ghosts of 911 – reflections and memories of September 11, 2001: A bystander in New York City’s view of the events on September 11, 2001.

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(as of Jan 12,2019 09:57:45 UTC – Details)

…My wife would tell me later of being on one of the last boats to leave Manhattan in the morning after her flight down thirty two flights of steps in the dark, electricity had failed in her building shortly after the second plane crash. The ferry was filled to capacity with passengers and was shoving off the dock when the first tower fell and the “black cloud” descended over everything. I could well imagine a scene out of Dante‚Äôs Inferno.

In the panic and confusion of things happening, people at the terminal and at the dock started to jump into the water as the boat was leaving. No doubt, this had been that same boat with so many life preservers scattered about. My wife could not give me any figure as to how many people jumped into the water and we never heard any follow up story on any of the Anglo speaking channels on TV that night. We did watch some of the Spanish speaking channels briefly. Their content was much more graphic and uncensored than mainstream media coverage. Like watching events earlier in the day at work on TV, a few minutes of gore and blood reality was more than I chose to view that night.

The ferry arrived on the other side. The bus that would take me home did not charge us refugees anything for the trip. The bus traveled up Victory Boulevard to where it crosses Forrest Avenue. This is a high spot along the waterfront toward Manhattan. From a distance the column of smoke from the former WTC looked so small. This was a spot where on some occasions, the water and optical illusion might bring the World Trade Towers close and up into your face with the illusion like a full moon much larger than life on the horizon than at any other time. Today it seemed good that everything looked so small and far away.

That night listening to TV, no images being allowed from downtown, we heard voices describe the collapse of number seven WTC and the possibility that the seventy story Liberty Plaza Building was in danger of collapse as well, which thank God, did not happen.

It was a dark world that night. No clarity or certainty coming from the magic box of TV that I had been watching for all my life. The ferryboats were suspended for the next three to four days. There were no phone calls from work as to what to do.

I did not go into work next day. The following day I managed to take two buses over to Brooklyn and make a connection on two subways that were operating outside of the war zone and got to work.

When the express bus was operating for the first time on Friday I did not opt to take it. I told the bus driver, not the regular guy, that I had changed my mind. I was too frightened to go through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel into Manhattan. Claustrophobia and extreme anxiety overtook me, perhaps delayed stress of sorts. I took the regular buses to Brooklyn and the subways instead that day.

On Monday I bit the bullet, I took the express bus and it snagged this way and that way along unfamiliar streets toward the FDR Drive, the quickest way out of the war zone after the Battery Tunnel. Electricity was only partially available downtown. The New York Stock Exchange was going to make it appearance that day having been shut down for four days the previous week. As the express bus took this street or that to connect to the FDR Drive, one could see the distant column of smoke still burning…