A question for my generation, Where were you on 9/11? The question of my mom’s generation was Where were you when JFK was shot? or for others Where were you when the Challenger space ship exploded? Where was I on 9/11? Stuck on a subway car heading downtown, the train had just left the Columbus Circle station and was headed towards Rockefeller center. The train stopped in the tunnel as many do during the morning hours normally signaling congestion a little further ahead but after about 10 minutes of sitting there we the passengers were all getting a bit uneasy, a few moments later as we pulled into the next station we were told not only to exit the train but the subway station all together. I climbed the steps heading back up towards the street having no clue what I was about to find.
I stopped and stared blindly the city seemed to be in a bit of a panic, people running through the streets, it was like something out of a movie. I had no cellphone at the time so I went to the nearest phone booth (remember those) and called my boss, he was in tears telling me to go home we were not opening the shop today but he still hadn’t told me what was wrong. I walked back towards my cool single girl apartment, a 5th floor walk on the Upper West Side. I spotted a doorman standing in the middle of the sidewalk, puffing on a cigarette and looking solemn. “What’s going on? I asked, “Follow me” he said. I went inside the building he pointed to a small television monitor sitting on a podium in the doorway and for the first time I watched the news clip that would be replayed thousands of times throughout the next several days, weeks, months and years to come. I ran to my apartment tried to call my family and it was hours before I was able to get through. That day changed me in a way that is quite inexplicable, other than giving birth it still remains to be the one of the most surreal experiences of my life. The many lives that were lost, a great city in mourning…
I left my fair New York City 9 months after 9/11 and returned home to the Jersey Shore, not because of that overwhelming tragedy but because of a more personal one. A relationship that ended badly and a crossroads in my career. Like so many I can never and will never forget. That singular event has connected me to that city in a way that I doubt I will experience with any other.
Tonight while I’m dining and recipe testing with friends I will raise my glass to that great city and to all of the people who dwell in it and of course the many people who lost friends and loved ones on that fateful day.