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Sunday
Sep112011

9.11.

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.

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Reader Comments (13)

I also worked on 43rd (and Sixth Ave.) on that day... I remember walking to work, seeing people staring down Sixth and pointing up, but being a cool New Yorker, I thought they were watching some advertising publicity stunt and refused to turn around. When I got to my office building, coworkers were standing outside and looking down Sixth, so I turned and saw the tragic, unreal view of the burning first tower. As we watched, the second tower began to crumble. It was the most surreal thing; it couldn't really be happening, but it was. Everything changed that day.

09.11.2011 | Unregistered Commenter{gemmifer}

woah. it's crazy to hear the stories of those who were actually in nyc that day. thank you for sharing.

09.11.2011 | Unregistered Commenterbridget

i LOVE that polaroid... i can't imagine what you felt actually seeing them fall in live view. i woke up 3 hours behind with the rest of california ...and i'll never forget my feelings and thoughts after that!

xo.

09.11.2011 | Unregistered Commentertiffany.

xox love to you, thank you for sharing.

09.11.2011 | Unregistered Commentersharilyn

I appreciate your post very much. It was very hard to watch from the opposite coast, and I can't fathom what being there would have been like. Thank you for sharing your experience and the photo too.

09.11.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissaPete

We have been watching "9/11 Day That Changed the World" this weekend. I can't imagine have being so close to it. Thanks for taking the time to post this one. Always love your posts, but this just makes it a little more "real".

09.12.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRegina

I watched that special on the History Channel on Sunday, and was struck by all of the 1st hand accounts and videos.
Anna

09.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLasso the Moon

That's a lovely pic of the Empire State Bldg. My husband and i were living in Brooklyn at the time. I was working in Bklyn that morning when the planes hit. It was surreal watching the news on tv and looking out our windows to see it happening in real time. And the aftermath that lasted through the weeks, with the pictures people put up downtown... those memorials? Broke my heart over and over again.

09.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSadaf

This is just beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

09.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

This is beautiful. I work on 6th and 20th and I don't think there's a day, or at least a day in a week since, where I don't turn left to where they used to be. Thank you for this.

09.15.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCaitlin

i know this is a little late, seeing that 9/11 was a few weeks ago, but this was such a thoughtful post. thank you for sharing it. xo.

09.26.2011 | Unregistered Commenterdani kreeft

this post just gave me shivers. Beautifully written!

This is so similar to my story. Thanks for sharing.

09.30.2011 | Unregistered CommenterTravis S

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