Vanadia

NYC Stories

Robin Sentell

I wrote this a few days after 9/11

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What a harrowing day!  I arrived at the office at about 8:45AM.  My coworkers told me that a plane had hit the WTC.  I thought it was one of those pleasure planes and sat at my desk to get on with business. My coworkers wanted to go outside and take a look.

A few minutes passed when I felt the building shake and my insides felt like they were going to explode.  Then I heard a blast.  I honestly thought it was the first plane exploding.  It was the second plane hitting the WTC.

I stuck my head out the window and I could see debris flying all over the place.  Hundreds of people were running.  It looked like a 3rd world country.  My coworkers came back upstairs and told me that Human Resources wanted us to leave the building and go to a corporate office which is not as close to the WTC as the building I was in.  (but still very close.)

I went outside and hundreds of people were standing in the streets.  It was sunny and beautiful.  On Wall Street and Broadway, I could see the WTC’s clearly.  I could see the huge gaping holes in the towers, the smoke clouds billowing out.

At the corporate office, everyone was sitting in the board room watching the news on our triple plasma screens.  We were all horrified and in shock.  People were sitting there with their mouths open and some were crying.  I tried to call my loved ones but the phones were not working.  My cell was dead.

Then we felt a rumbling.  The WTC has collapsed!!! The fire department announced over the loud speaker to evacuate the building.  I am thinking, “but where shall we go?”  The subways are closed and there is pandamony in the streets.  We walk down the stairs only to get trapped in the stair case.  People are starting to panic.  Smoke is filling the halls.  Somehow, we managed to get our way out.

My co-workers, took a head count.  The guys decided we should walk to the seaport to get as far away from the WTC as possible.  We went out the back door.  We couldn’t see anything.  We didn’t know which direction was East, North, South or West.  We figured it out.  We walked to the Seaport through a cloud of dust and smoke.  We couldn’t see. We couldn’t breath. The guys took off their shirts so we had some fabric to cover our mouths. People were fainting in the streets from all the dust they were breathing in…..


My coworkers lived in Long Island and New Jersey.  They were utterly stranded. They left their wallets in the office.  They did not have keys for their house or money.  So, I said let’s just get off this island and worry about everything else later.

We saw people walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. We decided that even if it was a risk, it was safer than staying in the streets of Lower Manhattan while the WTC collapses around us.

When we got to the mouth of the bridge, the second tower collapsed. We felt it rumbling. We were afraid. We didn’t know if it was a bomb or what.  It looked like a tidle wave coming at us. We ran.  Eventually we got to Brooklyn.

The four of us hitch-hiked a ride to my house where we were able to calm down, contact loved ones, (when the phone lines were working) and regroup.  My husband was also safe and sound and he served to help us all.

Everyone has finally found someone to take them home and so now, I am alone and I have time to reflect on this.

The world will never be the same again.  I will never be the same again.

Robin Sentell

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