Saturday, September 11, 2010


Today, the names are being read. When I turned on the TV they were in the D's, and so I waited for Fire Fighter Dave Fontana's name to be read. He was a member of Park Slope's Squad 1, FDNY. Just a week before, they had a call on our block, Berkeley Place between 5th and 6th Avenues, and he had walked by and spent a few quick moments with Benjamin, who was a toddler at the time and happened to be out on the front stoop with his mother. Dave was, by all accounts, a very good man.

My son's mother lost a close friend that day, too. Laura Rockefeller's family operated a children's theatre company for many years, and after Suzanne and Laura graduated from Syracuse University's Musical Theatre program, they toured together and qualified for their Actors Equity cards. Children's theatre at the time was a good way to get one's card -- through hard work.

Actors' lives in New York often require several hats, and indeed, Laura was at Windows on the World, in the North Tower of the World Trade Center, for a one- or two-day job with Risk Waters, a sadly prophetic name for a risk management consulting firm on that morning.

I wrote a 9-11 related post earlier this year, and you can read it here. Today, I've selected some memories posted on Facebook from various friends, who will remain anonymous.

The son of friends of my parents was working early with a few other members of his department in one of the Twin Towers. After the first plane hit, an announcement was made requesting that everybody remain calm and to not evacuate. This guy decided, perhaps because his wife was pregnant and due at any time, to get himself and all of the people in his department out of the building. He was the last one out and just as he got to the doorway of the stairwell, the second plane hit. The impact knocked him on his back and sucked the oxygen out of the room. Out of breath and dazed he got up and got out. He and his fellow workers got out. As soon as he got two blocks away, the building he had been in collapsed…

The very next day, he was holding his newborn son in his arms.

I was up at the top the Tuesday beforehand at an awards ceremony--brought my son. He wanted to buy souvenirs, and I'm like-forget it, we live here, we'll be back. As we left he turned around and asked 'Could these buildings ever fall down?' I looked back. 'Naaah.'

it was a glowing day as I recall. technicolor, then smoke.

The silence is the thing I remember, watching the buildings fall down without a sound and then seeing the hoards of people coming over the Williamsburg bridge, covered with white dust and not making a sound, like an army of ghosts.

Memories of the sights, sounds, and smells of Ground Zero. Sharp clear awareness of things I should not have to remember. Memories of my friends lost. A sense of thankfullness and 'grace' that I had a wife, daughter, family, and friends to escape to that morning.

I remember leaving work to help out at he blood bank in New Brunswick, there were so may people wanting to help out. After that I always felt that NJ was NY old friend, that when he was in trouble and called NJ, he would showed up with a baseball bat and an attitude of "Unless you kill me all you will do is piss me off!"

At this time 9 years ago I was sitting on the floor of my new loft-apartment at 110 Greenwich Street. A few boxes and plants here and there that I had carried myself in taxis and on the subway since signing the lease on Sept. 1. I was staring out my factory-size windows at the South Trade Tower wondering where I would put my piano and 60,000 vinyl recordings when they arrived on the moving truck in the morning. Of course, they never arrived, and I would never find peace in the city again.

9 years ago at 8:15am I was driving through some of the most beautiful and peaceful country in Pennsylvania on my way to work...it took 30 minutes to get to there...I walked in to the office at 8:45am with everyone watching the Today Show with the first plane hitting the North WTC Tower....God Bless those who died and all those who lost someone in that tragedy.


4 comments:

  1. touching tribute. for all the singing, flagwaving and public prayer services, it's the personal stories that bring it home.

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  2. Beautiful tribute, Blaiser, thank you.

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  3. Such a poignant post, Blaiser. The insights you shared make the day real and not just a news clip. There are no words to add, except thank you for this homage.

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