I was asleep when the first plane hit the North Tower. The boom must have woken me up as I remember looking at my alarm clock and thinking "8:46, why am I awake?" I was unemployed at the time (got laid off from Vindigo in June). Since I was awake, I got up, turned on my laptop, and went to get some orange juice (unemployed morning ritual). When I came back my screen was covered in IM windows asking me if I had seen what happened or knew what was going on. Someone wrote that the WTC was bombed.
I was living in the West Village in that apt with big terrace out back and a ladder that went to the roof. My apt was probably about a mile from the Twin Towers. After reading those IM messages, I went out onto the terrace and saw the North Tower on fire. The hole in the building was enormous.
I still didn't know what had happened. I went inside, turned on CNN and watched as they were starting to pieces things together. I was watching CNN's coverage as the second plane hit the South Tower. It was probably the loudest sound I've ever heard. Our TV was about five steps from the terrace - when I stepped outside I could still see the explosion happening.
I spent most of morning running back and forth from my bedroom (laptop), to living room (tv) to the roof. The few friends I had who were still employed had no idea what was happening - most of the news websites were too slow to use and no one had TVs at work. I was posting photos online and trying to recap what CNN was reporting via IM. Cell phones and landlines didn't work - everything was a fast busy signal. I had to IM MF (who was in DC) and ask him to call my parents to tell them I was at home and okay.
There was about a half hour between when the second plane crashed and when the first tower fell. I was on the roof most of the time, watching though these binoculars I stole from my dad. I could see things falling from the building (which we later learned were people jumping). Inside on CNN, they had just figured out that the planes had left from Boston on cross-country routes, which is when I remembered my dad casually mentioning something during our Sunday Night Phone Call about flying from Boston -> SF for work. That felt pretty shitty.
I was inside and watching on TV when the South Tower collapsed. In the two seconds it took to run from the TV to the terrace, there was already so much dust in the air (not near me, but downtown) that you couldn't see either tower. I went to the roof. When the dust cleared you could see that there was only one tower standing. I never expected the tower to fall (did anyone?). I can remember standing on the roof just a few minutes before thinking things like, "How do they even fix a hole like that? Does scaffolding go that high? What's it going to look like when the sun sets behind it?" I was watching from the roof as the North Tower collapsed about 30 mins later.
The rest of the day is kind of a blur. We tried volunteering places (St. Vincent's, the Armory) but got turned away. I found out (via IM) that my dad was fine as he flew out on Monday (not Tuesday). We got a bunch of our friends together and went out to dinner. I eventually moved out of the city for the winter, returning six months later to go to NYU. I was fourtinate enough not to have personally known any of the victims, though we all have friends-of-friends who were affected.
Not really a teendrama-esque post, but I watched that documentary by the two French brothers last night on CBS - maybe the first 9/11 recap I've allowed myself to watch (Fahrenheit 9/11 doens't count) which is what motivated me to write this up.
You can also see my pics and recap from 2001.