On September 11 I was living in New York City, two miles from where the Twin Towers stood. I remember voting that morning, as it was Primary Election Day. I remember walking to work. I remember my boss coming in to my office to tell me the towers are falling and I should go home. I remember how crowded yet quiet the sidewalks were. I remember spending the rest of the day sitting on my bed crying. I remember thinking about dinner. I don’t know how to cook. I usually ordered in or went out. I regained some composure around 8 PM. I opened my apartment door to find the hallway full of smoke. A neighbor down the hall saw me and yelled “The building’s on fire. The fire department is here.” I went back inside. The only food I kept in my apartment was a can of soup for emergency colds. That night for dinner I had a can of soup.
I remember a lot more details about that day and the days that followed. I still cry when I think about them.
On September 12 I had dinner with my friend Jesse. As the police would not allow anyone below 14th Street who didn’t live in that area, as Jesse did, he came to my place on 16th Street. We figured we’d see if any restaurants in Chelsea were open.
Not only were almost all restaurants along Eighth Avenue open, they were packed. Music was playing. People were laughing. That may sound strange to people not there, but amidst all the horrendousness, amidst the postings of missing people that started to cover all available wall space, amidst the stench that worked its way uptown and permeated our neighborhood, people were celebrating life and friendship.
I’ll never forget what my city was like on September 11. I’ll never forget that night of September 12 either. Life is fleeting. Take advantage of being alive. Celebrate.
Every Friday Tunes du Jour celebrates life with a dance playlist. We kick off this week’s party with Moby, who turns 50 years old today.
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