Editor’s Note: The essay below was written in 2001 and appears in the self-published book, Through Our Eyes: A Tapestry of Words and Images in Response to September 11. Printed and distributed in 2002, the book was the result of an independent, volunteer documentary project organized by a journalist and several friends. The author’s bio was written in 2002 and has not been updated.
Long Island, New York
Ken Falk is an attorney and native New Yorker who lives on Long Island and works in Manhattan. His piece was submitted Feb. 6.
I work one long block away from ground zero. However, that morning I was across the river in Brooklyn in the Supreme Court building. I first heard the news in a clerk’s office as I noticed everyone listening to a radio. We first believed that a small plane struck a tower, but after the second plane struck, we knew the events were ominous.
I headed to Brooklyn Heights where there is a promenade area over the East River with direct views of the towers. There were hundreds of people staring at this awful sight of an immense dark cloud of death slowly drifting toward us across the river. A quarter portion of lower Manhattan was hidden under this cloud.
I had to walk two miles to a railroad station to find a train heading east to Long Island. The walk took over an hour when it should have been 20 minutes. The streets were jammed with people who had evacuated office buildings and stores. Later on, I learned that my office personnel had run for their lives.
My office was in a lock down position for a month; phone service took almost four months to be fully restored. Of course, this was all inconsequential compared to the loss of lives.