I moved to NYC in the summer of 1993. I had a great little apartment on Thompson Street in Soho that I shared with one and sometimes two people. Our apartment basically served as a place to sleep in those days,but if my memory serves me correctly there was probably a very small unused kitchen inside.
After a short stint at Viacom, I became gainfully employed at BNY 1 Wall. Each morning I would rise with city roosters [ rats ] in the thick of darkness to make the run to Spring Street to catch my train to the World Trade Center. I despised that run. I had to be to work by 6:30am and the only people on the street at that hour were not the type for a friendly "hello". The worst part was that when I got to the train [ usually outrunning the rats] I still had to run through an underground tunnel to catch the southbound E train. I still remember holding my breath as I ran through the tunnel until I climbed up the stairs on the other side trying to look cool and unafraid. "Attitude is everything" I would tell myself.
I could not wait until the train came an pulled me into the WTC stop. Arriving felt like arriving home, I could breathe again. The stores were of course closed at that hour - lucky for me as I was usually late but the towers were still buzzing with "suits".
On the way home from work I would often make the short walk through Chinatown back to my apartment, saving a fare and considering exercise checked off my list for the day. Once on foot I would first pass by Trinity Church where I could often be found saying a daily prayer - it usually went something like this " please don't let me fuck up this job". It still amazes me to this day that Trinity was left unscathed by the tragedy of 9/11. After a quick prayer and a look around to make sure no one knew I was cursing in gods house, I would then pass through the little park that was filled with men playing chess. I let them amuse me while trying not to make eye contact with Century 21.
The WTC was a major hub for me in those early years. I knew the security guards faces and there was always a polite nod as I scurried to not be late for work. In the WTC, I bought my first few suits for work, at Casual Corner and once engaged had my diamond appraised for insurance purposes by the little Italian man who owned the jewelry store I passed by frequently. I never really made it above the basement floor until the day I started Kevin Zraly's Windows on The World Wine Class. The class was phenomenal, and Kevin was amazing but my fondest memory of the class other than learning that I did not like Dom Perignon was the breathtaking views from the top of the tower. It was spectacular.
On September 11, 2001 I watched the bombings from my living room in Connecticut while pregnant with my second child. My husband, Mark, worked on Maiden Lane for Goldman Sachs- I was terrified. I was soon to learn that on this day , he had a meeting at the Goldman offices in Princeton and was not in the city. A true blessing! It still took him about 12 hours to make it home, but he did- he made it home. Living in NYC and the surrounding areas for so long we knew so many people affected by this tragedy. It personally took me six years to visit the the void that was once the World Trade Center. Once there, I was only able to give the construction site a one eyed glance while holding my hand over my other eye in case it tried to peek. This was a position I usually found myself in at the movies when a terrible scene was unfolding. I haven't been back since.
I will still skirt the area, and am still known to frequent Trinity Church for a quick prayer. Forgive me , but I am still usually praying that I am not fucking something up, but now I also spend time reflecting on what was and what is today as a result of September 11th.
As I write this, my heart is with the countless heroes of that day, the families who lost loved ones and all of us who will never forget. I am also filled with my own memories of morning upon morning of pulling in WTC. I can still see the security guards faces, and smell the aroma of coffee brewing and will always remember the train stopping , me getting off and feeling like I was at home.