That morning, a wonderful clear blue September morning, my husband was already at work at Chelsea Piers in downtown Manhattan....and I was woken up by the phone ringing. It was a co worker from the restaurant I was working at the time (Chat 'n Chew), that day I was taking her shift as a hostess.
I switched on the TV...and saw one of the World Trade Center towers on fire. Couldn't really wrap my brain around it, was just sitting there staring for a couple of minutes.
The reporters were speculating what was happening....helicopter..small plane.....terrorists??
And then....we see the 2nd tower get hit. Still today I get this knot in my stomach when I see those images....
Then we all understood what was going on!
Immediately I tried to get my husband on the phone....no luck. Then I called a friend of mine, whose husband worked close to the towers. She was , of course, frantic but luckily her husband had called and said he was ok...
Even though the phone lines were going crazy I got through to a friend of mine in Sweden. She had no idea of what was happening...we were talking when the first tower went down..
Tried to call my husband again...no luck!
At that time my husband and I were living in Spanish Harlem, some 120 blocks away from World Trade Center, but I wanted to reassure my family that I was fine...but I couldn't get through.
I didn't feel it was right to leave the apartment, what if my husband called or my family called....?
Hours later my husband comes home, he had gotten a ride from a co worker of his...all the subways and buses were shut down. He had seen the towers on fire and also when the went down. All we could do when he got home was just to be silent....and just be glad that we were home safe together! We turned off the TV and just were silent....and went to sleep late that night!
The next morning I went to work early in the morning. The mood in the subways were sombre...very silent. People were cautious and polite... very silent!
When I got to work I was the first one there...apart from the manager. And then the waiters started to trickle in........and we all had the same outburst of happiness to see eachother...and saying :"Oh I'm so glad you're alive!"...
Kind of absurd...but that's what it felt like!
We had never been so busy as we were that day, people were coming in left and right....standing in line for hours. "Chat 'n Chew" is known for its "comfortfood"....and that day if any day that's what they needed.
But as in the subway the mood was very sombre...people were crying and eating macaroni and cheese!
I'll never forget the smell that had completely covered downtown....it was a metallic burnt kind of smell.....it lingered for a couple of weeks.
There were memorial services everywhere, signs and notes posted everywhere speaking of sadness and hate towards whoever did this.
But what I remember the most are the pictures handed out by people looking for a loved one.....or the doctors and nurses waiting outside hospitals ...waiting for people from the towers....but they never came!