The memories of today are clearer than any other day. It was a beautiful Tuesday and I got to work early. Was in the train yard in Canarsie about 5 miles away from the towers as the crow flies.
I finished going through the train yard and decided to take a break. I head to the crew room and the tv was static. I said to a motormen what happened to the tv. They said a small plane hit the WTC and it knocked the tv signal out.
I immediately knew it was a terrorist attack. Years of living by JFK I know that no plane is ever gonna hit a building, a pilot would put it in the water first.
Lower Manhattan is like a no fly zone because of a few reasons but the approach to Laguardia and Newark being so close it is rare a jet or a small plane would be flying there. The exception is the tourist helicopters and small planes but they fly over the river.
The guys say to me you can look out the bathroom window and see the smoke. I go there and watched the second plane hit.
My first thought was to call home and let my family know where in the subway I was working since I bounced around a lot. Called Mom and she told me that my brother Eddie was working in the towers and they were waiting to hear from him.
Within a few minutes they shut down the subway trains from heading to Manhattan. I called the main office and they told me to go home.
I took the train to work and now they weren't running. Had to start walking. Luckily caught a bus down to Canarsie Pier. The Belt parkway was jammed going to Manhattan. Very strange to see Long Island fire trucks in Brooklyn heading towards the city. No traffic at all going towards Long Island. Walked about 5 miles to Howard Beach and my brother Bobby picked me up.
He let me know they heard from Eddie and he was ok. Covered in dust when the building fell but he was on his way to Brooklyn walking over the Brooklyn bridge to my sister in laws job.
Lost 3 friends that day. Could have been a lot more since our town ambulance went there and got crushed when the buildings fell. The 4 guys on the ambulance were missing for hours. 2 guys got cancer and one has passed at around 45 years old. This attack is still killing people and that makes me sad.
One of the first photos I ever took was me standing between the two towers looking up. Little did I know I would be taking photos later on in life. Speaking of photos, the iconic one of the 3 firemen carrying the flag. One of them is George Johnson. He was on one of the softball teams I played on. Kind of a different perspective when you know one of the guys in the photo. Makes it much closer to home.