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Day One Teil 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5 : 6 : 7 : 8

I thought I should write some of this down, figuring it'll come in handy all the way around.
     I'd only been in the office for a couple of minutes when I heard the TV on and everyone going in. We were standing there watching the first tower burn when the second plane hit the other tower. No one knew for sure what had happened, first; from the angle we had you could only see the flames pop out of the second building, and it was only after they took away all the superimposed animation at the bottom of the screen could we see, on the replay, the plane. Even then I had no idea how big it was; with no scale other than the towers themselves, it looked like a Piper Cub and only later, in replays from different angles, could you see what size plane it was.
     The moment when I first felt the adrenalin flowing into my stomach was when they started talking about people starting to jump. There are a couple photos in today's papers showing guys frozen against the still-standing tower wall. The option of no option.
     But right after that the towers collapsed, one after the other. I figured that both would be entirely burned out; just before the first collapse I saw smoke coming up from the bottom and imagined the chimney effect would take hold of both. I even figured that there'd be a partial collapse, eventually. But like everyone else I never expect that the things would just fall in on themselves, completely, after only an hour and a half (sooner in the case of the second tower hit).
     This makes me realize that even in a non-nuclear postwar Manhattan, very little would be left other than two to three hundred feet of rubble, and makes the place feel even less secure than it did.
     The absence of the Towers hasn't begun to sink in yet. I haven't been below midtown, and from 5th & 59th the cloud is visible but nothing much more. On TV, from across the river, it's still very hard to get a grip on exactly what shape things are in. I should imagine that every building in the Tower complex is on the verge of collapse (the ones that haven't collapsed) and the Marriott that stood in between the Towers is on fire. There were some old buildings on almost every side of the towers, including St. Paul's church, the oldest structure in Manhattan; and a small Greek Orthodox church that was the only building in the middle of a small parking lot, right next to the South Tower. The latter I'm sure is smashed flat.
     In the paper today they're saying that the 2,000 degree heat from burning jet fuel just caused the place to melt, basically, to the point where it could no longer stand up by itself.
     They're showing some footage from down there this morning, and the only things that come to mind are Berlin after the war. Stalingrad, London in the Blitz. No other comparisons, and in places this is probably worse. They're saying rubble is one to two hundred feet deep down there.
     This morning they're just really starting to get to survivors. There are apparently some, with mobile phones. The notion of what these conversations contain, and the conversations of the people with the mobiles on the airplanes, are haunting. Of all the things going on, I seriously have not even tried to imagine what these might be like.
     Giuliani says it'll take a week before final totals are known, but I suspect by the weekend it'll be pretty clear.
     Anyway. Yesterday after I left the building I walked home. Took about an hour and a half. Yesterday the weather was beautiful (and today, even more beautiful; NY fall weather at its finest is coming in this week -- the kind of weather you had when you & Graeme were here, just before the wedding -- which just makes all of this all the more grotesque). The crowds were heavy, but not crushing. Many people standing around talking, everyone with a mobile trying to use it, groups gathering around TVs in bars, in stores, looking at the windows on the street at TVs inside. Walking up Broadway was like walking to/from work during the subway strike in 1980. I stopped at Fairway for some groceries, crowded but not overwhelmed. There were a few buses running, all full, but no subways. The bridges and tunnels were sealed. Got to my house. Went back out for groceries around the corner, and that so crowded that we had to stand on line to get in. But finally in, out, and by evening that had lessened.
     With all flights cancelled the only aerial sounds you hear, here, are F-16s. You can't always see them, only hear them.
     At 5:30 I walked over to St. John the Divine to attend the prayer vigil.On the way I passed along several cafes and on the other side of Amsterdam several firemen were walking, and everybody applauded. I can't remember if I've ever gone over there to the cathedral with you. Sat up in the Choir, up at the front, as I got there early -- almost five hundred people eventually showed up. Very lovely organ music and then the priests etc. came up, all in black robes except the main guy who was in cerise. Readings from Isaiah & Luke, and prayers, and then another lovely organ piece. Much stillness, and crying. Then out --
     Back home to find Valeria had made it back. She was calling many people, as was I, the rest of the night.
     This morning came to work. Very creepy feel on the streets. The only time I've ever seen the streets so empty of people and cars has been on Christmas morning, and I swear I think this is even more so. New York's white noise is very different this morning -- no sirens, no airplanes (save for the occasional F-16), very few buses, taxis & next to no private cars. There are cops stationed at all major intersections & subway entrances. The subway was one-third full; my line is the one that goes under the Trade Center and is presently stopping at 42nd.
     Here at work only one entrance is open, and there are only four people in my department in today; and we can basically leave when we want to, having come in (our boss says so). There were 48 emails here, almost all expressions of concern & worry, and only one of which actually requested a galley whilst condoling.
     Clute called last night, & I let him know things were fine; and I imagine Ellen is letting everyone in the UK know.
     I suspect I'm going to stay here till lunch, then go. I am thinking I'll go downtown, as far as I can get.

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