September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document

Email Text:To everyone who I have not yet spoken to, thank-you for your calls and
e-mails. I have lost my voice, so I am unable to call y'all back. I am
o.k. and a little shaken up, even after a couple of days.

unfortunately, i was right outside of the wtc when it happened. i was on a
subway with my girlfriend heading downtown when the planes hit the towers,
and had no idea what had happened. the subway operator broadcast over the
loudspeaker that the train was being re-routed due to police activity at one
of the downtown stations. we changed trains to get closer to her new
apartment which is on nassau street, which is 2 blocks from the wtc. when
we got out of the subway, we saw a bunch of people milling around and
thought that there was a bomb threat at one of the downtown government
buildings. then we looked up and saw that one of the wtc towers was on
fire. i didn't think much of it, since i was in la when the first
interstate tower caught fire and it looked the same. then as we continued
to walk south, we noticed that the other tower was on fire and wondered how
the fire had jumpted from one to the other. then we saw the gaping holes in
the sides of the buildings and were shocked. we figured that that they had
been bombed or hit by rockets or something like that. we continued to walk
south, while the police started to clear the area. at this time we were one
block from her apartment. the police wouldn't let us go any further, so we
started argueing with them that we lived only a block away. instead we
ducked down an alley that runs parallel to broadway, thinking that we
outwitted the police and continued on our way to her apartment. thats when
we heard a high pitched sound that started getting louder and closer, the
ground started to tremble and the noise became much deeper. we thought that
it was a rocket/scud missile and that we were being bombed. at this point
we still didn't know about the planes. it was very scary, people were
running everywhere, it was the worse panick situation that i have ever
experienced, far worse than earthquakes or the la riots. at this time we
looked behind us and saw a huge cloud of ash and smoke coming at us in 2
directions. we weren't sure whether we should run or duck and cover. so we
started to run, but the cloud was coming very fast and we didn't know what
had happened. if it was a bomb, where did it come from, where did it hit.
we continued to run up one street and could see the cloud in front of us and
so we turned a different direction and the cloud was both behind us and to
the side. then as we turned again, there was a patch of blue sky so we ran
towards it, hoping and thinking that it was towards the east river. we kept
running till we reached the brooklyn bridge. fortunately, we managed to
outrun the cloud but had no idea what had happened. we walked up the fdr
and occasionally looked back. you could only see one of the towers. as we
kept walking i turned around again and only saw a cloud of smoke. cell
phones weren't working and rumors were rampant. no one really knew what was
happening. we walked up the fdr to my office to use the bathrooms, phones
and watch the news. after that we walked to my girlfriends old apartment at
100 st and cpw, she hadn't fully moved out of it yet. it was basically an 8
mile walk to get home. when we finally turned on the news at 4:00pm and
watched the replay of the towers coming down, it dawned on us that the cloud
we outran was full of glass. if we had ducked and covered instead of
running, we could of been cut to shreds. wow! the next day, we went back
downtown, to survey the damage and get a couple of things from her
apartment. she has asthma, so we needed to get her respirator. we had a
very difficult time getting into the area, since my girlfriend is in the
process of moving downtown, she has no i.d. with that address on it. she
works in tribeca, so we managed to get past the first 2 checkpoints by
showing her business card and saying that it was a work/live loft. after
that we walked made it past a couple of other checkpoints by saying that we
were heading to the downtown hospital to get her a new inhaler, which was
true. once we reached the national guard checkpoint, they informed us that
this was a federal bio-hazard quarantine area and that no one was allowed to
go any further. since we needed to get to the hospital, the national guard
said that nypd may be able to escort us there. while we were speaking to
the nypd a convoy of construction equipment, bulldozers, steam shovels and
dump trucks drove past us, kicking up huge clouds of dust. even breathing
through filtering masks we started coughing, my girlfriend had an ashtma
attack and her inhaler was virtually empty. the nypd officer got his
personal car and drove us to the hospital. she was given an ashtma
treatment and is fine. from the hospital, we were escorted by national
guardsmen the last two blocks to her new apartment. the whole area is
covered with 3-4 inches of ash, windows are broken and rubble is everywhere.
all of the fire hydrants were open to try to keep the dust down. it felt
like a twilight zone episode, very surreal and unbelievable. when we were
downtown, we met a couple of people who live in the area and their building
has a roofdeck. we went up to the deck and could see right into the area
where the wtc use to be. we saw the corner of the north tower that is still
standing, very eery and 7 wtc completely flat and laying on its side across
the street. there were countless firemen and trucks spraying water all over
the place trying to get the fires under control. the smoke and dust was
very thick, you really needed the filtering masks. yesterday, i could only
take the subway to 42nd street, unfortunately with the office at 24th, it
wasn't close enough. i had finally had enough, instead of going to work i
called the gym and scheduled a massage. it made a huge difference and i
feel alot better. today i'm in the office, and it's not quite business as
usual, but there are a lot of people here. i hope that you are well and
that everyone you know in ny is accounted for.

Email Date:Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 10:39 AM

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Email From:Katersky, Andrew

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Email Subject:close call

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