Friday 9 September 2011

Ten Years Ago Today...

... just after 17:30 EDT one Sunday evening while on holiday in New York my husband and I visited the Observatories in the World Trade Centre.

We wandered around admiring the fantastic views, we had a shot on the hellicopter simulation flight, I left our Rough Guide to New York book behind by mistake.

Little did we know that within the next 48 hours the twin towers would cease to exist.

We didn't see the planes hit the towers, we were eating breakfast in a diner near our hotel (which was on 56th street, a few blocks south of central park so well away from the financial district) . But everyone was talking about it though nobody really knew what was happening. Was it just a little plane, was it a passenger jet, was there a second one, how badly were the towers hit, nobody thought at that point that they would collapse. On leaving the diner we paused with others at a shop window full of television sets to try and figure out what was happening, we then returned to the hotel and watched it on tv just like so many others around the world.

That afternoon we walked up to central park, many people congregated there, transport in and out of Manhattan had stopped, fighter planes flew overhead.

The next few days were rather eerie. The air was filled with dust and smoke from the towers. There were almost no traffic and it was possible to wander down the middle of the streets. A lot of places were shut, we spent a lot of time visiting Central Park or walking the streets though it was recomended everybody stayed north of 14th St which did limit where we could go. We were able to visit Gramercy Park which is not normally open to the public (only people living around the park who pay an annual fee have a key), but they kindly opened it just after Sept 11, as a lot of peole just wanted somewhere quiet to go and sit. For the same reason Strawberry Fields in Central Park was very popular with people.

We were glad to be able to leave. One evening there was a bomb scare at the Empire Sate Building and people were evacuated from several blocks around - I packed my bags that night, just incase. A few days later we were able to take a train to Boston to carry on with the next section of our trip (all flights having been cancelled).

We were lucky. We ourselves were fine (fortunately we'd been too lazy to get up early to go and visit the Statue Of Liberty as had been our plan), nor did we know anybody directly affected. Much, though, has changed in the world in the ten years since it happened.


Stocki said...

How amazing to be able to tell that story....I am so glad that you are here to tell the tale! It is strange how much significance 2 little tickets can hold... just looking at them makes me sad. All around the world people will be thinking of those lost, and those left behind this weekend x

Mereknits said...

What an amazing post, so much to think about. You were very lucky to have made your trip to the towers a few days earlier. It is so good to remember, I think after 10 years we have a false sense of security.
Have a great weekend,

topchelseagirl said...

I visited the World Trade Centre Observatories in December 1996 and have been back to NYC twice since 9/11. To have been up there only 2 days before though and to have still been in Manhatten during those terrible events must've been very surreal.

June said...

Never been to America but would love to go to New York one day. Your story shows how fragile life is - one minute here the next potentially not. I remember being at home with Our Daughter that day, she was 8 months old and I had the TV on just by way of background - watching the scenes unfold was sheer horror.

Lynne said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm glad you were lucky, and can be here to tell it. What a vacation memory that must be! We will all be thinking of it this weekend.

Jackie said...

How amazing to be able to tell such a poignant story. Most of us can remember where we were that dreadful day when the towers were hit and can only imagine how it must have felt to be caught up in the actual aftermath. Those 2 tickets must evoke some powerful memories for you. Thanks for sharing in this post :O)x

driftwood said...

what a memory to have of such a world changing event. x

Helsie said...

An amazing story to share.
Guess you think back and count your blessings every time. It must have been frightening to be so far from home at such a time.
The world has changed a lot since then. Any type of religious extremism is awful and that day did not do anything for the image of Islam and its followers.

Mrs. Micawber said...

On our side of the pond, feelings are very mixed about the upcoming weekend. Some are eager to pay tribute to the innocent fallen; some would prefer to look forward, not back, and move on once and for all.

For me, that day of horror stands as a wall between life as it used to be and life as it now is. So many things have changed - our thoughts, our sense of security, the things we fear, the way we travel, the way we look at others.

So glad you and your husband were spared. What a chilling memory for you. I hope you were able to bring home some pleasant memories as well.

Diane said...

What a strange feeling this must give you. I can't imagine what it must have felt like to be in the middle of it all. xx

Hazel said...

I had a colleague I used to work with that was also there at the time it happened. So sad. Yes, I was a teacher but a secondary school one. I used to teach up to GCSE level. It will be a bit different going to primary school. I taught English although you'd never know it by the amount of typos and errors I make! x

Simone said...

How awful to be there in the thick of it. I watched it on the news as it was happening, in disbelief as the second plane struck the tower. It was almost like the end of the World. Thanks for sharing your story. x

periwinkle said...

Wow,,,,, a friend of mine was working very close to the towers when the plane hit and some of his memories are , well they just are if you know what I mean ... thank you for sharing x

Pomona said...

What a story to have to tell - I am glad that you were fortunate, but it must have been an unnerving place to be even though you were safe. It is so sad thinking of all those poor people, and makes me determined to count my blessings and not complain about insignificant things.

Pomona x

Krawuggl said...

Just some days ago my husband and I talked about the people, who were there for holidays or for a special appointment, while other people surely have been away there on exactly the day because of illness or any other case. It must be strange to have been there exactly at that day, no other date than that to visit New York and how glad and blessed you are for visiting the Observatory just 2 days before. It was amazing to read your story, your very personal story of those days, thank you very much for sharing it here. There is a big lack of english words in me to express my feeling, but your words touched my heart deeply.
With my best wishes,

Suzy's Vintage Attic said...

That must have had quite an impact on you both. I cannot begin to imagine how you must have felt. Having only recently been there. Whilst it happened I was on the phone to my solicitor trying to exchange contracts on a house move from Kent to Somerset. I watched in horror as I watched it live seeing the second plane go in to the 2nd tower. I will never forget that day. Those poor souls.
Isabelle x

rockinloubylou said...

What a thoughtful and moving post.


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