Friday, September 11, 2015


Good morning my loyal and faithful readers and followers on Friday, September 11, 2015.

Fourteen years ago the unthinkable happened at The World Trade Center. At that time I was living in an alcove studio apartment, 1-F, at 335 E. 51st Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues and just blocks North of the United Nations Building.

Today I again think it is important for me to share with you what I experienced on September 11, 2001, and the week following, so below are copies of 3 emails I sent to family and friends and my then 150+ email newsletter mailing list regarding September 11th.

These emails are in their original form and content. I resisted all thoughts of editing them. I did, however, add the pictures to this posting. 

This is what happened and my reactions and thoughts at that unimaginable time in American history ...
Subject: September 11 - I am OK - NYC Under Siege
Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 @ 3:15pm
From: Wanjr
To: Internet List


Thanks for the emails. I am OK.

NYC is presently in an under-siege mode. I have just gotten back from the grocery store to put in supplies. It reminds me of Fla. just after a hurricane warning. On the corner of 51st and 2nd Ave. looking south you can see the dense smoke downtown. All mass transit is shut down. Manhattan is isolated now, no transportation in or out of the city. A steady stream of people walking uptown. It is scary and very emotional out on the street. Not sure how long my internet connection will stay up. On the TV they just announced that the police now want to clear the streets in Manhattan.

You know, I feel personally violated and very emotional about this whole thing right now - will keep you all advised.

Then, the next day ...
Subject: September 12 - Thank You Dear Friends
Date: Wednesday, September 12, 2001 @ 7:35pm
From: Wanjr
To: Internet and Snail Mail List

My dear friends:

The email and calls have helped me during a most difficult time - thank you my dear friends.

Like hundreds and thousands of New Yorkers I went to bed very late last night and awoke this morning very early. When I opened the door to get the 3 daily newspapers there was nothing so I dressed and went to the newsstand and only The Post and The Daily News were available - no New York Times. At 7:30am very few people were on the streets and there was almost no traffic. Was able to get a Post and a News, but no Times.

I feel very very unsettled and more emotional than I expected I would be, partly, I think, because I had such a link with the World Trade Center area. As many of you know, the beginning of the Norris Downtown Tour is the World Trade Center and its outside plaza. On Tuesdays the 1/2 price TKTS booth offers advance tickets to Wednesday matinees and I had planned to go down there later in the day to get a matinee ticket, but I wouldn't have been there until noon or later.

Also, Judge Bob Doyle and his wife Chelle, were scheduled to be in the city today until Sunday and I had made plans with Chelle to meet her Thursday at 11:00 and we were planning to go downtown to the WTC for the Norris Downtown Tour. The conference has been canceled and they will remain in Florida.

I can understand the concept of the buildings being damaged, but the fact that they no longer exist is beyond my comprehension.

I felt so restless that I just had to get out of the apartment so I decided that I would take the subway up to Yankee stadium to swap my last night game ticket for the game tonight. It would be something to do, a distraction perhaps. The streets in the neighborhood were still virtually empty. On the way to the subway entrance you pass a Fire Department station and as I was walking past I observed groups of fireman still in dust covered gear washing each other with fire hoses. Their trucks and other equipment were covered with dust and soot. According to TV reports the fire department sustained major casualties yesterday when the buildings collapsed. I got tears in my eyes as I walked past and then I turned around and hollered ..... God bless you guys .... and several guys waved back. I cried and I am not ashamed to admit it.

I collected myself and got on the train. The subway was about 25% full. No one, and I mean no one, was talking even those who were traveling with someone. When I got to Yankee Stadium none of the businesses that border the stadium were open. The stadium was cordoned off with yellow tape and there was a very visible police presence. I asked the police officers about tonight's game and they said that the remaining games for the week had been canceled. I am not surprised. I came back to the apartment and the subways downtown were the same as the uptown ones with the exception that almost everyone was reading either the Post or the News - still no sign of The Times.

Reading between the lines from all of the local coverage I believe that the final death toll will be horrific. The scope of the physical damage is beyond description, the most often used phrase is ...... this looks like a war zone.

I don't know why I am writing this or even if I will send it.

And then, 8 days later ...
Subject: September 19 - Last Week in the Big Apple
Date: Wednesday, September 19, 2001 @ 12:05PM
From: Wanjr
To: Internet and Snail Mail List

Hello my dear cyberspace friends:

As I write this, on Wednesday morning, the healing process continues in The Big Apple and throughout the rest of the United States, but, it is so difficult not to be overwhelmed with sadness and then indescribable anger that turns to rage. How could this have happened? Your continued phone calls and emails have helped so much.

During the past week I found it very difficult to get out of the apartment other than to make brief trips to the grocery stores in the neighborhood. Yet, when I stayed in I was virtually overcome with sadness and restlessness. As a rather strange aside .... because this apartment is bigger than the dorm room aka 338 E. 53rd St., Apt 4C, it has more open space and walking around room and because of that I found it easier to remain indoors. I had pacing room. Go figure.

Anyway, some random thoughts/observations ....

At 7:00pm on Friday evening I would estimate the Times Square crowd to be only about 1/3 the normal. Many people were carrying candles, many with flags. The attendance at the performance of Kiss Me Kate that I decided to see at the last minute, was only about 75% of the orchestra - no one was seated in the mezzanine.

The weekend was very sad and solemn. Very sparse traffic, very quiet. I didn’t want to do anything and I didn’t. I even stopped watching the TV newscasts.

Monday, the first full work day for many, was also sad and somber. Traffic was somewhat heavier, but the streets were eerily quiet with almost no horn blowing. People walking to work had very somber looks on their faces. At noon groups of people doing their normal lunch break walk-arounds were talking in subdued voices, if they were talking at all.

The specialty of the fire engine company located on 51st Street between 2nd and 3rd is fires in high rise buildings. They lost 11 members of their small company. Their pictures are on display surrounded by flowers, candles and written tributes. People stop and some knelt to pray.

The entrance to New York Hospital, where I have been going in preparation of having my thyroid zapped next Wednesday, is plastered with pictures of the missing and now presumed dead. So many young people are on display.

Union Square Park located on 14th Street has become a monument to the victims and survivors. When I was there last night around 7:00pm I was joined by thousands of silent observers reading the missing persons pleas and tributes to the fallen and to the survivors.

Many many people who attend the noon AA meeting at the Citicorp Building had relatives/friends who worked at the World Trade Center. One young man talked about being virtually homeless because his apartment was in Battery Park City and he has been unable to return to it to retrieve anything. I have a gut feeling that perhaps AA members are a bit more able to cope because we have all experienced the deepest of tragedies in our own lives and are able to share our experiences, strengths and hopes with others.

American flags fly from buildings and cars.

The David Letterman show Monday night was unbelievable and I am so glad I watched it.

Mayor Giuliani has exhibited remarkable leadership skills.

New York's bravest and finest, the Fire Fighters and Policemen, are indeed that.

I have felt the almost overwhelming need to *do something* to help, but there was nothing available. My medicines prohibited me from giving blood and the cities need for volunteers had long been met. I felt insignificant and useless.

Then, yesterday, one week after the tragedy, William A. Norris, Jr., a New Yorker and damned proud of it, decided that he would reclaim his life. No fucking way was he going to permit those soulless bastards to continue to control his daily routine, his feelings, his emotions, to spend one more minute in his head, so ... fuck them and the horses they rode in on!!! New York City is still the greatest city in the World!!

I picked up the phone and got tickets for: the Tuesday night Yankees game vs. Tampa Bay - the first game back in Yankee stadium; the first preview performance of the new Off Broadway musical Reefer Madness, for last night; the WTC victim’s benefit concert at the Metropolitan Opera for Saturday night; Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman at New York City Opera Company for Friday night; and the Off Broadway revival of the Allen Sherman musical Hello Muddah! Hello Faddah! for today’s matinee. More will come. I'M BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, yesterday I made those plans, went to the thyroid Dr., made a contribution to the Fire Department Relief Fund, saw the funny movie Rat Race, went to the Union Square memorial, and saw Reefer Madness.

Yes, my dear friends, thanks to your thoughts and prayers and to my Higher Power - I am indeed on my way back.

Love to you all.

Yes, my loyal and faithful readers and followers ...


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