9/11 Stories

Lara Lasner-Frater

My husband Jon and I left home later than usual (He works in Harlem, I work 7 blocks from WTC). We were delayed even further by voting problems. I usually take the R train to City Hall, but instead the express train was running on the local track. I decided to take that and transfer at Lexington Ave from the 6. At Lexington, I kissed Jon goodbye. Both the R and E trains weren’t running (By then the first plane had hit), and all I heard was an announcement that an incident at Fulton Street. I didn’t think anything of it and had a calm ride downtown.

As I came out of Brooklyn Bridge, a women asked me if the subways were running, I told her that they seemed to be. I got out of the subways and saw that every single Federal employee was out on the street. This included children from day care centers. People were talking about a bomb threat or something and I first I thought there was one at Federal Plaza, but then saw the thick black smoke and knew something had happened at WTC. I finally asked someone who told me that two planes had hit WTC. I was in shock. I worried about my co-workers who all come through WTC from NJ. I walked around and finally spotted one of my co-workers, Jackie. Jackie told me that she was coming out of the station after the first plane hit. She had to run from debris and she saw people falling to their deaths. Jackie was desperate to get home and I offered to walk her to the Jersey City Ferry that runs near Rockefeller Park. Walking down Duane Street, I got my first glimpsed of the burning towers on Hudson street. It was a sight I never want to see again. On Greenwich Street, we met another co-worker who was also heading to Jersey and would walk Jackie to the Ferry. I started to head uptown to get to my husband (No pay or cell phones were working). About three blocks up, I heard a loud sound and people crying out. I turned to see the Tower fall. I sat on the sidewalk to stop myself from passing out or throwing up.

I walked to 14th street, tried to get on two buses (one never came, the other never moved) when finally my husband got through on my cell phone. He said his job was locked down, but that I should still come there. He said that if they won’t let me up, I should call and he should come down. I told him to call my father. After he disconnected, I tried my cell phone, but it still wasn’t making outgoing calls.

About 45 minutes later, the bus had moved about 7 block and Jon called me again. They were sending everyone home. I told him that the bus I wasn’t going anywhere. We agreed to meet at the corner of Lexington and 60th Street. I got off the bus and headed up the 30 or so blocks to 60th Street. My husband was coming from 103 and 5th. Jon had not arrived when I got there, so I waited. My cell phone was able to only call his and he told me he was on the way. When he got there about 15 minutes later, I burst in tears and hugged him for a very long time. We headed to the 59th Street bridge. Halfway over the bridge, I looked the skyline of New York City and only saw black smoke coming from where the Twin Towers used to stand. I had never seen a New York without them.

Lara Lasner-Frater
Rego Park