Diane Spindler and Stephanie Romeo

Recorded July 21, 2005 Archived July 21, 2005 01:23:44 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: wtc000035

Description

A woman interviews her sister about escaping from WTC on 9/11.

Subject Log / Time Code

Bulding coming down - Stephanie wondered if she was dead.
Running from ball of debris, coworker, Mark, covered them as it blew over them and she felt that she was goiing to die. - Smoke cleared
Sounds: couging, crying, vomitting, baby crying.
Old fire boat pulled up at water’s edge. Told to get on “I can’t jump” - somone pushed her.
Stephanie had a dream in August about towers crumbling.
Sense of connection with people in New York

Participants

  • Diane Spindler
  • Stephanie Romeo

Recording Location

World Trade Center StoryBooth

Transcript

Transcript

[00:00]
STEPHANIE ROMEO: My name is Stephanie Romeo. I'm 46 years old. Today is July 21st, a Thursday. We're at the World Trade Center sound booth in the PATH station. And I'm talking to my sister today about her experiences on 9/11.
DIANE SPINDLER: Hi. My name is Diane Spindler. I'm 44 years old. It's the 21st of July, 2005. We're down here in the booth at the World Trade Center. And this is my sister interviewing me.
SR: So, Di -- I call her Di, by the way. Her full name is Diane, but she's always been Di to me. So, September 11th. My God, we've talked about this countless, numerous, thousands of times. You cried. We even laughed. I mean, it's kind of hard to even believe that, but we have. But this is something that we feel really good about doing and sharing this story, especially you having gone through what you have and sharing it with the world basically.
DS: Right.
SR: I think that's really cool. So, just to start off, I mean, just to go in order, I mean, that morning, you woke up. You... I mean, when you woke up that morning, anything stick out?
DS: Well, it started actually like a brand new day for me because I just moved into my new apartment.
SR: That's right.
DS: And I was excited about that.
SR: It was the first morning that you woke up in it?
DS: Yeah. And there was, like, a different route that I was taking. And I was early because where I lived before, it took me a long time to get to work, so I was happy that I got there early.
SR: So where -- just to let people know, like, you're living in --
DS: I start work at 8:30. I was living in Staten Island prior to 9/11. I moved September 3rd, so September 11th I was in my new place. And got the express bus as I normally do, but it was much earlier. And I was so happy that I got to work early, because I was always late. A quarter to 9, I would get to work. I was supposed to be there at 8:30.
SR: So what was early?
DS: So I got there, like, at 8:30. (laughter)
SR: (laughter) OK.
DS: Or 20 after 8, whatever. OK. I got upstairs. And what I normally do is talk to my coworkers. I just remember the day because it was beautiful out. It was just so clear out, and it was such a nice day. I was feeling happy.
SR: We had such horrible weather, like prior to --
DS: It was Election Day.
SR: That's right.
DS: It was... You know, I didn't know what to expect because, you know, the traffic and just that kind of thing. I got upstairs. Talked to my coworker. And actually, I was standing by his desk. His name is Ron. And all of a sudden, the building just -- first there was a loud noise. Tremendous sound that -- and the building actually swayed, that I was standing up and I actually was falling over. And my coworker, Ron, was sitting, and he actually stood up. And kind of, like, grabbed me. And of course I said, "What the hell?" Everybody was like, "What the hell is that?" And we were all, like, in a panic at that point because then we saw things -- the World Trade Center had long windows, you know, from ceiling to floor. And I was standing up, and I could just see things flying in the air. It wasn't, like, big things. And we couldn't figure out what it was. And Ron said, "It must have been a generator or something that crashed, that fell on the roof." It was just so -- we couldn't figure out what it was.
SR: So, first of all, you should say, too, that the floor you were on --
DS: Oh, yes. I worked at One World Trade Center, the 21st floor.
SR: Which was the North Tower.
DS: Yeah. 2161 was the suite.
SR: And the name of your company --
DS: Yeah, I worked for, and still do, United Seamen's Service. It's a nonprofit organization for merchant seamen. We have social clubs overseas, and New York is the headquarters of this organization. So, we're not a big group. I think we're 11 people, in the office at that time. I think one person was on jury duty, and another person started work at 9:00. So the majority -- we were all in at that time when the plane hit at, what was it, ten to 9. The first. 8 -- right? It was, like, ten to 9.
SR: It was something like that, yeah.
DS: Yeah. So, then Ron ran out -- and it was so funny because we were getting, like, phone calls. (laughter) One of our trustees called up about a meeting. He goes, "I can't talk right now!" He just hangs up the phone. He ran out to the hallway, and he saw cracks in the wall. And he figured, "Oh, this is bad." Because we experienced the first bombing in 1993.
SR: Yeah, I remember.
DS: And I just said to one of my coworkers, "Get your pocketbook!" Because I remember from the first time. So, I remember my boss was saying, "OK, everybody out. Everybody out." So we got out. I remember going to the front door, and I kind of broke down. I was like, "Oh, my God! Not again!" I was starting to cry.
SR: So you knew something was really bad. I mean, you had --
DS: Yeah. One coworker put his arm around me and said, "It's going to be OK." Somebody else was like, "Don't worry about it. Let's just go, let's go." So I composed myself. And girls went out first. Men ran out last. We went to the stairwell. I remember it was organized. People were, like, pretty calm. The lights were on. And as we were --
SR: That's right, because they didn't have lights before, right?
DS: Right. The first one, it was completely dark. And I remember going down, except that that time, the smoke was getting heavier and heavier, and you couldn't breathe. This time, clear. The lights were on. But that smell. It was that --
SR: Was it the jet fuel?
DS: Yeah. It was something I'd never smelled before. It was --
SR: What did it smell like? I mean, do you remember? You just know you smelled it.
DS: Like a burning...
SR: Like a --
DS: Gasoline, I guess, but not like a typical gasoline.
SR: Like a burning rubber? Or, I mean... You can't even, I guess --
DS: I couldn't even describe it. Just couldn't describe it. I was with my coworker, a woman named Eileen. And believe it or not, we were, like, the same height. We're very short. And she held my hand down the whole 21 flights of steps. So, we got down to the end.
SR: Did you see firemen coming up?
DS: No. No. Because I think it was still early.
SR: Right. Right. Of course, sure.
DS: You know, at that time. Because we got down there pretty fast, as I recall.
SR: Obviously, it was the first --
DS: I think it only took us 20 minutes to get down.
SR: 20 minutes.
DS: Yeah. Down to the plaza level, where that big sphere was. That's the plaza. And I remember getting down there and seeing the plaza with all these different things that were unrecognizable. I remember I was talking on the phone. I said that it looked like tree trunks. You know? And it must have been, like, bodies that were burnt.
SR: Yeah. Oh, God.
DS: And then a lot of glass. A lot of things I can't -- I didn't want to look because they kept saying, "Walk. Walk. Walk." Oh, going down the steps, too, the water was rising. I remember that.
SR: What do you mean? There was water on the floors?
DS: On the steps.
SR: Oh, really?
DS: Yeah. My coworker took her shoes off.
SR: Oh, my God.
DS: I'm like, "Eileen, don't take your shoes off!" I kept my -- you know, tss, tss, tss, tss! You know. "Keep your shoes on." And we got down there. Then she put her shoes back on because somebody was saying, "Come on! Get your shoes on! Keep walking!" So they kind of pushed us along. I couldn't see any of my other coworkers at that time. The other girls kind of went in front of us. We lost sight of them. I don't know where the men were, but I know that they were behind me later on because they told me they were behind me. Got out through the plaza, seeing all that debris and all that glass. I remember the security guard saying, "Come on. Move it, move it." They were there. You know, guys that you'd see every day, going through the turnstiles to go up, showing your ID. I remember seeing familiar faces. And then they told us, "Go through the Marriott Hotel." Broken glass all over. Then we got to the end, and the guy --
SR: So, I'm sorry. Were the windows of the Marriott broken? I mean, was it --
DS: Well, because it was inside. Right -- you had to go through this revolving door. It was inside. We weren't outside yet. So, I mean, that was shattered. Just the revolving door. And just things just totally in a disarray. Broken. Just... I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot of details, but getting out to the plaza -- going through the Marriott Hotel, the security guard said -- he was telling everybody to go out one by one. And he was like, "When you go out, don't look up, and cover your head." Well, of course, what I did was --
SR: You looked up.
DS: -- I looked up because I wanted to see what the hell was coming down on my head. And my coworker was in front of me. And --
SR: When you looked up, what did you see?
DS: You know what? The bright sun. It was just so beautiful. But the smell, and just alarms going off. Just people screaming. People running. Then I just kept running. And of course, then I have a heart condition, and I couldn't breathe. And I was trying to run. And she goes, "Come on. Come on, run." We ran down West Street. Well, first we came out on Liberty Street.
SR: So, what? You're out --
DS: Coming out of the hotel -- OK, my girlfriend went first, and then I went. She's running first, but I couldn't catch up to her because of my condition. I was like (gasping). And I think I was just probably in shock at that point, just nervous because I -- when he said, "Something's going to fall on your head," I was, like, looking up and running. And then I saw a plane. I said to myself, "Boy, that
[10:00] plane is so low! What is it doing here?" Not thinking that -- you know, like it was going to be hitting the building. And the next thing I knew -- as you look up -- sometimes you look up, and you can't really see because it's so high. But the next thing I knew, the plane went into the building. The sound was loud. And I kind of just froze there. I couldn't move.
SR: You were literally, like, right underneath it.
DS: Well, the bridge -- well, it was pretty close. And I just kind of, like -- I think I was just paralyzed with fear at that point. Or in shock, one or the other. I knew I couldn't run anymore. I was like (gasping). I couldn't catch my breath. I was like -- my pain in my chest was pounding. And I was just -- I just stood there like a statue.
SR: So you were on West Street.
DS: Yeah. And I remember looking up at this guy's face, and his mouth was open. And at that point, I couldn't hear anymore. I became deaf. Yeah.
SR: I didn't know that.
DS: And I had my menstrual cycle, and it's almost like I had, like, a hemorrhage. Shhhh. Like, my whole body just went through this whole --
SR: Just relief.
DS: -- shocking, I guess. I was in shock. But then you kind of, like, wake up. And just the next instinct is to run.
SR: So you ran --
DS: So then I ran down the street --
SR: You were with Eileen still?
DS: Eileen, yeah. Then she helped me along. She stayed with me. We ran down this street called Albany Street, which is one of those skinny streets down when you pass West Street and you cross over. And I remember people just screaming. Oh, I remember the shoes. There was a lot of shoes on the street. I was like, "Where the hell did all these shoes come from?" And just people screaming and just being in a daze. People gathering, people coming out. Because then when you go into Battery Park City, there's some stores. There's some restaurants. And people were just gathering around in, like, a big crowd. People running to pay phones. People trying to get people on their cell phones. Then we just stood there, kind of figuring out what should we do. I think I tried to say, "Let's go to a pay phone." Too long of a line. Went to the next one. Too long. Trying to gather our thoughts of what to do.
SR: So I'm just curious, did you know something was really -- I mean, something -- this wasn't an accident, basically. You knew that something was really bad.
DS: Yeah.
SR: Like someone had planned this.
DS: Well, you know, I don't think that way at all.
SR: You never thought -- even with the second -- well, you didn't know that the first plane had hit?
DS: I didn't -- exactly.
SR: You didn't know that. OK.
DS: I didn't know that a plane hit the building.
SR: That you were in.
DS: Yeah. But then you kind of like -- at that time, I couldn't figure that out. I had no clue.
SR: You were just --
DS: Yeah.
SR: Just under too much stress.
DS: Then we decided -- I said to her, "Let's go" -- my boss lives in Battery Park City. I said, "Let's go there. Maybe they went there." And I remember the story later on. My coworkers, the men, were -- they told them to stop because, see, the plane hit Tower Two --
SR: Right before they --
DS: -- and they were at the door.
SR: Oh, boy.
DS: And the whole building shook, and they didn't know if they were going to get out. But then finally they let them out. So a couple of them ended up -- we all went to Roger's house, who's my boss. We waited there for a little bit, and all of a sudden, I saw Richie and I saw Mark. And Roger, my boss. And I was, like, so happy to see them. I was hugging them. I didn't hug my boss because I was like... (laughter) I didn't know how he was going to react. So I was like -- he tried to -- he thought we could go up to his apartment, but his security said, "Nobody's going upstairs unless you live here." So he said, "OK. Give me all your numbers. I'll call your family." So he was, like, trying to write down phone numbers, and he's so bad with numbers. He's always messing them up. And so (laughter) we gave him all the information. And then he went upstairs, and he was in the process of calling our families. In the meantime, we went into this -- in the back of his building, there's a courtyard. And I guess all the residents there were gathering and whoever -- people from maybe the office -- the World Financial Center's right over there. Who knows? A lot of people were there. Just people were, like, all over the place and just kept looking up at the towers. And I remember sitting on this beautiful little bench. Me and Eileen were just sitting there, just kind of gathering our thoughts. And Mark was there for a little bit, but then he walked away. And we're sitting there. Now, the bench is facing opposite -- it faces the water, OK? Facing the opposite of the World Trade Center. All right? So, I don't know. We were just, like, turning around like this, looking. And all of a sudden -- we were looking at it, and all of a sudden, you hear this crescendo. This -- kind of like boom, boom, boommmmm -- and, like, getting faster. And you're seeing the building coming down. And we just stood there. I was just --
SR: So you were sitting, and then you --
DS: Yeah.
SR: Then you just stood up?
DS: Yeah, then we stood up. When we saw that, then we actually stood up and then started looking. I stood there for God knows how long. I mean, I don't know how long it took the whole building to come down, but maybe --
SR: Just seconds basically. Because I watched it from the street, and it was silent from where I was. I was on 6th Avenue and -- like, right by Ray's Pizza on, like, 11th Street and 6th Avenue. And I'll never forget. It was so shocking. I thought I was going to faint. It was just -- you know, I saw the buildings on fire. I knew that something was really bad. But you just never, ever, ever imagine that happening. And just everyone around me was just going, "Oh, shit! Oh, shit!" That's just all they kept saying. Like, "Oh, my God!"
DS: Yeah, I've heard that. I heard that a lot also.
SR: "Oh, my God!" You know? And, God, I almost lost my mind. It was just -- and then I -- I mean, my thought was like, I knew you were on the 21st floor. I knew that you got out. I mean, you were there in '93. You knew what to do. All those people. But that was shocking. And that made me feel like, "Oh, my God. Is my sister dead?" I didn't know.
DS: Yeah. When I saw that big ball, it looked like something from a sci-fi movie. So surreal. So -- you can't believe it's happening. I guess after it started coming down, then we started to run. I guess I'm a delayed reaction. We started to run. We lost sight of Richie. We lost sight of Mark. So it was just her and I, and of course, Roger was upstairs in his apartment. And the next thing I know, we're starting to run, and that big ball of --
SR: Yeah, of smoke and debris.
DS: -- whatever it was, smoke and ash, coming at us, like attacking us. You felt like you were being attacked by an alien. And then we were running, and it was like -- there was a wall over here with big shrubbery, so you couldn't go that way. Straight ahead was another wall, so we had to go, like, down this little path. And the next thing I know, Mark -- we saw his face, and he just had his arms out. And he just gathered us -- I was on one end, she was on the other end, and he just grabbed us. And then by that time, that thing was on top of us. And we couldn't -- he goes, "Let's jump in the water!" Like, "Oh, God!" But the next thing I knew, the whole thing came over us. And then it turned -- the last thing he said was God be with us, and I remember putting my face in his armpit. And I had my medallion --
SR: Your medal.
DS: My medal on. I was holding on to that. And I was trying to think of a prayer, the Hail Mary. I couldn't think of all the words! I was like, "Hail Mary, full of grace..." (laughter) And I just thought of my son, and I was just -- I remember saying, "Michael" -- just his name. And then it went black, and we were there for, like -- it felt like an eternity. Because I thought this was it. I'm going to die because I probably won't be able to breathe in this. And a calmness came over me, like -- I said, "OK. This is my time to go. I'm going to go." I felt blessed because I wasn't alone. And I just thought of Michael. But I was so happy that I was with somebody. I felt like I wasn't alone. And it was just silent. And the next thing I know, it was completely dark. And we stood there, and we just stood there. And Mark was like, "I think I see the sky. I think I see the sky! I see some of the blue sky!" He said, "I think it's clearing. I think it's clearing!" It was almost like a miracle because, like, the wind just, like, took this big thing that we were in and just shifted to the left. And the next thing we knew, it was like -- prior to that big thing coming over, it was like white smoke, grey smoke, black smoke. That's what it was. Because as we were standing, we were looking at our feet, and then you could just see -- you know, you couldn't see anymore, kind of thing. That's what that was like. Your eyes just... And then I think I -- truly, I think I shut my eyes because I didn't know, and I just wanted to close my eyes and just...
SR: So then -- OK, so there's light. And then you guys -- you could see each other and everything.
DS: Right. He gave us hope. And the sounds, as it was starting to clear around us. Coughing. Crying. Vomiting. A baby's cry. Voices. "Come here! Come this way!" In, like, distant -- because that area
[20:00] we were in wasn't that heavily -- with people. It wasn't, like, a lot of people because it was a residential --
SR: Yeah, area. It wasn't --
DS: And it's right by the promenade there, where people --
SR: Yeah, jog and everything.
DS: -- jog. It's a really pretty area. And the next thing we know is as everything clears out, there's a boat, right there by the water's edge! And some guy -- he must have been a worker. He must have been some kind of guy that -- he didn't look like a resident. He must have came from work or whatever. He comes to my girlfriend Eileen, like an angel out of nowhere! He says, "Come this way." (laughter) It was, like, so mysterious! So we follow him, and he goes, "Come on, get on this boat." I recall seeing, I think I told you, the Mexican woman, she must have been a nanny, had that baby wrapped. And I remember the blue and pink kind of blanket. I remember an older woman, white hair, like, in a bun, like, with a tank top. Her head was gashed. Blood coming from her head.
SR: Now let me just say one thing, because I know that there's more to come. But I just remember from talking to Mark -- because I did talk to him after that many times. And he told me basically that you guys were saved because the World Financial Center are big buildings, and they basically absorbed --
DS: All of the debris, yeah.
SR: -- all the major debris that started falling.
DS: Oh, yeah. Oh, I think so. If there was no --
SR: And for the people, those poor people who were under, like, an area that was not hidden or enclosed or whatever -- I mean, my God. I heard, like, things the size of Buicks --
DS: Oh, just --
SR: I mean, hunks of all -- I mean, just all kinds of things.
DS: That's probably some of the things I saw at the plaza level, like just -- probably really things of steel.
SR: Yeah. Desks and, like, furniture and just girders or -- just everything you can imagine that goes into building a building and what's in it. It's just -- I mean, you were lucky.
DS: Yeah. Very lucky.
SR: So when did you realize the -- I mean -- so, OK. All right, so the guy says, "Come with me," and you get in the boat.
DS: Right. So, they were firemen, but they were, like, working on this -- to restore this old fireboat that they were working on.
SR: Right. It's actually a famous boat, and there's -- I forget the name of it. The James something -- its name was --
DS: Henry. The James Henry, it was called.
SR: Really?
DS: Yeah.
SR: Are you sure?
DS: I'm positive.
SR: Because I think there was something else. There's another name.
DS: Maybe something after that?
SR: Yeah. I have an article because The New York Times wrote a story about it.
DS: Yeah. I have it, too.
SR: And yeah, so that was the boat that you --
DS: Right.
SR: -- you were saved on.
DS: So now, (laughter) they're trying to get people on this boat. I think they were trying to get the injured on first. And then they got us on. I remember it's a very high wall, and then it has that fence around it. And I remember -- I'm sure I had to, like, jump over, and then it was -- a big jump then from the boat to that fence. And I'm like, "I can't jump! I can't jump!" And (laughter) somebody pushed me down and hit my ass, and then I went (laughter) flying! And somebody caught me. (laughter) So my coworkers are like, "Whoa. I see your underwear!"
SR: Were you wearing a skirt that day?
DS: No, thank God I wasn't wearing a skirt! I was wearing pants. Oh, God.
SR: So you basically were --
DS: So I got pushed on that boat. OK?
SR: All right, so you're on the boat.
DS: And it's crowded, and people are stunned.
SR: I mean, what was the -- were people talking? Or were they just kind of quiet? Or what was it --
DS: No, there was a lot of chatter. Just --
SR: Like, crazy talking.
DS: Yeah. Yeah.
SR: I mean, like crazy -- you know.
DS: I was stunned. I was like -- I could not say anything. I was speechless. I feel like maybe I was... Then I started sneezing. Maybe it was the sea air. Because all that stuff was on you, and it was in my lungs. And you know, people coughing and throwing up. Maybe they inhaled a lot of that stuff. But all I kept doing -- I mean, the sea air just kind of made me sneeze it out. So I was pretty lucky, I think, that that boat was there.
SR: And then what happened to the boat?
DS: Then Mark was like, "Now, just in case this boat sinks..." (laughter)
SR: He said that?
DS: Yeah!
SR: Oh, my God.
DS: I said, "Oh, my God, I can't swim! I'm going to die today for sure!" (laughter) That's what I thought to myself. I said, "I just survived that thing, but I'm going to die in the water." And then they were trying to put a --
SR: Why made him say that? I mean --
DS: Because that's the way he is. A realist, you know.
SR: Oh, my God. It seems more like a pessimist!
DS: We were happy, yeah, he was with us. (laughter) He's that way.
SR: But he's -- I would never --
DS: He's wonderful, but he's very truthful.
SR: I would never --
DS: He's just -- well --
SR: But I would never see him in that light. OK.
DS: Well, you don't work with him either.
SR: But I remember what you told me, like, OK, you guys were on the ferry. And you're going towards Jersey City, and Mark --
DS: It's not a ferry. It's the --
SR: Or whatever the boat --
DS: That fireboat.
SR: The fireboat. And Mark thankfully lives in Jersey City, so you guys have a place to go.
DS: Yeah. Well, we didn't know that at the time, where the boat was going. But we figured we're going to the Jersey --
SR: Area.
DS: -- area, right. I remember them trying to put a lifejacket on me. It, like, couldn't fit. I was like, "Oh, I'm going to die today!" (laughter)
SR: OK, Di! (laughter)
DS: I know, I'm sorry.
SR: That's -- no. Hey, listen.
DS: I'm laughing about this now, but right after, I couldn't stop crying for days after.
SR: Days and months.
DS: I was a mess.
SR: Yeah. I know. But I remember you saying that you guys were on the boat, and you looked towards the city. And --
DS: Right. And then we heard it again.
SR: The same noise.
DS: The crescendo again. And we couldn't believe it. We lost our tower. I loved the towers. I loved that place so much. It was so --
SR: You worked there for how long?
DS: Ten years. It was a great place to work. You saw so many different kinds of people. As I get -- at that time, I didn't do much traveling, but I didn't have to because I must have seen every nationality there was! People used to come from everywhere. So, it was a great place to work. I worked at -- it was a city within a city, you know, downstairs and the concourse level.
SR: Did you find out about people who didn't make it?
DS: Yeah.
SR: I mean, there's the people on the staff of the building and just anybody else you knew.
DS: Well, some of my coworkers, like, they were friendly with a lot of people in the Port Authority. People who worked up in the Windows of the World. A friend of mine lost a lot, a lot of friends that he knew. You know, people who worked in the cafeteria. Up in the restaurant part. I remember one particular person -- in our business, people could come in and donate books because we send them out to sea for the Merchant Marines. And there was one particular man, he worked for the Port Authority. He used to come in once a week with all these magazines and all these books. And I always have to write out a receipt for him, and he always used to make me laugh. And I found that he died later. I felt so bad. He was in the elevator. I heard stories later on about just people in the elevator and just the fuel, just coming down. Fire in the --
SR: You mean people who survived it?
DS: Yeah. Yeah. I heard stories -- one man was in the concourse, and the fire came down and went into the revolving door.
SR: Oh, my God!
DS: Yeah. Just crazy things.
SR: Yeah. Well, I mean, I think compared to what -- because the news -- and believe me, for a whole year after that, I couldn't get enough World Trade Center stories. I had to hear every one. And I bought magazines and newspapers, and I listened to all the media and everything. And after a while, it was just so much. But I just remembered just these horrible stories of people -- you know, pieces of bodies strewn through the streets. And the people trying to get by, and all this craziness is happening around them. It's like, how do you as a human being react to something like that? I mean, it's like you're in war. I mean, I guess as a soldier, you kind of expect to see some terrible things, but as a civilian who had no clue -- you went to work that day, and then all of a sudden, there are, like -- there are decapitated --
DS: Death around you.
SR: There are decapitated bodies around you. And worse, I mean, I just -- I still can't get over that thought that those two huge buildings are gone now.
DS: I know.
SR: I mean, we're sitting right at the seat of them. And you know, coming out of this PATH station, you'd go up the escalator or whatever into the concourse area. And now you come out of the subway here, and you have light and air.
DS: I try to recall where things were every time I walk by here. Like, "Where was I? That's where FedEx used to be! That's where -- I used to go down there for Duane Reade." Because Duane Reade was one place, and then it moved. Because they were in the midst of a whole renovation, you know? They were bringing all these upscale stores, and it was going to be wonderful.
SR: Also, you just reminded me of, like, Larry Silverstein, who was the owner of the Trade Center.
DS: Yeah.
SR: And actually, I have a copy of it at home because you gave me a copy of "Rent due from September 1st to September 10th." Or did --
DS: It was something like that. Yeah.
SR: He wanted his rent for September.
DS: Yeah. Well, where's our security then? (laughter) That was just -- I don't know.
SR: Yeah, yeah. Let's not say anything on him in public about that. (laughter)
DS: (laughter) But you just did, and now it's recorded!
SR: Yeah, well, there you go, Larry Silverstein.
[30:00]
DS: You heartless!
SR: Yeah. Hey, we're from Brooklyn. We can talk this way. But honestly, I had a kind of very strange -- I had a really strange experience. It was actually three weeks before September 11th. It was a Tuesday. My friend Samantha was visiting me from L.A., and she came out and spent a week with me. And I remember waking up that morning, the 22nd, and I heard planes. And they were really, really loud. And when I asked her later if she heard the planes, she said, "No, I didn't hear any planes." And I had very extremely vivid dreams. And in the dream -- which I keep a journal as well, so I write dreams down. I wrote this dream down of towers crumbling and that we weren't hurt. And I didn't say who "we" were. I didn't know who "we" -- it was me and somebody else, or I don't know. But we were OK, but the thing was that I knew that it was not a natural disaster. It was -- and I wrote this. It was a military action. OK, so that was -- I woke up that morning, the 22nd of August. That day, I went -- Sammy and I went to Century 21's to go shopping. And I said, "You know what? My sister works right across the street. Why don't we go say hi?"
DS: I worked there ten years. You never came to visit me!
SR: I never --
DS: I was so thrilled --
SR: Never --
DS: -- when you finally came up!
SR: That's right. I never went to your office. So, of course, the security was extremely tight, and actually two of your coworkers came and escorted upstairs. I mean, it was really --
DS: Yeah. Right. You had to be --
SR: -- really nice. And we went up there. We saw your beautiful, wide-open office. And then there was --
DS: Yeah. It was a nice office.
SR: -- this gorgeous conference area.
DS: Right. Where -- yeah.
SR: And Sammy took out her camera. She started snapping pictures. And basically, my friend photographed your escape route that day.
DS: Yeah, that's true.
SR: Because I have the picture at home now. It's framed now.
DS: That's true. Yeah.
SR: So I just can't believe it. And the thing was that I didn't realize what I wrote until three weeks after September 11th.
DS: Isn't that amazing? You almost saw, like, a premonition.
SR: I don't know. It was so weird. It was so weird, but so vivid.
DS: Well, we love New York so much. You feel, like, connected to it.
SR: Oh, my God. It made me -- I will never forget the profound, profound sense of sadness, of connection with people. I remember people looking you in the eye in the subway, on the street. Union Square was just, like -- I can't even begin to put it into words, how just the love vibes out there were just so strong and just this sorrow.
DS: The worst day of humanity, and the best day of humanity.
SR: Yeah. I mean, because people in this city, man. I mean, we're born here, and I ain't leaving. You know, I've lived elsewhere, but I've always come back. And it's sort of a sad thing that today -- London had bombings today, but thank God no one was killed. But it was two weeks ago --
DS: That the other --
SR: -- that 56 people were killed on the subways there. I lived in London myself. And I remembered very, very distinctly -- the neighborhood I lived in was the East End, and there was a church across the way from my apartment building. And it still had the soot and the dirt from the bombs in 1941 or in 1940, when the blitz was. And I said to myself, "Wow. These people experienced war on their own terms." And you know what? On September 11th --
DS: You did, too.
SR: -- we did. So I don't forget that. You can't forget that.
DS: Yeah. The good part about my company is that we all survived. You know, that was --
SR: Yeah. (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) like all those people. And my God, my friend worked for Marsh McLennan, and they lost 267 people. And then there was Cantor Fitzgerald, which lost, like, 700 or something. It's just mind-boggling. But it really brought so many people together. There was so much love, and it's unfortunate that our government or our politicians did nothing about it. They didn't use those good feelings of solidarity.
DS: No. Because they --
SR: All right. I'm not going to get into the politics. (laughter)
DS: That's the way it goes. (laughter)
SR: You get all -- you know, (overlapping dialogue; inaudible)
DS: That's for another time. (laughter)
SR: Right. (laughter)
DS: You're going off on a tangent!
SR: Yeah, right? But I just know --
DS: You feel blessed that you were --
SR: That people just walked around like -- obviously they were in a daze. But there was so much -- I mean, I felt connected with people.
DS: You definitely change the way you think, the way you feel. And you just have to appreciate every day and just love the people that you're with. Or even strangers, you just -- like, hey, you know, you don't have to hate me because I'm white or I'm black. I'm this, I'm that. What religion you are. That's what I learned, really, although I was never really like that to begin with. But even more so, it's --
SR: Yeah. It makes you appreciate giving people, like -- because you know?
DS: And I'm trying to teach that to my son. He's going to be ten years old, and he's pretty hip to, like, different kinds of people. And you know, if it starts at home --
SR: That's right.
DS: -- then hopefully it will carry on to the next generation and the generation after that and so on. But I can understand people who just have so much hatred in their heart, they just want to kill somebody that's just going to work. And it had nothing to do with you and your beliefs. That's the sad part. But unfortunately, that's reality. That's the way it is.
FC: Do you guys remember when you first saw each other after the attacks or when you knew that Diane was OK?
SR: Well, I...
DS: I didn't come home until the next day.
SR: Yeah, she --
DS: I couldn't get home. I was in Jersey, and they shut everything down. My boss was kind enough -- he got us a hotel room in Jersey City. And I actually didn't see you until the next day.
SR: That's right.
DS: Everybody came over to my mother's house, and we just hugged each other and cried.
SR: Everyone, everyone -- oh, God. It was so --
DS: My mother called up and said to my sister, "Go find your sister." Like she could go find me, you know?
SR: My mother -- I happened to call -- it was, like, 9:02 when I called my mother. And she had the television on, and she was hysterical at that point. And then all of a sudden, I hear, "Oh, my God! There's another one!" And then she started to scream like an animal. And --
DS: Wow. I didn't know that.
SR: -- I mean, she just basically lost it. She lost it. And I just hung up the phone. I left my office. I left my computer on. I left my breakfast there. I just said, "The hell with this! I'm out of here." And I just walked to -- and I got as far -- I walked down 6th Avenue. I was on 24th Street. I got as far as Grand Street, and that was it.
DS: They wouldn't let you get --
SR: Yeah. They were starting to kind of, you know, not let people through. And there was all this, like, parade of people walking up 6th Avenue, like on dust and everything else. It was just --
DS: Oh, boy.
SR: Oh, my God. Like, the faces, like, of shock and everything else. But honestly, when the towers fell, I didn't know if she was alive. And then I actually -- I used to live in the Village, right off of Bleecker Street. And there's an old church there called Our Lady of Pompeii. And I didn't know what else to do. I swear to God, I was going to faint. So I needed to sit down. And also, we were raised Catholic, so it seemed like a very --
DS: Appropriate thing to do.
SR: -- appropriate thing to do. And also --
DS: Go pray!
SR: Your grandmother got those lessons into you all those years. You know, it worked. So --
DS: "Go to church."
SR: "Go to church!" (laughter) But I just --
DS: So you went there --
SR: I just said -- I came out of that church, and I just knew you were OK. I knew it. I knew it in my gut. And then, you know, it took -- and when I got back to my office finally, like, after three hours, there was a message from Michael saying that someone had called and that you were OK. So --
DS: But so you actually didn't know -- when Roger called and said we made it out --
SR: Yeah, he didn't know up until that point. Right.
DS: But then, you know, the towers fell, and then you had to wait again. And then I was thinking --
SR: Well, we didn't know that.
DS: Right. Then I called you when I got to Jersey. But it took hours to get through because the lines were so jammed.
SR: Right. But when we did see each other finally the next day, it was just --
DS: It was --
SR: Oh, my God.
DS: Tears of joy.
SR: I couldn't let go. I couldn't let go.
DS: I borrowed old clothes from Mark, and --
SR: Because she threw all her clothes out.
DS: I had to go across the street to the mall there, the Newport Mall, and buy some shoes because the shoes were all ruined. And cuts on my feet from walking all the way from the pier that we were at all the way to his house, and that was a long walk. People just -- it was weird because people were just -- not weird. It was... People in their cars, listening to the radio.
SR: Yeah. And like -- I mean, in the city, there were literally, like, 50, 100 people gathered around a car stereo or a store or something, like listening to the news.
DS: Yeah. I remember that night we walked, and you could see the World Trade Center -- at the shore there, on the Jersey side. And it was completely black with that smoke still coming out and smoldering. And you could see, like, a little red and a little different colors of orange, just going up to the sky. And just the smell. And then we found a new office six weeks later, and just the smell of death was still in the air.
SR: Yeah. Also, you should also say about your banner from your office.
DS: Oh, yes. They recovered our office banner. It survived. There was tears in it, and it had that smell of -- that smell again of the jet --
SR: Whatever -- the fuel and the --
DS: Whatever it was. But we have it in a glass frame now.
[40:00]
SR: And it's all framed. Yeah, it's in the office. And where's your new office?
DS: Actually, we moved again. Right after the World Trade Center, we went to 20 Exchange. And then from there, we went to 125 Maiden Lane. It's a smaller quarters. But that came with us, though. And they found a couple of things later on. People were still calling us, the police department. And they found some photographs, old photos.
SR: Oh, really?
DS: Yeah, because we had a basement. We had storage area in the basement level. And they found some of our archives. Photos, old photos, and journals and stuff.
SR: That's great.
FC: Is there any kind of closing message you'd like to say?
SR: I'm just glad we did this.
DS: Yeah.
SR: So now I'm actually -- the whole thing for me -- I mean, obviously everyone had a profound reaction to it and what they did after it. But one of the best things I did after that, because I felt like I needed to do something, was I did volunteer work at the New York Historical Society. And I was very, very honored to be included with working with some of the curators there. And I got to see from the inside St. Paul's Chapel when everything kind of became closed to the public, and it was just the rescue folks.
DS: Yeah. That must have been wonderful to experience.
SR: You know, like the first day I got there, it was raining outside. And inside it was just like heaven. There were, like, massage therapists. There was classical music, like live musicians playing. There was food. There were -- just every imaginable -- I mean, I saw one guy smoking in St. Paul's. I mean, it was just like no one's going to ask the guy to put it out. I was just like, wow. It was profound.
DS: Stephanie, thank you for being there for me, honey.
SR: Oh, baby. I love you.
DS: She wrote me a poem about it.
SR: A really bad poem, actually!
DS: No, it was beautiful. I love it.
SR: No, it's -- well, OK.
DS: I love it!
SR: The sentiment was beautiful.
DS: Yeah. It was really great. So, thanks for that stuff.
SR: OK, babe.
[41:52]


Transcript

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00:03 My name is Stephanie Romeo. 46 years old. Today's July 21st a Thursday. Where the World Trade Center sound booth in the PATH station, and I'm talking to my sister today about her experiences on 9/11.

00:24 Hi, my name is Diane Spindler on 44 years old is the 21st of July 2005. We're down here in the booth at the World Trade Center. And this is my sister into giving me.

00:40 So if die I call her. By the way, I'm her full name is Diane but she's always been tied to me. So September 11th my God, we talked about this countless numerous thousands of times. We've cried even laughed. I mean it's kind of hard to believe that but we have this is something that you know, we feel really good about doing and sharing the story especially, you know, you having gone through what you have and sharing it with the world. Basically, that's really cool. So just to start off that means just to go in order. I mean that that morning you woke up you

01:24 I mean like when you woke up that morning anyting well, it is. It actually like a brand new day for me because I just moved into my new apartment and had woke up and it was like a different route. And so I was taking and I was early because where I live before it took me a long time to get to work. So I was happy that I got there early to look people know like I start work at 8:30. Okay. I was living in Staten Island prior to 9/11 moved September 3rd. So September 11th, I was in my new place and got the express buses normally do but it was much earlier and I was so happy that I got to work early cuz I'm I was always late. So what you wanted to 9 I would get to work. I supposed to be there at 8:30. Okay, so so what was early?

02:24 Only do is you know, I talked to my co-workers. I just remember the day cuz it was beautiful out. It was just so clear out and was it a nice day? I feel unhappy it was election day. It was right, you know, I don't know what to expect cuz you know the traffic and you know, just that kind of thing. Upstairs talk to my co-worker. And actually I was standing by his desk name is Ron and all the sudden the the building just the four things a loud noise tremendous sound that and the building actually suede that I was standing up and I actually was falling over and my coworker wrong with sitting and yet you stood up and cut it like grab me. What the hell what the hell is that? And

03:16 We will all like in a panic at that point because there was some things in the World Trade Center had long windows from ceiling to floor and I was standing up and I can just see things flying in the air. It wasn't like like big things and I forgot what it was and I must have been a generator or something that that Creston that fell on the roof or it was just so we couldn't figure out what it was and you should say to that, you know the floor you are one World Trade Center 21st floor, which was the north to ya 2161 was the sweet. I want to name of your company. I work for and still do United to see my service. It's a nonprofit organization for merchant seamen, we have social clubs overseas in New York is the headquarters of this organization. So I think we're 11 people in the office at that time.

04:16 The one person was on jury duty and another person started work at 9 so much. I will we will all in at that time when the plane hit at 10 to 9 the first state made it was a 10 to 9 or something like that. Yeah, so then Ron ran out. I'm so sorry that we would get like phone calls. Hold up a meeting of hang up the phone to the hallway cracks in the wall. And he figured all this is bad because we experienced the first a bombing in 1993 and I just said to one of my co-workers cuz I'm in love for the first time. So I remember my boss was saying, okay buddy out everybody out. So we got out of him go to the to the front door and I could have broke down and like oh my God.

05:11 I was starting to cry that was really bad girls went out for a run at last we went to the stairwell and was organized people were like pretty calm the lights were on but never knew what they don't have lice before rights. The first one it was completely dark and and

05:39 I'm going down the steps at that time was is getting the smoke was getting heavier and heavier. You can breathe this time clear. The lights are on but that smell it was like yeah, it was only I never smelled before it was like burning hair or I mean you can't describe it described it. I was with my coworker a woman named Eileen and believing that we like the same height. We're very short and she held my hand on the whole 21 flights of steps. So we got down to the the end you see fireman coming up no notice. I think it was still early, you know at that time cuz we got down there pretty fast if I don't feel like 20 minutes to get down and it's ya down to the the plaza level with a big sphere was that's the Plaza

06:38 Getting down there and seeing the plaza with all these different things that were unrecognizable and I was talking on the phone. I said that look like tree trunks, you know, it must have been like like bodies that were Birds but I didn't then glass a lot of things. I can't I don't want to look because I could say walk walk walk out going down the steps to the water was Rising. I don't know that what do you mean there was water on the floor on the steps? Yeah, my coworker took my shoes off and let it go by because some music

07:29 They're going to push us along. I couldn't see in my other coworkers at that time. The other girls kind of weather front of us and we lost sight of them. I don't know where the men were but I know that they were behind me later on cuz they told me they were behind me got out through Plaza seen all that debris know that class around the security guards and come on move it move it. They went they were there, you know a guy that you see every day going through the turnstiles to go up when your ID I remember seeing familiar faces and then they told us go through the Marriott Hotel Broken Glass all over then. We got to the end and the guy so I'm sorry with a Windows of the Marriott broken. I mean was it because it was inside? All right.

08:14 We got to go through this revolving door wasn't inside right outside yet. So that was shattered just through the revolving door and just say was just a broken tonight. I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot of details but but getting out to the Applause going through the Marriott Hotel. The security guard said, he's telling about to go out one by one and he was like when you go out don't look up to cover your head while of course, you know, what I did was I look up because I wanted to see what the hell is coming out of my head and my coworker was in front of me and when you looked up with you say, you know, what the bright Sun it was just so beautiful, but the smell and and

09:08 Just alarms going off. Just people screaming people running. I did it then it just kept running enough. Cuz then I have a heart condition night. I couldn't breathe and I was trying to run a check on come on. Come on run we run down West Street to Liberty Street. So when you're out coming out of the hotel and then I went she's really fast, but I couldn't catch up to her because of my condition I was a kid and I think I was just probably in shock at that point, you know nervous when he says something's going to fall on your head. I was like looking up and you know running Ruth stop playing.

09:54 I said to myself by Selena solo. What is it doing? You're not thinking that it'll like it was going to be hitting the building and then next thing I knew as soon as you look at them as you look up you can't really see because so high but the next thing I knew the plane went into the building the sound was loud and I kind of just froze there. I couldn't move your literally like right underneath it to well Bridge. Well, it was pretty close and I just kind of like, I think I was just paralyzed with fear at that point or in shock one of the other I know I couldn't run anymore. I couldn't catch my breath. I was like my pain in my chest was was pounding and I was just just stood there like a statue.

10:45 Do your on West Street? Yeah, I remember looking up at the sky to face and his mouth was open and at that point I couldn't hear any more. I became deaf. Yeah, I know that and I had my menstrual cycle and it's almost like I I had like a hemorrhage like my whole body just went through this whole working. I guess I was in shock, but then I kind of like wake up like is to run so she ran so I found them he was on silence Eileen yet that she's helped me a lot. She stay with me we run down the street Albany Street, which is one of those skinny streets. Now when you pass Western crossover bright and

11:35 I remember just people just screaming. Hello. Remember the shoes there was a lot of shoes on the street. I was like what the hell did all these shoes come from in like

11:46 And just people screaming and just being in a daze people Gathering coming out cuz I need when you go into Battery Park City, there's some stores there's some restaurants right people. Just just getting out in the crowd people running to pay phones people trying to get people on their cell phones.

12:11 Then then we just stood there, like freaking out. Like what should we do? I think I think I tried say let's go to pay phone too long of a line with the next one to gather my thoughts and what to do and so I'm just Theresa Juno like this something was really I mean something if this was an accident basically you knew that something was really bad like this, you know, I don't think that way at all you never thought you'd want the second we didn't have the first plane hit exactly to know that I don't know that plane hit the the building that you were in. Yeah, but then you kind of like to figure that out then we decided I said to her let's go my boss lives in Battery Park City. I said, let's go there. Maybe they went there.

13:00 And I remember the story later on my co-workers the men were they told him to stop because see the plane hit Tower 2 right before the end. They were at the door and the whole building Shook and they know if they were going to get out, but then finally they let them out. So that was so a couple of them.

13:22 Ended up. We all went to Rogers house with my boss. We waited there for a little bit and all of us. Are we sore eyes are itchy. And I saw Mark and Rodger my boss and I was like so happy to see all the hug and I know my boys to the apartment but his security said nobody's going up stairs are less you live here. So he's okay. Give me give me all your numbers. I'll call you family. So he's like trying to like the phone numbers and disobey. What number is he always messing them up and put them all that information and then

14:03 And then he went upstairs and in the process of calling us our families. In the meantime. We went into this in the back of his believe the courtyard and it's all the residents there were gathering and whoever people from maybe the office at world financial center is right over there who knows the people that did people like we're all over the place and just kept looking up at the towers and I remember sitting on this little beautiful little bench. Me and Eileen were just sitting there just kind of like gather your thoughts and Mark was there for a little bit and he walked away and was sitting on the bench is facing opposite of phases of water. No K facing the opposite of the World Trade Center, right? So, I don't know who just like turn around like this looking and all of a sudden

14:57 We were looking at it and all the sudden you hear this description do this kind of like

15:06 And like getting faster, you know and you seen the building coming down and we just stood there. I just see what you were sitting and yeah, we stood up when we saw that then we actually stood up and then I mean, I don't know how long it took the whole building to come down, but maybe I can space cuz I watched it from the street and it was silent from where I was I was on 6th Avenue Ray's Pizza on like 11th Street between Avenue and I'll never forget it was so shocking. I thought of going to faint. Yeah, it was hard and just you know, I saw the building's on fire. I knew that something was really bad, but you did never ever ever imagine that happening and everyone around me was just going oshit. Oh, yeah, I guess that's all they keep saying and

16:02 I am God, I almost lost my mind. It was just my thought was like I knew you on the 21st floor. I knew that you got out. I mean you were there or 93 you knew what to do all those people but that was shocking and that made me feel like oh my God is my sister dead. I didn't know and I saw that big ball ball and look like something from a sci-fi movie is so surreal. So you can't believe it's happening. I guess I have to start coming down then then we buy to run. I guess. I'm a delayed reaction, you know, we start to run we lost sight of Richie. We lost item Ark is it was just her and I of course Rogers upstairs in his apartment and the next thing I know we're starting to run and a big ball of whatever it was coming out. I was like, you know, like I'm attacking us if you felt like you were being attacked by an alien and

17:00 And then we were running in like this look like a wall over here with biggie Shrubbery so you can go that way Straight Ahead was another one and then Mark we saw his face and he just had his arms out and he just

17:18 Gavetas en I will one and he was on the other end and he just grabbed Us in it, but that's why nothing was on top of us and we could have like he was in the water. The whole thing came over us and it turned out he said he said was God be with us and I will put my face in his armpit and I had my my my metal Auto is holding on to that and I was I was trying to think of a prayer that he remarried and I just thought of my son and I was just I just just his name and and and then then I'm going to die cuz I won't be able to breathe in this and this came over me. Like I said, okay. I'm going to go.

18:18 I feel blessed because I wasn't alone, you know, and I just thought of Michaels.

18:25 I'm so happy that I was with somebody else like it wasn't alone and

18:30 Just silent and

18:34 Next thing I know is completely dark and stood there and

18:40 We just stood there and Mark was like

18:44 I think I see the sky. I think I think it's a sky update to see some of the Blue Sky. He said I think it's clearing. I think it's clearing. It was like a miracle because like the wind just like this big thing that we were in I just shifted to the left and the next thing we know it was like prior to that big thing come over it was it was it was like like white smoke gray smoke black smoke. That's what it was cuz we will look at our feet and then you could just see, you know, you can see any more kind of thing. That's what that was like your eyes just and then I think I truly I think I shut my eyes cuz I didn't know I just wanted to close my eyes and just

19:30 So then okay, so there's there's light and then you know, you guys you can see each other whenever I open then the sound clear around us coughing crying vomiting a baby's cry.

19:50 Voices come this way in like distant, you know, cuz that are that we wasn't that heavily with people it wasn't like electrical because it was a residential right?

20:14 The next thing we know is as everything clears out.

20:18 Is a boat right there by the water's edge and some guy you must have been a worker. He must have been some kind of guy that escaped from work or whatever. He comes to my girlfriend Eileen like an angel. I don't know where he's has come this way about him and get on this boat. The Mexican woman should have been a nanny that baby wrapped in the blue and pink kind of blanket. I remember an older woman white hair like in a bun.

21:04 With a like a tank top today was gashed blood coming from my head. Let me just say one thing. I know that might Mortal Kombat ice remember from talking tomorrow cuz we did I did talk to him after that many times in the end. He told me basically that you guys were saved because the world financial center are big buildings latest Clips or yeah. Oh, yeah if there was no pie for the people, right, you know those poor people who are under an area that was not no hitting a suorin clothes or whatever and I mean my God, I heard like, you know things the size of Buicks, I mean hunks of I mean just things I saw at the plaza level like just probably think of Steel desk and like furniture and you know, do you know girders are everything you can imagine?

22:04 Building a building and what's in it? It's just something you were lucky. Yeah, very lucky so that when did you realize the

22:16 I mean, it's okay you got all right. So the guy says come with me and you can go so they were they were firemen, but they were like working on this to restore the old fire boat that they were working on. It's actually a famous boat in this. I forget the name of it that James Henry the James Henry was called. Yeah, baby something after that. I have an article to the New York Times you a story about a head onto and

22:49 Yeah, so that was the boat that you write over single now hit the people on this boat. I think they would try to get the injured on first and then they got a song. I remember it was a very high wall and then has a fence around it and I'm short that I had it like jump over and then it was a big jump then from the boat to this to that fence. Right and I'm going to push me down and hit my ass.

23:25 Coworkers

23:36 Oh God, so so you basically worse and it's crowded and people are stoned and the people people talking or they just kind of quiet or what was it was a lot of chatter just say anything. I was speechless. I feel like maybe I was it all then Sonia it was in my lungs and the people coughing and throwing up maybe they inhaled a lot of that stuff. But well I kept doing in the sea. I just kind of made me sneeze it out.

24:21 So I was actually lucky I think that the boat was there and then what happened to Mark was like now just in case this boat sinks. He said that my God. Oh my God. I'm going to die today for nothing, but I'm going to die in the water and then it's going to put a lot of time because that's what he is a realist.

24:56 Dude, that way I would never have wonderful, but I would never never see him or whatever the fire boat and Mark thankfully lives in Jersey City. So you guys have a place to go. Yeah, I was going but we figured we're going to the Jersey area area right his life jacket on me. Like I'm going to die.

25:29 Okay guy, I'm laughing about this crying for days after I was a mess. But I remember you saying that you guys are on the boat and you looked towards the city and Rise when we heard it again the same the crescendo again.

25:55 I would come believe it lost all Tower but I love it when I was I love that place so much.

26:03 You was there for how long and how many years was a great place to work you so so many different kinds of people as I get at that time. I didn't do much traveling but didn't have to because I must have seen every nationality that was pleased to come from everywhere. There's a great place to work and wants it. There's a city-within-a-city, you know downstairs and then The Concourse level and did you did you find out about people who didn't make it and yeah the staff of the building and some of my co-workers like that friendly with a lot when the Port Authority who worked up in the windows of the world friend of mine was a lot a lot of friends that he knew you'll people worked in the cafeteria hours.

26:53 And the restaurant part I remember one particular person in our business people could come in and donate books cuz we send them out to sea for the merchant marines and there was one particular anywhere for the Port Authorities to come in once a week with all these magazines and all these books and and I would have to write a receipt for him and you always make me laugh and I found out he died later I felt so bad. He was in the elevator. I heard stories later on about just people the elevator in the end just a fuel just coming down off of Main people flyer in the end survived. Yeah. I heard stories one man was in the the The Concourse and the fire came down.

27:40 And when is the revolving door like? Yeah, just crazy things. I mean, I think compared to what cuz the news or not. I believe me for a whole year after that. I couldn't I couldn't get enough World Trade Center stories. I had to hear everyone and I bought magazines and newspapers and I listen to the you know, all the media and everything and I just after a while I was just so much but I just remembered just these these horrible stories of people, you know pieces of bodies, you know stream for the streets and eat all the people trying to get by and Ino and oldest Christmas is happening around them is like, how do you how do you as a human being react to something like that to me? Like it's like you were in war because of the soldier you kind of expect to see some terrible things. But as a civilian had no clue you went to work that day and then all of a sudden there are like they're deaf around you.

28:40 Bodies around you and I'm worse. I mean I just I still I still can't get over that thought that those two huge buildings are gone now and I mean we're sitting right at the at the seat of them and you know coming out of PATH station, you'd go up the escalator whatever and Concourse area and now you come out of the you come out of the subway here and you have light and air I tried to recall where things were every time I walk by here like whatever that what that that's where I'll FedEx used to be that's where I used to go down there for doing recon moved cuz they were missing a whole renovation, you know, they bring only substitute scale stores and it was going to be wonderful and also I just reminded me of Like Larry Silverstein who was the you know, the owner of the Trade Center and on and actually have a copy of it at home cuz you let me and gave me a copy of to rent to September 10th.

29:40 I got in one of his rent for September. Would you just didn't know it was recorded, but honestly, I had a kind of a very strange.

30:10 I had a really strange experience. It was actually three weeks before September 11th is a Tuesday. My friend Samantha was visiting me from LA and she came out and spent the week with me and I remember waking up that mornings 22nd and I heard planes and they were really really loud and when I asked her later if she heard the plane she said no, I didn't make plans and I had very extremely vivid dreams and in the dream, which I keep a journal as well. So I write dreams down. I wrote The Stream down of tower is crumbling and that we weren't hurt and I didn't say who we were I didn't know who we is me and somebody LR. I don't know.

30:56 And but we are okay and that but the thing was that I knew that it was not a natural disaster. It was and I wrote this it was a military action. Okay. So that was I woke up that morning 24 22nd of August that day. I went Sammy I went to Century 21 to go shopping and I said, you know what my sister works right across the street won't we go say homework in 10 years. You never came to visit me after I was so thrilled never.

31:31 The security was extremely tight and actually and your co-workers came in and scored a really nice. Yeah, and we went up there we saw, you know, you're beautiful Wide Open office and gorgeous conference area right way and yeah Samy's Camera snapping pictures and basically my friend photographed your Escape Route. So the thing was that I didn't realize what I wrote until three weeks after September 11th amazing, but we love New York so much you feel like connected to it. Oh my God, it made me I will never forget the profound profound sense of sadness connection with people.

32:31 Yeah, we're looking people looking you in the eye in the Subway on the street. And Union Square was just like I can't even put into words. How does the love Vibes out there with just so strong and just the worst day of humanity and the best day of humanity born here and I ain't leaving, you know, I've lived elsewhere but I've always come back and it's it's sort of sad thing that today, you know London head bombing today to thank God no one was killed but it was two weeks, you know two weeks ago. That's another six people were killed on the subway there. I lived in London myself, and I I remembered very very distinctly. The neighbor I lived in with the East End and there was a church across the way from my apartment building and it's still had the foot and the dirt from the bombs in 1941 or 19.

33:31 With a blitz was and I said to myself while you know, these people experience war on their own terms and you know a lot on September 11th, you did me did so, you know, I don't forget that. I can't you can't forget the good part about my company that we all survived, you know, that was in like all those people. Yeah, my friend work from washing McLennan and they lost 267 people and then there was Kenneth Charles which is 700 or so. I just it's just mind-boggling but it really I mean it's really brought so many people because it was so much love and it's unfortunate that our government politicians did nothing about it. They didn't use they didn't they didn't use all those good feelings of of solidarity the way it goes.

34:24 That's for another time.

34:32 But

34:34 It's it's I just know if you feel blessed that you were that people didn't walk around like off so they were in a daze again and but there was so much. I mean I feel connected with people, you know, you definitely change the way you think the way you feel you just have to appreciate every day and just love the people that you with or even strangers you just like hey, you don't you don't you don't have to hate me cuz I'm white or a black gum on list of that. But what religion you are, you know, that's what I learned. Really, although I wasn't really like that to begin with but even more so it makes people like cuz you know who my son is going to be 10 years old and he's pretty hips feel like different kinds of people on you know, if it starts at home, you know, then hopefully Carry On to the Next Generation generation after the end someone but I can understand people who just have so much hatred in their heart. They just want to kill some of the juice

35:34 Go to work and have nothing to do with you and your from your beliefs. That's the sad part but a bunch of that's reality. That's the way it is.

35:46 Just remember when you first saw each other after the attacks?

35:51 Well, I

35:54 I didn't come home till the next day. I couldn't get home. I was in Jersey and they shut everything down. My boss was kind enough. He got us a hotel room in Jersey City and

36:06 And I actually didn't see you till the next day. Right? Everybody came over to my mother's house. And we just hugged each other. I cried Gotye. It was my mother called up and said to my sister go find your sister, but she could go find me and my mother I happen to call it was like 9:02 when I called my mother and she had the television on and she was hysterical that point and then all of a sudden I hear. Oh my God, there's another one and then she started to scream like an animal and I didn't know that I lost it. She lost it and I just hung up the phone. I left my office with my computer when I left my breakfast there. I just said the hell with this. I'm out of here and I just walked on it. I got as far I would walk down 6th Avenue. I was on 24th Street. I got as far as Grand Street and that was it and they will let you get yeah, they were starting to kind of, you know, not let people through and I'm all this like parade of people walking up 6th Avenue on dust and every

37:06 Oh my God, look at that face is like I'm shocked and everything else, but I honestly wouldn't when the when the first when the towers fell by I didn't know if she was alive and then I actually used to live in in the village right off of Bleecker Street, and there's an old church. They're called Our Lady of Pompeii and I didn't know what else to do. I swear to God I was going to faint so I need to sit down and also we were raised Catholic so it's probably at work, so I'm going but I knew it and do it right. And then you know it took that and when I got back to my office finally after 3 hours, there was a message from Michael saying that you know someone it called in the UK.

38:06 So was he didn't know when Rodger call and say we made it out there. He didn't listen to that point but then you know that the towers fell and then you had to wait again and then have to go. I didn't know we didn't know that I called you when I got to Jersey Walt it took hours to get through because of the lines was so jammed. But when we did see each other files next day was just oh my God, she isn't July let go.

38:32 And I borrow clothes from Mark and she throws I had to go across the street to the mall in Newport mall and buy some shoes because the shoes are all ruined and cuts on my feet from walking from all the way from the pier that we were at all the way to his house. And that was a long walk will just it was weird cuz people just not where it was people in the cars. Let's listen to the radio and then like, I mean in the city, I mean they're like literally like 50s a hundred people I gather on a car stereo or a store or something like this was the news. I remember that night and you can see, you know, the World Trade Center at the shore there on the Jersey side and it was completely blow that smoke still need to see like a little red in a little different colors of orange and just going up to the sky and the smell and then we find new office.

39:32 6 weeks later and just the smell of death was still in the air. Also. You should also say about the your banner from your banner survived there was tears in it and had that smell out of that smell again, whatever it was, but can we have it we have it in the last frame and no frame jobs in the office new office. I think we moved again right after the World Trade Center. We went to the 20 Exchange. And then from there. We went to 125 Maiden Lane the smaller quarters, but I was that came with us though. They in they found a couple of things later on people are still calling us the police department and they found some photographs all photos. Really? Yeah because we had a basement we had storage area in the basement level and they found or arcelor archives photos.

40:32 Photos of stuff

40:40 I just glad we did that. Yeah, I know. I'm actually the whole thing for me. I mean, I'll obviously everyone had a profound relate, you know reaction to it and what they did after it. But I one of the best things I did after that. I felt like I needed to do something was I did volunteer work at the New York Historical Society and I was very very honored to be included with the doing some of that working with some of the curators there and I got to see the up on the inside of st. Paul's Chapel when everything kind of became close to the public and it was just the rescue dogs sense of smell like the first day I got there it was raining outside and inside it was just like heaven they were like massage therapist. There was the classical music would like live musicians playing that was food. There were just I mean every Imagine by one guy smoking in St. Paul's and he was like, no one's going to ask the goddess and put it out. I was just like wow it was it was profound Steffi. Thank you for being there for me, honey. Love you poem about it.

41:40 Bad poem I know it's beautiful. I love it. I love it was beautiful. It's really great.