“New Yorkers persevere.” A personal remembrance of 9/11 in NYC, 10 years later, inspired by killing of Osama bin Laden.
It was 10 years ago, nearly, now.
I was having sex when the towers came down. Having just been laid off from my job on the 72nd floor of Building 2, I had some extra time on my hands. Afterwards, as my boyfriend hit the shower, I set out to grab us some coffee.
Immediately I was struck by how many people were standing around. I chalked it up to some high-rise fire alarm going off. As I walked toward 71 Irving Coffee Shop, I grew more perplexed. Everywhere I looked people stood motionless, fully entranced in something.
The coffee shop was packed and as I moved in closer I heard a radio blaring, a man talking in a voice not unlike Orson Welles in “War of The Worlds.” I tapped the shoulder of the woman in front of me and casually said, “Hey what’s going on?” She spun on her heel and said,
“Haven’t you heard? We’ve been attacked. The World Trade Centers are gone!”
I remember running home to Dave, my legs rubbery like they get when you are running in a dream. He had just gotten out of the shower when I delivered the news. We spent the next eight hours glued to the TV watching incredulously, repeatedly, the planes flying into the towers, people frantically running through the street trying to outpace the maelstrom of dust and debris.
Later that night we congregated with hundreds of others in Union Square. Someone handed me a candle and we joined the chorus of people singing the cannon of patriotic songs.
The air began to smell of carbon.
I did not want to leave Dave’s side but I had to get back to my sometimes roommate, an 86-year old woman with advanced Alzheimer’s. As I walked from 19th and 2nd to 85th and Amsterdam, I cut through Times Square and had a total “Vanilla Sky” moment. There was not a soul in sight and only in the distance, the faint sound of a bottle being dropped from high above.
The next day I was looking out my window and saw two mothers pushing strollers, facemasks tied to their babies’ heads.
New Yorkers persevere.
That day, I went to work at my roadhouse bar in TriBeCa where I was instructed to give the dust-laden firefighters free drinks and to not play any sad songs on the jukebox. My cell phone began blowing up with calls from my ex boss, my best friend, even my father whom I had not spoken to in ten years.
Each year on 9/11, I write to the (now) ex boyfriend to commemorate the events of that day. Some years he writes back. Regardless, it helps to just put it out into the ether. Then later in the evening I watch the “Falling Man,” kick back a bottle of wine and choke out a bucket of tears.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_BweWz2KM4
To this day, I haven’t been back to Ground Zero. I can’t face it. I feel the need to preserve my best memories: the daily lunch at Amish Market, the afternoon donut from Krispy Kreme, the cocktails at Windows on The World.
As a restaurant publicist it’s no surprise that my most vivid memories are tied to food.
This year I plan to go back to New York to take part in the ten-year anniversary. And even though I will still have to take off my shoes at the airport, I won’t mind as much knowing that Osama Bin Laden is dead and gone.
Kate is a boulder-based restaurant publicist, music critic and mother. She believes that she has the right to salt and pepper her own food, and she doesn’t care for bands who can’t understand the power of economy in song performance, and now realizes that a tango lesson + three mt. gay and tonics = one hell of a great kid. She’s happiest in the summer, riding shotgun with her feet up on the dash and her hand inside a bag of pork rinds. And yes, she knows what’s in them. Follow her at thesweetbird.blogspot.com.