Monday, September 11, 2006

The World Trade Center as I knew it

Here’s my 9/11/2005 post.
This year, I want to do something different. Since I live in New York City, and, especially, since my sister lived almost literally across the street from it at the time of the terror attacks of 9/11/2001, the World Trade Center was not just a city landmark to me. So here are some of my other memories, culled from notes made within months of the attacks.
Travel directions to my sister’s apartment via subway train, as of September 10, 2001:
Take the E, A, or to C Chambers St./World Trade Center, or the 1, 9 [no longer extant] or R to Cortland St. Since the Trade Center is the last stop, just follow the crowds out the main doors, which empty directly into the World Trade Center Concourse (the underground shopping area). You can stop off and pick up a paper at the newsstand directly to your left just as you leave the E train platform. (There’s at least one other newsstand in the concourse.) If you’d like to get a little something for my sister, try the Lechters housewares store or the Borders Books and Music store [one of our son's favorites] just a few steps forward on your right. I recommend that you make the first left after those stores. This will take you around the PATH (Port Authority Trans Hudson commuter train) “plaza” where the escalators discharge bazillions of commuters from New Jersey every morning. It can get pretty hectic if you’re caught in the crowds during rush hour. Follow the signs that say “World Financial Center.” Before you get to the revolving doors, you can stop off at the Citibank on your left and pick up some cash from the ATMs. Walk through the revolving doors and past the elevators (on your left) leading to the Observation Deck and the offices in the tower—I can never remember whether that’s 1 or 2 World Trade Center, even though I’ve temped in both buildings. Make a right through the open “doorway,” and take the escalator (or elevator, if you’re in a wheelchair or have a kid in a stroller) up to the walkway. This enclosed pedestrian overpass, at least twice as wide as my livingroom, takes you over West Street, and constitutes what’s probably the most heavily used entrance to the World Financial Center. There’s an elevator on your left, but, if you can handle the stairs, it’s a nice walk with a fine view. Overhead is an arched glass ceiling, and straight ahead a wall of glass, about 4 stories high, enclosing the Winter Garden. This so-called garden consists entirely of about 8 palm trees—a dumb idea, if you ask me—at the bottom of several flights of beautiful rounded stone stairs (which are a prime wedding-photo spot). If the weather is nice, go out the nearest door and down the Financial Center Plaza steps to the Hudson River. There’s a fence trimmed with brass letters quoting the American poet Walt Whitman, followed immediately by the boat basin. When you’re finished ogling all the yachts that you can’t afford to buy, make a left back up the stairs and go through the garden. Make a right after you leave the garden gate. My sister lives in the first apartment complex to your right. Built even before the World Financial Center, it’s the oldest residential complex in Battery Park City, and the one closest to the World Trade Center.

[My sister was standing with the crowds at the boat basin, watching the tragedy unfold, when the first tower collapsed. She literally ran for her life, and ended up being evacuated by construction barge to New Jersey across the Hudson River. It was roughly midnight before she was able to call and tell me that she was still alive.]

Further notes:
According to my “Interviews in 2000” file, I was interviewed on 7/7/2000 for a possible temp-to-perm job as an administrative assistant for the Port Authority at One World Trade Center, 88th floor South. Thank goodness I didn’t get the job. I wonder whether the 2 women who interviewed me are okay.
My Temp. Agency work records show that I worked for Aon Risk Services, 2 World Trade Center, 105th floor, Mon., 6/19-Fri., 6/23/2000 and Wed., 1/3/2001. Here’s a note from my file:
When working in WTC, always get there early—you will need to be checked in by security every day! [How’s that for a bitter irony?] When working/AON, get on the special AON line/security check-in.
When I worked at Aon in January 2001, I ran into my supervisor from my June 2000 assignment. I was embarrassed because I couldn’t remember her name. Now I’m upset that I couldn’t remember her name the last time I saw her, because I’m 99% sure that that was the last time I’ll * ever * see her—everyone I worked with at Aon is almost undoubtedly dead.
October 5, 2001
Watching the news is a strange experience. The pedestrian overpass leading to the World Financial Center is still standing—but the building at its eastern end is gone. . . .
“The New York Times Magazine,” Sunday, Sept. 23, 2001 edition carried a photo of the Winter Garden with the ceiling windows as shattered as our delusions of safety.


Blogger Jack Steiner said...

Now I’m upset that I couldn’t remember her name the last time I saw her, because I’m 99% sure that that was the last time I’ll * ever * see her—everyone I worked with at Aon is almost undoubtedly dead.

I have a very dear friend who spent two weeks on assignment at Cantor Fitzgerald. We have had the same discussion on a number of occasions.

Thankfully you are both safe.

Tue Sep 12, 10:55:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Jack, we're among the lucky ones who happened not to be on assignment at the World Trade Center that day. (It's undoubtedly the only time in my life that I've ever been glad that I was temporarily unemployed.) And I still have a sister, Baruch HaShem (thank G-d).

Wed Sep 13, 08:02:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Neil Harris said...

I figured I should check out your blog, based on todays emails. Nice. My wife and I had our first date at the Winter Garden.

Wed Sep 13, 09:58:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Gorgeous view. I'm sure that applies to your wife, as well.

Wed Sep 13, 10:57:00 PM 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home

<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>