Remembering 9/11 from a first-hand perspective

Paul J. Williams

Earlier this week, I wrote this post here on Instant Tea about my personal memories of 9/11. And I had planned to write a second one about Mark Bingham, one of the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, who also happened to be gay. And I had planned a third about Father Mychal Judge, chaplain for the New York Fire Department, who had gone into the World Trade Center North Tower to tend to victims and was killed when that tower collapsed. Father Mychal was gay, too.

But then Hardy Haberman wrote this Viewpoints column for the Voice, and I decided doing those planned blog posts would redundant, since Hardy had already done it so well.

So instead, I want to share with you something that local comedian Paul J. Williams sent to me. Paul was in New York on 9/11, living in an apartment in Queens,  working in a Lower Manhattan during the day, and performing his comedic routines in the clubs at night.

Paul had a first person view of the tragedy of 9/11. He was there as history unfolded. Here’s what he saw, and did:

“On Tuesday morning, Sept. 11, 2001, I was going through my usual “get ready for work” routine in my apartment in Astoria, Queens. At the time, I was working as a long-term temp secretary for a law firm in Manhattan, but I didn’t usually go in until 10 a.m.

“After taking a shower, my routine consisted of coming back into my bedroom and turning on the stereo to KTU for their morning show while I was getting dressed. It was a little before 9 a.m. Rather than the usual hilarity, the KTU DJs were very seriously discussing the fact that the World Trade Center has just been hit by a jet. I went into the living room to turn on the TV, still only half dressed.

“I sat in front of the television for the next few hours, getting up only to get my cell phone to try to call my parents, or to go to the door to talk to my landlords who lived downstairs. My roommate, who also worked in Manhattan, always left for work early in the morning and was already at his office in Midtown when the first plane hit.

—  admin