I can still see, hear, and smell NYC from that day. I was the affiliate manager at ClubMom, and I was excited that day, because we were relaunching the affiliate program (I guess I get excited easily).
There weren’t many people in the office, yet, and I heard about the first tower being hit when one of my co-workers sent an email to the whole company with an image of the WTC burning. I think he was on a list to get email alerts from CNN or something.
Anyhow, the first thing I thought was “what is wrong with this idiot that he created this fake picture and sent it to the company?”. Because it had to be fake. I’d just seen the World Trade Center about a half hour before as I walked across town from Penn Station.
Then I tried to go to CNN.com. It was down. Every news site I tried to visit was down. And I got an IM from a friend in Maryland asking if I was OK. I was confused and getting increasingly freaked out.
Somebody put on a TV and as people came into work, we were all locked on the footage. It was just this scene of shock in the office. After about an hour, when nobody had moved from in front of the TV, I decided I needed to get out of the city. I was the first one to leave the office that day.
When I got home, I posted a message to a discussion list of affiliate managers I’d started the year before. The list was a sort of support group for the bunch of us, as we tried to figure out what happened on 9/11 and the days after.
Here is my report to the list after making it home that day:
From: “Shawn Collins”
Date: Tue Sep 11, 2001 5:15 pm
Subject: Re: Are you OK?
The ClubMom crew is ok – our office is in midtown Manhattan. But since we’re close to the Empire State Building, I was a little freaked out that it might also be a target, and I left for home at 10:30 AM.
Just seconds after I left the office, I was walking down Fifth Avenue and people started screaming and crying – I looked up and the 2nd World Trade Center tower was collapsing before my eyes.
It was a real nightmare – people were hysterical and transportation was shut down. I was afraid I would not be able to leave the city – as I made it to the West Side, I saw people running uptown on the West Side Highway – many were covered in soot, some were bloody – a really horrible scene.
Fortunately, the ferries were running, and I was able to get across the Hudson River to NJ, where I took a bus to Giants Stadium, and then hitchhiked home.
My prayers go out to all who are affected by this (who isn’t?).
Video: My 9/11 Story