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Tuesday, 11 September, 2001, 23:40 GMT 00:40 UK
Attacks paralyse New York
People make their way amid debris near the World Trade Center
Panic-stricken New Yorkers faced a transport nightmare
By BBC News Online's David Schepp in New York

The thousands of New Yorkers who poured into the streets of Manhattan following the crash of two airliners into the World Trade Center towers have settled into the grim reality that their worlds have forever changed.

Even before it was known what had happened, shopkeepers had shut up shop and a normally bustling New York was brought to a standstill as onlookers gaped at huge TV screens or gathered around truck radios.

People flee lower Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge in New York
People fled Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge
Shortly after the first plane crashed into the north tower, tunnels and bridges into Manhattan were shut down for security measures, and commuters from New Jersey watched helplessly from the west as the towers smoked in the distance.

After the towers' collapse, many people ran frightened northward into New York's SoHo and Greenwich Village neighbourhoods.

Bands of pedestrians

They joined teams of others, marching up New York's major avenues towards Times Square and other destinations.

Normally brusque Manhattanites lined up to donate blood after an emergency plea by health officials due to dwindling supplies. Others did what they could to help lost drivers find their way around police blockades.

Telephone networks throughout the city were jammed solid at times as desperate New Yorkers attempted to call friends and family, either to try to find out what had happened or reassure loved ones.

In a city full of mobile phones - now rendered near-useless by network congestion - long queues formed at payphones.

Verizon, the main New York phone company, has now said that it will make all 4,000 of its public payphones in the city free "for the duration of the current emergency", and unlike in normal times would lift the bar on incoming calls.

In a city not known for its innocence, it would nevertheless appear that much of that has been lost, along with many lives.

As the afternoon hours dwindled into evening, New Yorkers tuned into radio and TV stations for advice on how to get home.

Transport nightmare

Some New York city subways had been shut down and others had only limited service. One line, the Path train, which operates into and out of Manhattan from New Jersey, was shut down completely.

Additionally, commuter railway lines heading north and east to New York suburbs had limited service, although Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station remained open.

Tunnels and bridges remained partly shut and New York's three major airports - La Guardia, Kennedy and Newark in New Jersey - remained closed.

Commuting to and from Manhattan Island even on a good day can be a hassle, and Tuesday's events put New Yorkers in a quandary - how to get about?

Wednesday holds a new set of challenges and questions for New Yorkers: Will trains and subways run? Will Wall Street and its financial markets reopen? Will New York once again be safe?

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.

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