Ten years ago I watched the towers fall from my office on East 43rd Street. I had gotten to work a little early that morning and walked into the elevator with our Style Director. He told me someone had just flown a plane into one of the twin towers.
I remember how normal everything felt up until that moment. My typical morning subway ride, my short walk across Bryant Park into our building. And then suddenly everything was different.
We headed to an office we knew had a television. By the time we got upstairs the second tower had been hit. Our offices were on the 24th Floor and faced south, so we could see the Empire State Building out the window, and behind it, the twin towers. I remember looking at the television screen and seeing the smoke billowing out of the towers, and then looking out the window and seeing it in real life. It looked fake, like I was watching a movie.
I went to my desk to try and call my mom in California, I knew she would be worried even though I was more than 50 blocks away. While we were talking, I watched the first tower crumble and fall. I said "Mom, the tower... it's gone." And she said "No, no.. I'm watching the news right now and it's standing." "No mom, it's gone."
A co-worker and I climbed over my desk and opened the window so we could get onto the balcony that ran along our floor. She was crying. She kept asking, "My friend works on the 48th floor. Do you think he got out?" I remember trying to do the math in my head, the towers were 100 or so stories high, and I was thinking of how many people were on each floor, and how there was no way everyone could have gotten out before the collapse.
We were standing there watching the smoke when the second tower fell.
I was worried about my boyfriend, who worked ten blocks north of the towers. Cell phone service was spotty and I finally got in touch with him.. he was safe and walking north. We decided to meet at my old apartment in Hell's Kitchen where my roommate still lived, since there was no way to get to my new apartment in Brooklyn. I was finally able to get home near midnight, once a few of the subways lines were up and running. The streets were covered in ash and debris from the buildings.
I had been living in the city for over three years, but I became a New Yorker that day.
Three months later my boyfriend and I got engaged down by the water's edge in Brooklyn, staring at the skyline that was now forever different. A few years ago we left New York for California, with our two children in tow. This morning I watched my baby girl take some of her very first steps, and I thought about how much has changed in ten years.
I posted this photo back in 2008, when my blog was only a few weeks old and had about 15 readers (most of which were related to me). I hope you don't mind me showing it again, this was the view from my office window. You can see the twin towers standing behind the Empire State Building.