Scenes From The Brooklyn Bridge

by

09/21/2001

brooklyn bridge boulevard and tillary st ny 11201

Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights

I was in the shower when our building shook! My wife yelled out and I ran out of the shower and saw that the second tower had been hit. It was then we knew that it was a terrorist hit. It was so difficult to fathom. I decided I wasn’t going to let a terrorist change my life and my habits and so before going to work I went to vote (it was primary day and a guy I knew from high school was running for city council).

I vote at a Public School in Brooklyn Heights and the scene there was surreal. They had evacuated all the kids to the basement where the voting machines were and they were explaining what had happened across the river and that everyone would be safe. As I got into the voting booth, the kids started singing Kumbaya.

I voted and then I was obsessed about getting to work. I decided (and this will show what an insane state of mind I was in) that the best way to get to work would be to walk on the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan. When I got on the Bridge it was crowded with scores of people walking towards me, away from Manhattan towards Brooklyn. They were the living dead. I was staring at the fires on the towers, trying to pick my way through when I heard a rumbling and then saw a terrible site: one of the towers was collapsing. It happened in slow-motion, like some Hollywood movie. Then someone screamed, “It’s the bridge!” and people started panicking and running.

Survival took over and I started running back towards Brooklyn. When we realized it wasn’t the bridge people slowed down. A heavy set black woman was crying in to two other women’s arms, yelling and sobbing, “My husband worked there, oh, my husband.” It was heartbreaking.

I realized two things then: first someone I know, a friend, acquaintance, family member of a friend, died, and I probably saw it. Then I thought about the towers themselves. I’ve lived in my building most of my life. I remember when they were built. It was amazing, you could see it being finished floor by floor.

I got home (my wife had taken our son to his second day of nursery school and was out) and received a call from my brother. There was something about talking to him, (he had seen the towers being built with me, it was a big deal in our childhood) that caused me to be overcome with grief. I just said, “It’s gone.”

When my wife got home I told her that I had been on the bridge, and she started crying, and I realized how crazy that had been, because in all of this I hadn’t thought about my safety.

Then I got another phone call from my brother in Los Angeles saying that his wife was going to the hospital to have labor induced.

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