Inside a Sears store on 9/11/2001

Originally published at: Inside a Sears store on 9/11/2001 | Boing Boing


Having watched this event from the opposite side of the Atlantic, I can’t imagine how traumatic it was for people in the city.


Watching people riveted while watching TV isn’t exactly riveting to watch.

Too bad they didn’t catch people watching when the second plane hit.


It was this way for me for both the attempted assassination on Reagan (at school) and the first space shuttle explosion (at work) when some television sets just happened to be nearby. Except for 9/11, when most students in my class at UF were unaware of the news until we got to school.


I left for classes when I had just heard that a plane had hit one of the towers.

Thought it would be one of these incidents of trivia

had to go through a Sears store to reach my bus stop, and during this whole time was incommunicado. So to my embarrassment I did have to ask passersby and invite them to exercise their most patronizing mannerisms.


I was at work, trying to get through to my mom who I knew would be going nuts; one of my cousins, an investment manager working in Building 5, was her favorite nephew. While trying to contact her and other relatives, everyone else in our department were watching the disaster on community monitors meant solely for observing launches. While that was going on, a particularly lazy “problem” tech entered the office, looking to make an investment in our relationship. He knew I was from NYC. “Is there anything I can do?” he said. I was in no mood and simply stared him down until he left. My cousin made it out, but coated (as many, many others were) in fine particulates. He walked back to New Jersey.


I… kind of don’t need to- it’s seared into my memories of that day. (I didn’t watch more then the first 30 seconds of the video; the memories started rising back up on me.)

As someone who was in town on business and who was staying in the hotel across from the Empire state building… yeah. pretty traumatic for everyone. I will say that New Yorkers are, for all the gruff and attitude they are famous for, a very resilient people. Me? Not so much.

I do know that I’m bad luck for NYC- the three times I’ve been there, bad things have happened to either the city, or the equipment I was sent to work on. The second time I was there, the equipment I was sent to work on ultimately suffered a critical failure; the third and final time was November of 2001 when the plane crashed in the Bronx.


I was in high school at the time these events occurred and because this was the era before everyone was always connected via smartphone there was just a slow build of rumor in the morning but eventually televisions were turned on and I distinctly remember sitting in my intro to CAD class watching the news about the attack. The TVs were all off by the next period however and we all went through the rest of the school day in ignorance. The first thing I did once I got home was turn the news back on.


How close can you get to Mar-A-Lago, and how long can you stay there?


i work on 5th avenue, midtown. the view at the very end of the avenue you could see the towers. my coworkers and i alternated between watching events unfold from the sidewalk to going back inside for updates on TV. traffic on the avenue was stopped. i was outside when the second tower went down. it was pretty horrifying, all right. later in the day i was one of the thousands of people who walked from midtown over the 59th street bridge to queens. it was almost silent, people all looking downriver toward the smoke, which took weeks to clear. i will never forget it.


Heh- the site I was working at prior to the NYC trip in 2001 was Tampa, FL. My luck doesn’t run like that, though.


I was at work, listening to NPR when the news cane across. It seemed like a crazy accident right up until the second plane hit. Then we all knew it was terrorism. It was my friend and colleague’s birthday, it was not happy one. :cry:

Another friend of mine came in on the last flight allowed to land on US soil later that day. He had no clue why his flight was suddenly being diverted to an airport the airline didn’t have a terminal at or why there was an F-15 sitting off each wing making sure they landed where they were told to. He called me shortly after landing to tell me about it, but still only had a vague notion of what happened. :frowning:


We lost our marvelous 7th/8th grade parochial school teacher-turned-fireman there. His loss effected so many – even far outside of the NYFD community.

(Much later, I had to suffer the delusions of the gal who I always went to for my haircuts. She just knew that Jews planted explosives in the towers. That was the last time I saw here. I wasn’t going to waste my time explaining to her about the number of Jews who were killed there, or of how a jet aircraft impact could bring a skyscraper down.)


It was a terrible thing to see with your own eyes (as I did from the Village when the second tower went down) and a worse thing to smell when the wind shifted (“that’s what war smells like”, someone who lived through WWII told me at the time when I described the scent of burning rubber and dust).

As much as that, I remember how quickly the people of the city rallied to help each-other on that and the following days. We all showed the world how we responded when arseholes attacked our city.


Having lived through it up close in NYC, I still have trouble keeping my composure when recalling those moments even 20+ years later.


More than just a few days; the panic lasted long enough that congress allocated all kinds of “anti-terrorism” funding that was ostensibly earmarked for protecting likely terrorism targets but predictably ended up going to fund law enforcement and security theater in places no self-respecting international terrorist organization would ever consider attacking.

I remember a darkly humorous Daily Show bit where they were interviewing people in small-town America who were convinced Al Qaida was going to blow up the local Wal-Mart or roller skating rink.


Same here. I get angry all over again when I watch the videos of the attack. My wife was a flight attendant at the time and knew one of the flight attendants who was on one of the planes. I had a friend from college who died in the south tower collapse. Being in NY, I’m sure you knew multiple people who died that day.


I know now that living in brooklyn I wasn’t actually in any danger that day (and I didn’t know anyone personally in the towers), but on that day we had no idea if ww3 was about to start. At first it was disbelief watching the smoking buildings (from across the river) and curiosity… but that quickly just turned to horror thinking of the people in the buildings. I think it was seeing the buildings start to collapse that really really shook me and the magnitude of it really floored me. it was scary. Phones weren’t working well. How would we escape the city if we had to? Obviously the immediate threat to NY didn’t spread but I couldn’t bear thinking about the people and families directly involved. In the weeks and months following, when I know some family outside the city who couldn’t stop watching the TV news or looking at pictures of the horrors of the day and cleanup that followed, I couldn’t look at the news. It was too real. To this day I still haven’t watched hardly any of that footage from the news or home video of it all happening and only visited the site long after it was completely cleaned up and the memorial was being built.


me too. it was early, West Coast time, but i’ll never forget Carl Kasell’s voice saying “…there are reports that a plane has crashed into the World Trade Center building in New York…” (or something along those lines). At the time, it never occurred to me that it was a commercial plane – i remember thinking it was a small propeller plane, or something. Then the second plane hit, and that’s when i woke up my husband and we turned on the TV.