i was already a basketcase, so these horrific things happening around me somehow didn't seem so 'off' - something that i was so ashamed of later. since i was in that so low, completely screwed up state of mind at the time, being surrounded by a whole borough, a whole city, a whole nation grieving totally comforted me. my loss was NOTHING compared to everyone else's (luckily anyone i knew who worked in or near there was safe) so it made me get over my own shit pretty damn quick. a couple of hours later, we were able to get reception from a tv station and then we saw it. we saw the planes. i couldn't believe it. trailer for a spielberg movie, right?
|BQE sept 22, 2001; 12.51p. still cloudy over there. you could still smell it. for MONTHS after even.|
the following year, i worked for distributed art publishers who put this book out:
the strength and perseverance of humanity not to mention the complexities of the love and the hate that can exist amongst it all is in a word - overwhelming.
A huge thank you to SNARLing for sharing her experiences on this very dark day.