September 17, 2001
Jenifer, Brooklyn

Hearing that subway service out of Brooklyn had been suspended due to a possible bomb threat at the World Trade Center, I turned on the radio, only to find that no stations were getting reception. Same thing with TV. Then, I walked outside and saw plumes of smoke trailing all the way from Manhattan into the skies over my neighborhood.

I headed to the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights. A couple hundred people had gathered, watching in shock as flames and giant smoke clouds shot out of gaping, jagged holes in both World Trade Center buildings. People were saying that the Pentagon had been destroyed, that the White House was on fire, that six cities across the U.S. were under attack. Some people were listening to radios trying to get the facts straight; most were wandering around in horror.

Twenty minutes later, the first tower crumbled. I heard myself saying 'Oh my God, oh my God,' over and over again. People were sobbing and shaking. Within seconds, the Manhattan skyline was unrecognizable, enveloped in smoke as thick as a nuclear mushroom cloud. Debris and dust were already blowing across the East River. As I walked home, there were so many particles flying around, it looked like it was snowing.