New York Magazine

  9-11 in Photos
  WTC: 1973-2001
  Memorable Letters
  Exclusive Survey
  1 Year in Photos
    The Families' Fight
    4 Widows' Stories
    Giuliani's Year
    Awful Numbers
  Events & Tributes
    Sept. 11, 2002
    The Finalists: 9 Plans
    7 Eminent Architects
  Your WTC Proposals
  6 Initial Proposals
(1st of 5 pages of memories)

Getting the news about how many people died ... how they died
... seeing their families on TV crying and begging for anyone to contact them about their missing family members.

I'll never forget a 16-year old girl holding her father's picture up to a news camera crying and talking and wiping her tears, shaking, pleading for any news about her father. She kept saying his name "David. DAVID! His name is David." Knowing that 3000 families felt her desperation still gets me.

On the flip side, I was living in a neighborhood in Hudson County, NJ that is largely populated with immigrants typically displaying flags from their home land. Before the day was through, those flags were gone and there was not a building on my street that didn't have several American flags hanging from the windows. — Traci, New Jersey

The doctors and nurses, standing on the sidewalk in front of St. Vincent's, manning stretchers and sheet-covered office chairs. They were all looking south, for the wounded who would never come. Anonymous, Brooklyn

I live on Greenwich Street which ends at the foot of the WTC complex so I had a clear view straight down the street. From Charles St, where I was, you could clearly see the flames jumping up the sides of each building. I ran upstairs to get my telephoto lense and camera to take pictures.

The site of the flames and then the clouds of smoke and debris as each one collapsed are my most vivid visual memories.

The smell of the burning for the months to come whenever the wind blew northernly are the strongest sensual memories of that period. The smell would make me nauseous most of the time-a combination of the the actual smell and memory of the day and the good friend I lost. I think that the smell will have a longer lasting impression than anything else for me. I will never forget that disgusting, almost-sweet, buring scent. Jerry, Manhattan

The group I was with ran into a man that was there when Tower 1 collapsed. He was covered in dust, in a suit, in a daze. He lived in NJ and could not get home. He ended up coming back to our hotel and staying there for the night.

The second [vivid memory] was going to St. Patrick's Catheral in the afternoon and lighting a candle. From the outside of the church I could see the cloud. That's the first time I smelled the jet fuel. Erin, Manhattan

The look of terror and recognition on my assistant's face. She had lived in Israel. She got it instantly. THAT'S when I realized it...from seeing HER reaction. E.B., Manhattan

I am a nurse at St. Vincent's in NYC. I was working the day of the first attack, and I remember we treated hundreds of victims. This time I was one of the staff standing outside the ER on 7th ave. anticipating the same. We kept looking down the street for patients, but there were none. Anonymous, Metro New York

The sight of four people grabbing hands and jumping is something I will never forget. Kristina, Manhattan

Was in the subway station below the WTC when the first one hit, standing next to 7 WTC when the second hit. I kept e-mailing my friends in other cities on my Blackberry telling them a bomb had just gone off, to find out whatever they could from CNN or other websites.

When the second plane hit, there was what looked like a vapor trail coming from another building downtown. A lot of people around me thought it was some sort of missle, and that the attackers were still on Manhattan. Scariest part of the day was hearing that a 3rd plane was still in the air, then moments later hearing an F-16 (15?) scream across Manhattan as hundreds of people sprinted north, not really sure what we would do if that was an enemy plane. Moments later we figured out it was one of ours, cheered for a few seconds and watched as the plane climbed into the mid-day sky framed by the two burning towers. Anonymous, Manhattan

I remember the handsome, young man who was walking around dazed and confused. I asked him if he needed help. He said that he was supposed to be at work in the towers and that his boss gave him the day off because he had put in so much overtime. He said, 'All my friends are there.' He started to cry when I told him that I was so happy he was alive. Diana, Manhattan

Running to my apt to change from flip flops to tennis shoes, having an old woman collapse in my arms screaming 'this is the end', seeing the distant shadows of people jumping... Anonymous, Manhattan