It’s still hard to wrap your brain around the fact it’s been 22 years since 9/11. It’s still hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that I was in NYC on 9/11. I wanted to share my story, it’s important to never forget. September 11, 2001, was the first day of my internship at Epic Records in NYC. I was beyond excited. I felt like “I made it.” I was about to work at one of the biggest record labels in New York City! I was a student at Drexel and was living in Park Town Place in Philly near the Art Museum. I remember what I was wearing – a long sheer floral top, with black pants, and a black cami underneath. I walked from Park Town to 30th Street Station, and because I couldn’t afford Amtrak (the internship wasn’t paid and I don’t have rich parents) I had to take SETPA to Trenton, switch trains, and take NJ Transit to Penn Station. I was supposed to get on the 6:37a train to Trenton, but was confused and ended up missing it, so I got on the 6:50 a.m. train instead.
I got to Trenton and hopped on the 7:37a to Penn Station. At some point, people’s phones started ringing and there was a panic. I heard someone say terrorism and Osama Bin Laden, but I honestly was completely ignorant and had never even heard the name before. I was sitting at the window on the right side of the train and I looked out and saw the Towers on fire. The man next to me leaned over and said “I work on the 84th floor. I overslept today.” By the time we pulled into Penn Station, I still had no idea what was happening. I thought about turning around and going back to Philly, but I didn’t want to seem like a bad employee, so I got off the train and headed out of Penn Station. Epic was in the Sony Building at 55th & Madison, I didn’t know how to use the subway yet so I hailed a cab. The cabbie had the radio on and as we drove uptown from Penn Station, we heard the Towers collapsed. The city was dark, debris was falling even though we were over 30 blocks from Ground Zero. I finally made it to Epic and went to the 22nd floor. As soon I got there, I said, “I made it!” and one of the assistants, Jordan, looked at me and said, “Get home, get home as fast as you can.” Obviously, I had no idea what to do. Let me add I had a pre-paid cell phone at the time that had 5 mins left. So I left the building and started walking the 30+ blocks back to Penn Station.
I figured that was the best chance to make it home. I remember walking with two women with strollers at one point and then finally was at Penn Station. It was closed. So I just sat there. The lines for the pay phones were blocks and blocks long. A moment like that is strange because your body goes into survival mode because it’s paralyzed by fear. I had no water, no food, and never had to go to the bathroom. At one point I met a woman who randomly also worked at Sony, I wish I could remember her name, and she told me to stay with her until the open Penn Station, and once they do, just look for a sign for Trenton. By the grace of God, Penn Station opened for two hours around 3p. To try and explain what it looked it inside would be too mild. It was the most insane amount of people I’ve ever seen in one space, shoulder to shoulder, terrified. I finally went to the platform and every car was filled until the last one there was a small space, and I jumped in and the train door closed. I got to Trenton, switched trains, and finally as I was on the train back to Philly around 5p I finally had service and was able to use my pre-paid to call home. I’ll never forget when my parents answered the phone and started crying because they literally had no idea where I was. It’s never lost on me that it was a miracle I made it home by 6 p.m., and that so many people did not. ❤️🇺🇸