I took a couple of photos of the lights, tonight. You can see them on the left, in the album called IN MY EYES.
I live on a small street, where there are no streetlights, so I actually got a decent view of the lights, from way out here in Sheepshead Bay. I wanted to take it, not because the skyline is so stellar, but because it is so mundane.
Just like the outside world sees the photos of the lights with the Manhattan skyline as the backdrop, they regard the whole 9/11 thing as some sort of ‘event’, some sort of tourist thing, unreal, almost.
But for those people out in the boroughs, the homes, the suburbs, it’s still there, looming overhead, over everything, but everything is a bit more everyday. It’s integrated into the day to day lives of so many New Yorkers, but ones not nearly as glamorous as the ones profiled in the papers, if you could even call death and destruction glamorous.
It was rather strange, for me. I was pregnant with my son T, not hugely so, but enough so I was feeling the effects. I got my daughter on the school bus, and went back to bed, and my middle son, F, laid down for his morning nap. At some point I turned on the TV — nothing. It was because the towers fell, but I thought it was just my building’s antenna acting up again. I was used to it. Nothing was unusual.
My brother was in Florida, my parents, the Carribean. No one really to call me, and I had trouble with the phone anyways. My husband was at work, dealing with his own 9/11 problems.
So around lunchtime, I decided that we should try the TV again, and I got fuzz, again. I flipped channels, because sometimes only some channels would go out, and not others. It was then that I found stations that worked, and saw what happened.
I was shocked, numb — I used to work at Cantor Fitzgerald, and knew people who worked in the towers. I planned so much of my life there, shopped there, worked there, ate there. Two big huge gaping holes. Didn’t help either that my husband had that as a jobsite and although he often worked in the office, would sometimes go to sites to drop things off when needed.
I had so much trouble getting through to people on the phone, and wasn’t online at the time. I finally got through to my husband who stayed overnight in the Bronx where he worked, because he didn’t want to even attempt to come home. I was left alone with my babies, wondering what the hell kind of world we lived in.
I think the pregnancy shielded me from a lot. It didn’t kick in, or as hard, or something. Or maybe it is just so shocking that such a thing would happen.
I do know one thing — a short while later, they opened up the downtown Manhattan area, and I marched myself right down there to spend what I could. Went shopping, had lunch, walked around. I felt it was very important to go and show some sort of solidarity by helping the shopkeepers and business owners out, and that we weren’t afraid, that life goes on, that you can’t keep a New Yorker down.
And years later, I was quite proud that my husband got to work on a building that was hit that day, that he is a small part of putting this city back together.