Thursday, September 8, 2011

An email sent on Wednesday, September 12, 2001

We got the following stunning, heartbreaking email about 9/11 from a NYC designer friend, Ginger Gilden, who is now an Associate at Swanke Hayden Connell Architects on Lafayette Street, and here post it in its entirety:

Maybe someone would be interested in reading my email from the perspective where I was standing, under the Towers, on 9/11. This is the email I sent out the next day…..feel free to share it.

Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2001 9:40 AM
Subject: September 11, 2001 email

Hey. I'm trying to update everyone on what happened. I don't like to send mass e-mails, but I think this is a unique situation. I don't have all my e-mail addresses at home. They blew up in the WTC explosion. You guys are the only ones I have. So pass on any information you want along with my e-mail address.

It is all a horrible tragedy. I just started my new job at Mancini Duffy in Tower 2 on Aug. 6. I loved it! I was so excited to be in that building. Now I look out my window as I'm typing this, and there's nothing but smoke there. It's so frustrating! I've talked to some people from work, and it seems that everyone got out.

We were on the 21st floor. I had stayed at work until 9 the night before, so I took the late train in on Tuesday morning (which is 30 minutes later than my usual train). I got off the subway right under Tower 1 as it got hit. We heard something, and people started running through the subway corridor.

Everyone got settled down, and then we exited through a different way to get out into the street.

When I got out, debris was falling everywhere and smoke was all over the place. Policemen were directing us away from the building. I ran across the street from Tower 1 and looked up to see a big hole on the north and east side. Fire was coming out the east side. I ran across another street to get away from the panicking crowd, and I started trying to call my husband on my cell phone. I couldn't get through to anyone. I got to an inside corner of a building facade and looked up at Tower 1.

People were jumping from the building and landing on the roof of the building below. That was a difficult moment. Then I saw the other plane heading for Tower 2. I thought maybe it would miss, but I saw it hit and I saw the explosion. It was like watching a movie. I couldn't believe I was in the middle of all this. People started panicking more and trying to get inside the building I was in front of so they could get out of the way of the falling debris. I just covered my head and got as close to the building as I could. A minute or so later, the crowd started running. I stayed put long enough to let the crowd get past me so I wouldn't get trampled.

I saw people lying everywhere, but I didn't look close enough to see what was wrong with them. I did notice one guy on the ground, and the policeman next to him was yelling at him not to move. His legs were bent the wrong way. I didn't look very long. I just kept moving and tried to call anyone to tell them I was OK. The cell phone was useless. There were shoes and watches everywhere, along with people's bags and briefcases. I just kept trying to call home and started walking north to get away from the falling debris. I didn't know if I was hurt or cut or anything. I just wanted to get away from that area.

I finally got through to my parents' answering machine and told them to call Flynn to let him know I was OK. Later they told me that they never could get through to him. He was scared to death for an hour until I was able to get through to him. He could see what was happening from our apartment balcony, and he didn't know that I wasn't in the building. I walked and walked to try to get to a train station that was working, but all the public transportation was suspended, so I couldn't get to my apartment in Queens.

Midtown was being evacuated in case the Empire State Building was struck.

When I got to the Flatiron Building, I could look back and see Tower 1, but Tower 2 was blocked from smoke. At Times Square, I watched the big screen and saw that both towers had collapsed. That was a moment of finality for me. I had to stop and regroup.

Flynn's uncle lives on 61st Street, so I walked there. It was four miles from the WTC to his apartment, so I was exhausted. I was able to make some phone calls from there. I stayed there and watched the news to see when the trains would start running.

So I made it home at 6:30 p.m. I slept fitfully. I was exhausted. I am getting lots of calls from the people in my office and the people I used to work with at Gensler. The principals of my new firm are getting together today to discuss what the next step is. We have offices in Parsippany, N.J., as well as a few other places, so I'm hoping all the computer files are safe. I'm still waiting to see where to report to work.

If I would've been on schedule, I would've been at my desk in Tower 2 when the first plane hit. It was really bad watching it all happen, but I'm OK now that I'm at home. The footage on TV is hard to watch.

Hope all is well with all of my friends.

Ginger DeForest Gilden, New York City

Our deepest thanks for sharing this.

1 comment:

  1. Ginger, thanks for sharing your story. I remember thinking of all my friends at Mancini Duffy. I was o concerned. I actually had a meeting there that morning, which was cancelled the day before.
    For me, one of the hardest things was, I lived right around the corner from the Armory, which is where they set up the missing person station. I will never forget the people holding pictures of their loved ones. I just wanted to hug everyone and make things ok. Today, I live downtown in Battery Park City, as we have chosen to be a part of the regrowth of downtown.
    My thoughts are with everyone as we remember 9/11.