TBD on Ning


 I work on the tidal inlet on the west side of staten Island across the Goethels Bridge. Everything into the city is a bridge or tunnel. here We are under the traffic pattern for Newark and Kennedy airports the sky is always full of aircraft. It was after 9 AM and it was a beautiful day here. then someone walked in and said a plane just hit the WTC. Manhattan is just northeast of us. we kept doing business a little bit then another plane hit and that was it. They started shutting down the traffic then. we got on the radios and computers to try and get news but it was too slow and nobody knew what was going on. Somebody had an idea to hook up one of the training monitors to a piece of wire so we could get some TV. the only station we could getr was the spanish language station over in Perth Amboy and the picture was snowy....but there it was: the crashes shown over and over....and the spanish language annoubncers and reporters talking fast and excited...Then the whole industrial park started grinding to a halt outside. Business started drying up inside a half hour. My customers were calling ...not to order anything ...but to ask what the hell was happening since  we were so close to the city.. I have a customer in Rockville MD who started filling us in about the pentagon. We started wondering how big this is.....we could stand outside and could see some of the smoke out over the city..By 11:00 People started wanting to go home. Just about everyone here has friends or relatives that live or work in the City. The bridges and tunnels closed. Out over  the major highways we saw military helicopters. One...then another going up and down US Hwy 1 then along 287. Traffic stopped over the ten lane Raritan bridge carrying the Garden State parkway north...the feeder for the NJ turnpike (the same scenes that appear at the beginning of 'the Sopranos'...thats the NJ turnpike) which we can see a mile away. ALL traffic to the city stopped. the toll booths shut down and anyplace there was an emergency turnaround going the other way, people took it.
 I had called home a bunch of times and got through early but later. there werent any phones working. Instant messenger and emails were going back and forth. I heard from my daughter by email. She was on the 15th floor in a bldg downtown in Philly....she was super upset. and high above ground in a building. The boss comes out at that point and says everybody can go if they want. we'll call you tomorrow. But traffic out front is bumper to bumper so some of us sit tight instead of getting into it. I call home again...all circuits busy. Sandy doesnt use a computer. she's on the road and her cell isnt answering. The air traffic suddenly ends. The only thing in the sky is military at that point. No commuter helicopters, no privat planes  no airliners where there used to be one evey 20 seconds ioverhead. Its very quiet. The delivery guys are trailing in with their trucks and half loads telling traffic stories. California...our HQ's is emailing from different people in finance and IT and sales ...with personal quiries about whats happening cause the phones are down and is everybody OK... No more trains into the city. All harbor traffic is stopped no ferries . then we hear about people just walking out of NYC...on the bridges Brooklyn bridge , Throggs Neck, Williamsburg bridge 59th Street leaving to get to Brooklyn and Queens at least. cause the tunnels and the GW and the Verazzano Narrows are shut.. People who live in Jersey and PA ...just walking anyway they can out even if its the wrong way home. ...By the time I get in my car traffic is still  bad leaving the industrial park but I got to go. Look in the sky...Nothing but seagulls...really weird cause usually you can see thirty planes in the sky at once where we are at. The radio is full of conflicting information. I dont see any police anywhere...they're all staged at emergency locations. traffic crawls onto the 287 West . nothing is going east. All roads all ramps are closed . big huge lit-up signs going the other way set up by emerg personnel  say: ALL traffic to NY CLOSED....the radio...all channels...everything is really mixed up then its becoming clear what happened and who did this...very...very pissed off self ...and I want to get home and gather my family together.
    Our next door nieghbor. Her daughter and son-in-law work in the city. $$$ one is a banker ....Brett worked in the South Tower on the 20th floor or something. When the plane hit they heard it but the building was standing. There were some emergency announcements. They were all to sit tight. Police and fire were on the way. Someone in his office said to leave so they did. No elevators so they used the steps and when they got to the ground floor ...security gates put up when terrorists tried to do this before were closed and locked and they were told to go back and wait!....so they did...(The south tower stood longest I think )...him and some of the guys there said. screw this we are out of here....because they were all on their cell phones home the whole time. No land lines out of the city cause of phone traffic...and their loved ones are asking them cant they see what was happening to their own building???. They ran back down the steps and found the security gates OPEN !  He walked for blocks before the North tower collapsed then walked and walked. he found a place to stay in Brooklyn and finally got home to Jersey 2 days later. He said Starbucks wouldnt give him water.
    I've been to the site a couple times. Early, right after it happened...there were still posters and boards and walls of missing posters everywhere from people who held out hope that their loved ones would be found alive. " have you seen this person , have you see that person.... with pictures of people who went to work and never came home. It was the saddest thing you could possible imagine. row after row of home-made signs and pictures put up by husbands and wives and children and parents on fences and walls and posts. I walked from the Village to the battery that weekend. What you dont hear about : are the engine companies. Because all the way down Brooadway and Trinity Street and Church street those fire companies lost men.  Some of them as mny as the whole shift that was on duty and responded....and you would pass each one as you walked from the village towards where the WTC once stood. On the doors and windows were pictures posted of the men each company lost..... their names and pictures. Some wih notes from their wives and children.... and on the ground and sidewalk in front of each fire engine company were flowers left by people, notes from friends and family ...it is the saddest thing you could ever imagine. There is a church across the street from WTC called St Marks i think . The wrought Iron fence still has memorials taped to it. If you go to Grand Central Station or the Intrepid they have taken many of these search posters and memorial intacts and have them on display just as they were. If ever anyone has an opportunity...this hallowed ground is a place that should be visited.
    If I look across the bay from Atlantic highlands I can see Manhattan. the twin towers are no longer there. Sandy hook where I go surfing...you can walk north until the beach curves in towards the city and see the distant view of Coney Island, the verrazano and beyond it manhattan  and under the bridge the statue of liberty. The City is like...very dear to me. I dont party there . I dont work there..yet i feel like its mine somehow. Miles and miles to the West is Montclair NJ. Its where the hudson basin slopes up to meet the headlands of new jersey and you can see the city from there: uptown all the way to downtown  as clearly as you can from the south in Sandy Hook. There is a place on the hills behind Montclair called eagle rock and Highland pavillion. The view of the city from there is magnificent night or day. The people of Montclair and Upper Montclair put up a memorial at the lookout which is a long wall of panels in bronze with the names of the two thousand nine hundred ninty six people who were lost at the World Trade Center. Above it is a bronze eagle winging upwards and away. Down in the valley where Montclair lies are the train station platforms where so many of its husbands and wives got on the trains for the City Sep 11, 2001 and never came home again. Montclair, being an upscale community where so many of its citizens worked in the city and the WTC lost hundreds of people. You stand there. read the names look out at this beautiful city, pick out the spot where the towers once stood....and you want to weep.

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I did this oil pastel shortly after 9-11.




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