10 years on…

by sam on 09/10/2011

I didn’t think it was going to hit me the way it did today. And today isn’t even the day. Tomorrow is the day. But this morning, I woke up and NPR was playing a variety of follow-ups and StoryCorps pieces from relatives and survivors, and I just completely broke down, by myself in my apartment, in wracking sobs.

But that was early in the morning. I pulled myself together for my day of running errands downtown, from getting my hair cut to buying shoes and doing all sorts of things that I end up doing when I have any reason to go visit my old neighborhood between Union Square and the Flatiron…

And as I was walking through the greenmarket, making my way up towards that same Flatiron building, I looked up and saw a giant billow of smoke going up to the sky. Only a few people seemed to notice it, but the screaming fire engines and cop cars and…smell…of burning air just about caused me to lose it again. Particularly when I realized that I was standing almost exactly in the same spot…on 20th and Broadway, that I was standing when the first plane hit the first tower 10 years ago tomorrow (back then I was walking down 20th from Broadway to Fifth, and saw the first tower on fire, not on TV but with my own naked eyes when I reached Fifth Avenue). I had such a sense of deja vu, and I realized almost an hour later, even though I had managed to get on with my day, that I was still visibly shaking.

And I say this as a person who, on that day, was safely several miles uptown from ground zero and didn’t lose a single person that I knew.

Tomorrow is going to be rough for a lot of people in this city, and I just hope that everyone gives people the space they need to get through the day.

I’ve seen a lot of people doing “where were you” pieces, but I wrote mine 5 years ago. I can’t say it better now than I did back then, so I’ll just link.

(oh, and the fire today? apparently just a transformer on the roof of a building)

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