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Posts Tagged ‘Lexington Avenue’

September 11, 2001,the day the world stopped turning, the day life changed as we knew it.  WHERE WERE YOU?   We remember where we were, who we were with and what we were doing on those days during our lives  that mark an unforgettable event.

September 11, 2001

September 11, 2001 (Photo credit: wallyg)

If you are a baby boomer like me, then you remember that infamous day, November 22, 1963.  I was in high school and an announcement came over the PA system informing us  that President Kennedy had been shot and school was dismissed so we could all go home and be with our families.

Our parents could probably tell us just where they were on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7th 1941 and VJ Day!  Life-altering events are etched in our minds and hearts.

July 21, 1969, “The Eagle Has Landed “-Neil Armstrong walks on the lunar surface. The United States has put a man on the moon.   I was at a lake in Connecticut with my   first husband.  We were visiting a friend of the family, it was a beautiful summer day and I remember the thrill of hearing that news!  Oh boy, it was great to be an American that day!

Some of us even remember where we were the day  John Lennon  was shot. December 8, 1980.  It wasn’t life-altering for me but it certainly was meaningful.

And that brings us to September 11, 2001 – This is my generation’s “A date which will live in infamy”.  Where were you that beautiful September Tuesday?  A day with the clearest of clear blue skies, all the better to see the planes as they careened into our Towers.  It was Primary Day in New York City, a day of  political aspirations and apparently also one of sinister aspirations. 

I was with my husband, Peter and we had just voted in the Primary and as we left the polling place, we stopped to greet one of the candidates standing outside.  As we stood with him, a man rushed up to him and asked if he had heard about the plane that crashed into Grand Central Terminal?  We looked at each other in bewilderment and remarked to each other how could a plane crash into the GCT considering it sits in the middle of some very tall buildings – a plane would have to drop out of the sky straight down.

We got as far as the corner of our street and just then a crosstown bus pulled up so I quickly kissed him goodbye and hopped on the bus to go to work.  I normally took the crosstown bus as far as Lexington Avenue where I would board the Number 6 subway train to 59th Street.  The bus hadn’t even gone one block when it was obvious something was wrong.  Many of the passengers were on cell phones and exclamations of “What?” were heard all around.  One woman was on the phone with her mother who was watching a special report on TV.  This woman began to repeat what she was being told. OMG!  I called Peter immediately and said put the TV on.  The bus got to Lexington Avenue and I decided not to get off.  What I had heard and the smoke that I could see as we reached Lexington Avenue, convinced me that going underground was not a good idea.

I got off at Fifth Avenue, chaos and confusion was rampant. Where were the buses?  My cell phone isn’t working – what should I do?  Should I go to the office and if so, how?  Should I go home?  Panic, terror and desperation brings strangers together and so I got in a cab with 2 other women who were heading south.  We were tense, we looked at our cab driver, he wasn’t an American…

The office was in the cold clutches of uncertainty, misinformation and frustration.  What the hell were we doing here?  The TV wouldn’t work, who had a radio? Even the computers were not giving us any much-needed information.  After less than 2 hours I announced I was going home and advised everyone else to do so.

I walked out onto Madison Avenue into a sea of moving humanity.  The streets were filled with people moving northward in around whatever vehicles were on the road clogged in total gridlock.  I found a pay phone and called home to say I was on my way on foot.  I stopped at a bodega with an ATM machine and to this day I don’t know what inspired me to do so but was so glad I did.  I had a premonition that everything was going to be frozen.  I wasn’t far from wrong as shortly thereafter, Manhattan went into virtual lockdown.  You couldn’t get on the island and you couldn’t really get out so easily.  We didn’t want to leave, we ended up glued to the television for the rest of the day and night.  We fielded calls from friends around the country who wanted to make sure we were safe.

My friend Gail didn’t want to be alone, so she came over.  Every television in the apartment was on tuned to different stations.  My cousin Christine wanted to be with us, so she came over. Nobody was leaving, we clung to each other while crying and wailing the same montra over and over again, “Oh my God”.  

Helen called me and suggested we walk to Lenox Hill Hospital and give blood.  So I left with her filed with good intentions only to be turned away – No blood needed – No survivors!

I went back home in shock.  My daughter was living on East 27th Street and she was ensconced safely in her apartment.  Her aunt and cousin joined her to spend the night.  There is such comfort in sharing with those you care about and love, whether it be some joyful news or some tragedy.

That’s how I spent September 11, 2001, I will never forget it.  Where were you?  Let us know.

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