As I usually do on the morning of a work day, I arose some time around 5am to get ready for work. My preparation for work is pretty standard and routine. I get up make my bed and then hit the shower. After showering I jump on my computer to check for emails and read the newspapers, while of course making myself a cup of tea. Of course, I never leave the apartment without checking on everyone to make sure things are okay.
February 2nd was no different after I got off the J Train on my typical route to work. This particular morning, I stopped at food stand to by breakfast before continuing my route to work. The wind was really howling; much so, that it literally took apart my umbrella which I quickly disposed to the garbage on the corner of Church Street and Worth Street in the Tribeca section of lower Manhattan. As I entered the building at Worth Street I glanced at the huge swaying crane at the corner of Worth Street and West Broadway. Like most pedestrians in that area I didn’t give it much thought other than to acknowledge its enormous size nor did I envisioned that it would come tumbling down 10 minutes after I sat at my work station.
The building on Worth Street was immediately evacuated due to the possibility of gas leaks, water main breaks, possible gas explosions, etc. Law enforcement and fireman quickly directed everyone blocks away, as they said for safety reasons. I was not surprised by so many people on the streets of lower Manhattan. I think initially people were walking around concerned about the possibility of explosions and the possibility of fatalities. Sadly, one person was confirmed dead and several others were injured.
The Manhattan Legal Aid Society works out of three offices in lower Manhattan. It was great to learn that our borough supervisor was calling around attempting to get confirmation that everyone at the Worth Street office was accounted for and fine. Although it was probably standard operation and procedure, I appreciated the concern. Since my release from prison, this was my first crisis and it could not have been more frightening. The fact that I had just walked on the block where the crane fell, and actually glanced at it before entering the building, was enough to shake me up.
As the old adage goes, live everyday as if it is your last. Of course, people don’t necessarily adhere to that concept. Human nature suggests that people will go about their everyday lives once the novelty and the magnitude of this tragedy subside. I’m expected back at work Monday morning not knowing what to expect, or see for that matter.
This experience is another life lesson and a reminder that it is important not to take anything for granted; not even the possibility that a life can be taken on your way to work very quickly, including on a snowy and windy day in lower Manhattan.