NYC Stories


September 11th is my birthday.  I turned 36 this time.  For some reason I woke up before 9:00, although I’m usually up around 10, and I turned on WNYC 820a.m., as per usual.  Their radio station is located near the WTC, and the host couldn’t believe what he’d just seen: a plane crashing into WTC1.  confused and shocked, I phone a friend and leave a message.  Back to the radio.  And then the next plane.  The host is freaking out.  Others are telling him to evacuate.  He doesn’t want to.  I realize this is an attack.  I go up to my roof in Brooklyn.  Cannot cannot believe my eyes.  Back downstairs.  A friend singing Happy Birthday on my machine.  I pick up. She’s calling from New Haven.  I try to explain.  She says, “Oh no,” but then asks how things are going.  She doesn’t understand.  I have to get off the phone.  And then the collapse.  I’m losing it.  I go to a friend’s house; her daughter is 2, and I realize immediately I must stay calm in front of her, although I’ve just been crying.

Later in the afternoon, I’m walking through Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, with a towel over my face.  A drunk white man in front of a bar is screaming at the Pakistani owners of a minimart across the street: “Close your fucking store.  Get out of our country.”  Another man holds him back.  A police officer stands in front of the minimart.  I go to buy something at the minimart but they have just closed.

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