Every 9/11 the same question is asked on TV and radio. Where were you?
I was in my Brooklyn apartment. I went to vote in the primaries early before coming back home to fire up the laptop for another work day from home. It didn't take long for my partner to send me an instant message saying 'Turn on the TV'. He must have known I didn't turn it on so he sent another message in all caps, 'TURN ON THE TV'.
He didn't say what channel to turn to. He was in Voorhees and I figured he didn't know the NYC channels. I figured he wanted me to turn to CNN. Once I found it I saw a movie clip of the World Trade Center on fire. Moments later a plane slammed into the other tower. Then I realized what was really going on.
I watched the towers fall and instantly felt ill because I was heading to the Path Train at the Word Trade at 11:30 that morning. My sick joke is that I'm glad the terrorist came to work early that day.
It wasn't long before the rest of the day was filled with the sounds of sirens. All work was suspended and I knew it was a great time to dash to Flatbush Ave and stock up on food sensing that stores would soon be closed, maybe for a few days. I was right.
Around 6 that evening, the stench of burning metal filled the air. It reminded me of the smells that came out of Bethlehem Steel when I was a kid. Otherwise, it was business as usual in Brooklyn, just 5 miles from the disaster.
It was an entirely different mood in Manhattan when my curiosity took me there the next day. AK-47s were every where. Missing person posters where on all the walls. Dozens of small brass bands were walking the street playing patriotic songs. People were visiting the local fire stations where the surviving firefighters received gifts, hugs, and tears from passerby's. Seeing the smoldering smoke from the site for days following the event was eerie.
New York City was empty of people for the next few weeks since all business and tourism was halted. I took notes of all the restaurants that were full because the locals know where the good food is. Plenty of other restaurants were empty and were closing down by the day.
For a few weeks, everyone was friendly to one another. American flags, World Trade Center trinkets, and NYFD apparal were in huge demand.
That's where I was on 9/11.