I was sophomore at NYU in a dorm in Chinatown about half a mile from the WTC. The first plane hitting woke me up. I felt it.
My roommates and I watched the towers fall on TV then just stared at each other with empty faces.
About 30 minutes later we were evacuated from the building and took to aimlessly wandering the streets.
We spent most of the day just watching the endless stream of battered faces making their way uptown. Strangers shared cell phones to call loved ones or got together to take turns carrying the disabled and injured.
All in all, I’m was glad I was there.
At one point I was in the intersection of Broadway and Canal Street in a throng of about hundred people. Suddenly the NYPD started screaming for everyone to get out of the street.
As we did, a small pickup truck with four ash-covered firemen in the back raced downtown. The group of pedestrians, who on any other day would’ve cursed each other for getting in their way, broke out in roaring cheers for the firefighters who despite their clear exhaustion only wanted to get back to the site to dig out their buddies.