On a typical walk to work, the common New Yorker may be shouted at by a cabbie, shoved into another person or even occasionally mugged. But now, all New Yorkers have experienced the most catastrophic event in this country’s history.
“It was really bizarre, because it was such a beautiful day. I was walking across town to work, which is on Spring and Hudson. I was at Sixth Avenue and Spring, when I heard this huge explosion and the girl next to me started to scream ‘Oh, my God.’ I looked up and saw tons of smoke,” said Esther Chak, a New York City resident. “As soon as I crossed Sixth Avenue, I saw the World Trade Center had a big hole in it. It made the building look like paper because the hole was in the shape of an airplane.”
The streets were filled with commuters walking to work, and chaos ensued after the collision.
Chak ran to her nearby workplace, a building with a clear view of the disaster area. Because of the proximity of the World Trade Center, many had friends or family working there or nearby.
“Everyone was scrambling around because they knew someone who was working there,” Chak said.
This included Chak’s sister, who worked in close proximity to the towers.
While frantically calling loved ones, witnesses still intently watched what was going on outside.
“We watched, and you could see the second plane come in. We were watching television to figure out what was going on, but the picture wouldn’t work, we just had sound. But then you looked out the window and saw everything,” Chak said.
The towers were still standing, but not for long, and as the first tower began to crumble, Chak watched as if in a dream world.
“When we saw the first tower crumbling it was just like it was nothing, you just let your mind carry your thought,” she said. “It was just the weirdest thing to watch the building fall down.”
Chak had still not contacted her sister, so she continued with her efforts. Cell phones were not working because of the huge influx of calls. Everyone was searching for loved ones, and all circuits were busy.
After four or five hours, Chak’s sister finally called from a building near the World Trade Center.
“She called from the inside of JP Morgan on Wall Street,” Chak said. “It feels like an earthquake, the ground is shaking, and it is snowing eight and a half by eleven sheets of paper,'” Chak’s sister said.
Chak decided to leave her office to give blood because of the emergency blood shortage.
“As soon as we stepped outside, it was weird because life was almost normal. People were eating, talking on cell phones and jogging,” Chak said.
As for tomorrow, people across the country will return to work; however, those who live or work south of 14th Street will not be allowed to return. Chak’s workplace was in that area, so she is unlikely to return to work tomorrow.