BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: In Depth: NYC Out of the ashes  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
NYC Out of the ashes Friday, 21 December, 2001, 10:55 GMT
A survivor's story
BBC correspondent Stephen Evans was in the World Trade Center at the time of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Here he looks back at what happened to him on that day and reflects on life in New York city since.

Select the link below to watch:

  56k  

I was meeting an economist for an interview at 9.30am in the Marriott Hotel, which was the brace between one World Trade Cente and two World Trade Centre.

So in effect I was at the bottom of the second tower to be hit. You felt the walls shudder and all this smoke descended and everybody filed out in quite an orderly fashion really.


I don't think many people realised the danger that they were in

Nobody really knew what on earth was going on. Nobody really assumed anything that untoward had happened.

Even the people who had actually seen the aircraft go into the building, I don't think thought those buildings were going to fall down.

Confusing blur

People filed out in a very orderly fashion. I can remember an old lady being very, very slow going down the stairs and she said, "No, no, you go past me", to other people who wanted to move faster and people behind her said "No, no, no, we'll wait for you".

It was very, very orderly and very, very safe. We assume - I assume - that you're never really in danger because the authorities won't let that happen.

I don't think many people realised the danger that they were in.

It took quite a long time to realise what had happened. Even on the day, it was just a blur of adrenaline and confusion within your own mind.


More than three months after, it remains a sad city

I think it started to get to me about a week later when I started getting frightened by the sound of buses going over those very thick metal plates which they put on the road here - or a certain kind of thudding sound of metal and air rushing - started to get to me and it still gets to me.

Having said all that though, of all the people - 40,000 people in those two building in that complex. I must have been the best placed of any of them to get out.

So my experience was as nothing compared to most of those people - certainly the people who were trapped and the people who died - no doubt about that. But it still gets to you.

Citizens reach out

I suppose I was lucky - had I got there earlier I was toying with the idea of going up to the restaurant on the top of one World Trade Center - so there was that sort of element of luck.

I think the thing that stays with me is the way in which the city changed and the way the city coped with it. You saw it in all kinds of small ways.


It's basically a numbed, stunned city even now I think - not a joyful city at all

The bar I go to in the East Village near where I live, on the second night everybody went into that bar, the bar tender caught their eye as they came through the door and watched them coming straight to the bar and shook them by both hands and said how are you.

Bereaved city

There were all these kind of ways in which ordinary people rubbed shoulders together and got very, very polite. It's actually a very polite city anyway - strange to think - but it got much more human and much more polite in those days afterwards.

I think, more than three months after, it remains a sad city - it feels like a bereaved city. This sounds like a cliché - it feels like a family that's lost a member or a few members.

Laughter doesn't come easily in the streets. People aren't grouchy with each other in quite the way they were before. It's basically a numbed, stunned city even now I think - not a joyful city at all.

Links to more NYC Out of the ashes stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more NYC Out of the ashes stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes