September 11 Digital Archive






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RC Story: Story

I work at NBC in Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan. On September 11, 2001, I arrived at 8:00 am to prepare graphics for the Rosie O'Donnell Show, which taped at 10:00 am. It began like any other morning... An associate producer came in and gave me a list and materials for graphics that were needed for that morning's taping.

I liked to work with the TV off in the morning. I didn't know what had just happened when the producer ran into my room just before 9 am and asked me if I saw what had just happened. "No, what?"

"A plane just crashed into the World Trade Center!" he shouted. I don't recall what I said next, but I do remember jumping up and turning on the TV. Then I saw... the North Tower, burning.

I didn't wait for him to say anything else. "I need to go!" I shouted, as I ran toward the hallway. Maybe they needed help with graphics for news coverage...

No one knew what to do... there was nothing we could do. We all just looked at our TVs in horror. As I sat down at a computer, I heard someone scream that another plane had just crashed into the other tower. Until that moment, we thought that it might have been an accident. Now we knew the horrible truth.

After the plane hit the Pentagon, we heard about the hijacked plane in flight over Pennsylvania. While I was listening to my boss give instructions, there was an announcement from the Rockefeller Center security department over the building P.A. system. We were instructed to evacuate the building. I wasted no time in doing exactly that.

I exited 30 Rockefeller Plaza. This landmark building is on 50th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues... a mile or two north of the Wor;d Trade Center. I walked over to Fifth Avenue and looked south straight down Fifth Avenue. I could see the Twin Towers, both billowing thick, black smoke. I remember thinking, "I know that this is real... but I can't believe that I am really seeing this..." As I continued to watch, I knew that this was the worst thing, the saddest thing that I had ever witnessed.

I felt such a sadness... knowing that as I stood there, watching this from a distance, that a few miles south, unthinkable horror was underway at that very moment...

I walked to a pay phone a called the office upstairs. It was still before 10:00 am. Were we expected to re-enter the building? I wondered. I was told that this was optional. With the U.S. being attacked, hijacked planes being crashed into buildings, there was NO WAY that I was about to go back into 30 Rockefeller Plaza, I decided.

I had been told that all bridges and tunnels into and out of New York City were closed down, as were train and bus stations. Maybe I can get home to New Jersey by boat, I thought. So along with a co-worker who also lives in NJ, I began walking west, toward the Hudson River.

As we walked toward the river, we passed a McDonald's. I suggested that it could be many hours before we had a chance to eat... So I found myself in McDonald's, eating a Quarter Pounder, as thousands of innocent people died, as the Twin Towers collapsed a few miles away. "The Twin Towers have collapsed..." I heard on a TV that was on in the restaurant. It didn't register. Everything was surreal.

We left, and continued toward the river. I headed toward a ferry terminal a few blocks south. There I joined an orderly, hushed line of people. We boarded ferries... no need for tickets...

After the boat was loaded, it left the dock and began the short trip across the river. When it got halfway across the river, lower Manhattan came into view. There, where the World Trade Center was supposed to be, was instead a huge, billowing plume of thick black smoke.

RC Story: Response

Went to give blood. Sadly, they didn't need it.
Donated money to relief efforts in NY.

RC Story: RC Volunteer


RC Story: RC Employee



“rc_story35.xml,” September 11 Digital Archive, accessed March 27, 2023,