Until September 11th, I lived at 75 West Street, three blocks due South of the World Trade Center. When the first plane hit the North Tower I was lying in my bed. I heard a loud crash, like a very large auto accident or a street demolition crew. It was a nuisance, but not worth getting out of bed to investigate. Fifteen minutes later, the second plane crashed into the nearby South Tower and the noise was so loud that I had to get up and see what was happening. I turned on the TV to see if there was anything about it on a local station and saw the live national coverage of the fires in both towers and learned, to my astonishment, that they were caused by passenger airplanes.
I showered - didn’t want to go outside, even to see a disaster, with “pillow hair” - dressed and went downstairs to stand on Washington St. and look up at the burning buildings. I was amazed by the scale of the disaster, but not the least bit fearful. I behaved like a curious teenage bystander at the scene of a terrible train accident. Smoke poured from the gaping holes in the towers and dozens of local firemen and policemen ran toward the towers as civilians rushed away. Neighbors gathered on the street and repeated phrases like “Oh my God” and “Holy shit”.