My 9/11 – How Alcohol Saved My Life

 

It was 9/9/2001, the Sunday before I had my friend’s Wedding in Chinatown. So far so good. I went to pick up my girlfiend (purposely misspelled) in Long Island only to hear that she wasn’t going due to a sprained ankle. After kissing her ass for a half hour we finally left for the city.

 

The wedding was great except for the protesters in front of the hall and no alcohol to be seen. I needed to get drunk after dealing with my girlfiend. Actually, traditional Chinese Weddings do not provide alcohol. So, being a good friend of the groom,  I set out to find some booze. I dragged two of the guys with me and bought an ample of alcohol for our table. Believe it or not, this is not frowned upon at Chinese Weddings. Actually, the entire Wedding party consumed at least half of our bounty.

 

The next day 9/10  Monday my girlfriend and I took Monday off and went to lunch. We rode the NY Waterway ferry to WTC in lower Manhattan. On the ferry, she said she had never seen the Twin Towers in their entirety.  From New Jersey, there weren’t many buildings to obstruct the view. Why I said it I don’t know, but it still haunts me to this day. I said imagine if a plane hit the WTC. She said that would never happen, so I told her about the plane that hit the Empire State Building many years ago. She didn’t believe me. We went to lunch and got drunk. She eventually went home and I ferried back to Hoboken.

I met friends at Texas Arizona and continued drinking. Later that afternoon I remembered a scheduled interview with Morgan Stanley the next morning 9/11. At the time I was working at Paine Webber as a Financial Consultant and Morgan Stanley was trying to recruit me. I had no interest but I gave in to meet anyway, but I was looking for any excuse to cancel.  My solution was inebriation. Just before 5pm, I called my office and told my assistant to cancel.  Problems solved and back to the bar I went until midnight before going home.

On 9/11 Tuesday I woke up late and the cleaning lady was banging on my door. I heard my phone ringing off the hook.  The cleaning lady said my girlfriend was on the phone. I picked up and she told me a plane crashed into one of the towers and everybody thought it was an accident. I told her it was no accident because on the TV I watched as the second plane hit. Then I knew I was on borrowed time.

I ran out of the apartment to the PATH Train which nobody was trying to do except me. Reason being my sister worked in my office and my girlfriend worked at Paine Webber. I ran to my friend’s check cashing business and cashed a check for a few thousand because I was going to charter a boat to get across. No luck in Jersey City or Weehawken.  The cops were blocking any point of entry to NYC.  No phones were working so I just had to wait. I found out the next day my sister and her co-workers walked back to Brooklyn over one of the bridges. The LIRR was running so my girlfriend made it home as well.

I ran into friends on Pier A which was packed and jets flew overhead as everyone panicked. They thought it was the same people responsible for what had just happened.  The rest of that day and week was a blur as I tried coming to grips with what had actually happened and desperately trying to contact those that I knew who worked in the towers.   Sadly, there were friends of mine who would never make it out.

Like millions of others, I’ll never forget the events on that tragic day and the heroes who sacrificed their lives trying to save others.

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