Where were you when 9/11 happened?

We asked some real New Yorkers

Rebecca, 18, freshman


I was like four and living in New Jersey. My uncle worked in the building next door and my family was terrified. He was five minutes late to work. One of those stories. He was walking towards the building when it happened. He doesn’t talk about it much.

Venkat, 24, Environmental Science PhD


I was in Maryland and 10-years-old. I was in 4th grade. They put the school on lockdown because there was another plane heading to Washington D.C. We were stuck in class and didn’t know what was going on. It was after that we learned what happened.

Ryan, 25, Philosophy junior


I was 11 and it was a Tuesday. I was in Chorus class when the janitor came in and locked the doors. We were whispering about what was going on and they made us stay in school for the rest of the day. We went to Social Studies and the teacher had the TV on so we saw the towers collapse. Both had been hit already.

Rienzi, 22, Mechanical Engineering senior


I was in 3rd grade at school on 70th Street. They let us out to recess and when we came back our teacher sat us down and told us the towers fell. My mom said she saw people in the street covered in soot. We just moved in from the suburbs and heard fire trucks constantly going past for weeks on end. It was difficult to sleep.

Robin, 25, History PhD


I was in Manhattan. I was in a classroom in my middle school and our principal came in to tell us what happened. They put the whole school in a classroom. I just felt confused.

Louisa, 19, and James, 19, sophomores


Louisa: I was in middle school in Midtown West. They made us go home.
James: All they told us was that there was a big fire in the city.

David, 20, Political Science junior


I was driving to school with my dad and we heard it on AM radio. I was in first grade. My dad was mostly shocked. I couldn’t process it.

Louis, 39, painter


I was in Tampa, Florida. I was working in the kitchen and saw it on TV. I had an aunt who worked in the World Trade Center. She was eating breakfast downstairs so she managed to get out. She didn’t talk about it much, she lost some friends that day.

Dr Daniel, 72, Vietnam veteran


I was in Columbia University library and the whole campus hushed. America always felt safe and we believed we were different from the rest of humanity. We always thought we were different. It was a lovely illusion.

Tony, 49, street vendor


I was at my house and I saw it on TV. I went to pick up my niece from school, she was nine. Everything froze, the airports shut down and the news was on constantly.

Eyves Voltaire, 27, bookshop worker


I was in 8th grade at school in the Village. We were close enough to see the smoke in the air. They brought us down to the auditorium and said there was a major fire close by. My dad rode his bike from uptown to pick me up. There was chaos in the streets and a mass exodus to take the subway. We were numb, it was like shell shock.

Eddy, 50, technician


I was in hospital and I saw it in my dream first. Then I woke up and saw it on TV. The towers just went “poof”. It was ridiculous. The second tower dropped faster than the first. There was dust everywhere.