Archive for the ‘World Trade Center’ tag
I get irritable at the end of the summer. It wasn’t always that way. I liked the fall, liked the transition to the new season, a shot at a fresh start whether academically or at work. September always seemed like a clean slate. Now I dislike it, in no small part because of the insistent cultural pounding that always starts toward the end of August around Sept. 11. The image pictured is pretty much what I saw that day, and it seared itself into my brain as I stepped out of the subway tunnel at the 22nd St. and Park Ave. and walked west toward the Flatiron building.
This is the time of the year where people ask me “where were you when it happened?” I was underground.? I didn’t actually see the planes hit, but I saw the buildings fall. I stopped to vote. The primary election for mayor was on that day, and I stopped as I left home, first thinking I wouldn’t bother, as everyone knew that Bloomberg was going to win in the general election. Then I remembered how much I really disliked Mark Greene and figured I’d go to the trouble of voting for Alan Hevesi, not that Hevesi stood the slightest chance of winning or anything, but it seemed important at the time. If I hadn’t stopped to do that, I’d have seen the whole thing, not that I would have wanted to.
I remember the subway ride was uncharacteristically slow, but nothing else about it. I wasn’t terribly eager to get to the office, and it was an incredibly beautiful day, the kind of day that makes you depressed that you have to be cooped up inside doing things that seem important but really aren’t.
So I got out of the subway and walked west, crossed Broadway and noticed something I can only really describe as a buzz around me. I didn’t hear anything that told me something was wrong, but it was just a sense of something out of place, of people agitated for some reason, but I couldn’t place it and from where I was, couldn’t see anything amiss. The first clue was people looking at their wireless phones, that look that says “I’m trying to make a call but can’t get through, let me look and see how my signal is.” Two or three guys were doing this, and as I pressed on in the along the south side the Flatiron building a woman, walking east who seemed to know the guys walking near me, said “This is just insane.”
At this point my pager went off. I reached down to grab it and looked south, at 22nd Street and Broadway. I don’t remember which came first: Did I read the pager, or did I see the holes in the towers? The message was a news alert from CNN that arrived at 9:12 AM. It read: “World trade center damaged; unconfirmed reports say a plane has crashed into tower. Details to come.” I could clearly see that there were two holes, one in each tower, and couldn’t figure out why two holes would be caused by one plane. Of course by this point the second plane had already crashed into the towers ten minutes prior. CNN got around to “alerting” me to this fact by 9:22, by which time I was already in my office.
From that location I was one of several who watched the towers come down from Jim Spanfeller’s office. Someone hadn’t paid the office satellite TV bill, so I and my colleagues couldn’t watch TV news like the rest of the world. We didn’t really need it.
That’s the gist of my Sept. 11 story. I’m not terribly interested in observing with the rest of you the fifth anniversary of what was for me a profoundly unpleasant day. Images of it on TV make me feel shaky and agitated. Seeing the trailer for that Oliver Stone movie made me mad, but I was glad to see no line outside the Zeigfeld theater where it is playing.
I want to get over it. It’s the rest of the country that insists on dredging up old video tape and pictures and survivors tales and permeating the media with it all. I don’t want to weep and shed tears while watching stupid and TV documentaries. I’d like to forget it, and frankly I wish those of you who insist on partaking in this cultural weep-fest, buying special anniversary editions of magazines and watching TV documentary specials about it all would find something with which else to entertain yourselves. I have a better idea: I you want to properly remember the World Trade Center towers go rent “The Cruise”. I found a clip from that neglected 1998 documentary on Youtube, and it appears below.