Tuesday, September 11, 2001

I am writing this from downtown New York. In a perverse reversal, I have no way to contact anyone except through my high-speed wireless internet connection--phones are out, and electricity in the area is intermittent.

The media will ultimately tell the story better than I, but I can tell you that there is massive loss of life. The sky is black with ash, the people have been panicking and fleeing in unadulterated terror. I have never seen anything like it. It is very difficult to breathe, even with your mouth covered--the ash blows down the streets and burns your eyes. It feels like the world has ended. When the screaming started and the crowds began to run after the second plane struck it was a horror film running in overdrive, jumping frames and cutting in and out. Time got lost--I don�t know how long this went on. I have a cut on my leg. I ended up in a Wendy�s where a huge number of us took refuge. I don�t know where the workers were--I helped get water for people.

I am starting to see emergency workers, and the streets are clearing somewhat--at least the first waves of panic are passing. I�ve seen bodies draped in white sheets--it took me a time to realize those were bodies, not injured people; they must be out of room or not be able to get them to the morgues or the hospitals.

I�m headed for the Brooklyn Bridge to walk out of the city. I�m going to stop at any hospital I find to give blood before leaving. If anyone reading this can, please donate blood--I heard from a medic that the hospitals are already running out.