September 11th

We were having breakfast in lower Manhattan that morning before a board meeting. It was the CEO, another board member and me. We were sitting outside in a sidewalk cafe in lower Soho and the plane flew right over us, at a height that was clearly not normal, and banked and slammed right into the first tower.

The CEO knew right away it was a terrorist act and we quickly settled up and headed over to the company’s offices. We told everyone to go home that could go home, and then waited to see how many people would arrive at work. Once we had sent everyone home who could go home, we got everyone who could not go home and started walking uptown to our house in Chelsea. We invited everyone in to our home and went out and got sandwiches and made a buffet lunch.

Nobody did anything but watch TV and call their loved ones, if they could get a call out on the overloaded cell networks.

By evening everyone had made plans for the night or figured out how to get home.

It was a horrible day, one that I certainly will never forget, and one that changed everything in many ways.

But when I look back at it, the ability to take everyone in, feed them, and provide some community and comfort, made that day a lot easier for me and my family. I am grateful for that.

#life lessons#NYC

Comments (Archived):

  1. pointsnfigures

    Never forget. It’s a day of infamy for sure. Ari Fleisher who was Pres Bush Press Secy has an awesome Twitter feed for this day:

  2. kidmercury

    Happy 9/11 everyone. Good keywords for today are dancing Israelis, Larry Silverstein 9/11 insurance, kroll Inc 9/11 security, 9/11 controlled demolition. #Neverforget

    1. DJL

      I have always seen your icon image and hoped it was a sad joke?

      1. kidmercury

        i don’t find 9/11 to be funny, but i can see how the perpetrators of the crime can see it as humorous. they must think americans are the dumbest people in the history of the known universe, for believing that story about two planes hitting two buildings to cause three buildings to fall while israelis arrested and caught with a bomb in their van are let go at the behest of michael chertoff, who also ordered the destruction of 300,000 tons of metal from the tower (destruction of evidence in a crime).

        1. DJL

          This has been debunked everywhere.I agree with everyone else. You should have some respect for the thousands of people that lost their lives and keep your bullshit to yourself. What a disgrace.

          1. kidmercury

            thank you for your reply. i suppose we will disagree that it has been successfully debunked everywhere. you are welcome to share your “debunking” if you’d like, of course. if you are interested in honoring and respecting those who lost their lives on 9/11, i hope you will consider supporting the bobby mcilvaine act, named after a victim of 9/11 whose family is promoting the act which supports a new investigation of 9/11. you may also wish to support the first responders who, just yesterday, spoke at a press conference at the national press club requesting a new investigation into 9/11.

          2. DJL

            I do not deny that some people still have questions. Some people believe Elvis is still alive and want an investigation.Do you deny that Muslim terrorists flew planes into the WTC to kill Americans as part of Jihad?

          3. kidmercury

            to build consensus, let’s assume muslim terrorists with boxcutters got past the world’s most powerful air defense to crash planes into WTC1 and WTC2. i’ll deny, though, that muslim terrorists flew planes into WTC 7. do you believe they did?

          4. DJL

            I just want to simplify. Did Muslims kill the 9/11 victims or was it the US/Isreal empire that murdered their own people?

          5. kidmercury

            you ignored my question, but i’m happy to answer yours. first, your options are not exclusive. but in general, blame should be assigned to US/israel, and more specifically, factions of the intelligence communities of those respective nations (mossad and CIA). CIA’s history of working with radical muslims is already established, which illustrates the nonexclusivity of the paradigm that i referenced earlier.

          6. DJL

            I cannot debate you on the details of the conspiracy investigations. You know way more about this subject and are obviously devoted to it personally. So I just wanted to understand at a high-level what you believed.I did take the time to watch and read the items you referred to.

          7. DJL

            My favorite part of this: “An investigation done with the same voracity as the Mueller investigation”. An investigation, that by all accounts was biased and flawed from the beginning. One that wasted millions of taxpayers dollars, promoted bogus conspiracy theories and found nothing. This guy lost his credibility in the first 3 minutes.

          8. kidmercury

            if you’re interested in learning about a view of 9/11 that runs counter to what you believe, i would suggest the following:1. take a deep breath and calm down so that you can evaluate information dispassionately and on its own intellectual merit (or lack thereof)2. start with building 7, that is the easiest thing to question, since it just fell randomly without being hit by a plane; the owner of the building, larry silverstein, is on video saying they pulled the building; kevin mcpadden, a first responder, is on record saying he was told the building was coming down and heard a countdown.

          9. DJL

            Your good at insulting people with your “calmness”. How do you know how I process information? I am perfectly calm. I do get annoyed when anonymous people sling crap, act holier that thou and then insult their intellectual opponents.I instinctively knew this didn’t merit a response. My bad.

          10. kidmercury

            perhaps your intended tone was lost without the benefit of eye contact and sound. you did refer to my views as “bullshit” and suggested i was a “disgrace.” i interpreted those words as a sign of anger and a lack of calmness. i apologize if i misinterpreted.more importantly, though, if you’re not looking at building 7 and refuse to discuss it, you’re not looking at the most obvious — and thus, most important — part of 9/11.

    2. Adam Sher

      Take today off and keep that bullshit to yourself. You denigrate the victims of 9/11 as well as those of the Holocaust.

      1. kidmercury

        Lol what does the Holocaust have to do with anything I said? I’m always happy to have a civil discussion about these topics. Actually I can even have on one in which the other side is not civil but I remain civil.

      2. DJL

        All you need to hear is the from the conspiracy theory Press Conference (posted below): “Muslims had nothing to do with this!”It was the evil US and Israel empire again! Those radical Muslims are just poor innocent victims.

    3. Richard

      I understand that the towers fell at speeds less than that of a free fall demolition. Doesn’t that end your speculations?

      1. kidmercury

        no, not really. first, a four year study by researchers at the university of alaska fairbanks, which involved a computer modelling of the collapse of building 7, concluded it could not have collapsed due to fire. building 7 was not hit by a plane. as a reminder, here is the collapse of building 7:…once we accept the fairly self-evident assertion — now supported by university researchers at hundreds of architects and engineers — that a plane did not cause that building to fall, we can begin to ask what exactly happened, and how current problems in the world are very much related to 9/11. #neverforget

        1. jason wright

          Is it your thesis that 7 was a planned and prepared controlled demolition in advance of the attack? Why wait for several hours after the attack to drop it, and who would be on site at that later time to push the button? It was by then a debris field.Are there videos of 7 taken from the opposite side? I’ve read that on that opposite side it had significant structural damage caused by falling debris from 1 and 2.I’ve read (we all have) the speculation that 1 and 2 were set with demolition charges in advance of the attack. Why not drop all three together?

          1. kidmercury

            I don’t know if #7 was a controlled demolition in the technical sense of the term, but some kind of a planned destruction of the building in advance of 9/11 seems clear.As to why it wasn’t taken down with #1 and #2, naturally I don’t know for sure. Some suspect flight 93 which crashed in shanksville, PA, USA was shot down by legitimate US air defense and this flight was intended to strike #7. There is a whole world of information about that; I find it compelling and quite plausible, but hard to say with emphatic certainty.If you have watch the video I shared here, you’ll see it shows the collapse of #7 from numerous angles.Ultimately the story is clear and simple. 9/11 was a planned attack by an intelligence network — mostly elements of the mossad and CIA — to enrich the Western military industrial complex and give Israel its hegemony in the middle East. The last 18 years suggest this plan was largely a success.

  3. Jake Baker

    For New Yorkers to share their stories of the day always seems like a meaningful act. Thank you for sharing yours.

  4. Mike Zamansky

    Having something to do, something in your control always helps.I ended up with a bunch of stray kids at Stuy – kids who didn’t end up in their homerooms. After getting to a landline, I got word to my mom with all the kids phone numbers. She’d later tell me amusing stories of her calling and explaining “Hi, I’m your child’s teacher’s mom…” and tell them that I had their kids.We made our way up to my place – also in Chelsea. I’m sure focusing on the kids, trying to keep them safe, then ultimately comforted, fed and home gave me something I could have some impact on. I’m sure it made my day much easier as opposed to those worrying about us.I didn’t think about it at the time but looking back I tried to give the kids something to do and control as well – you two get the pizza, you two figure out the state of the subways etc.

  5. harris497

    When all is said and done. The ability to care for and help people is what life is all about. Business is a means to that end.Nice post and good reminder Fred.

    1. Richard

      Helping people has proven not to be an end that we have the expertise to render. Treat others as you would like to be treated is about the best we can master.

  6. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Thanks for sharing your story. There are still mornings I wake up and for a moment think it was all just a bad dream.

  7. DJL

    Shared tragedy like this always brings out the best in Americans. You saw in then. You still see it after hurricanes and floods and other disasters. It is easy to look out at the craziness of the world stage and forget this truly American capacity for compassion and helping others.I think it is also important to remember that the perverted ideas that let to this attack are still alive and well in parts of the world. Some of them within our own borders. We remember to honor the people that were lost. And we remember to not lose sight of an ideological battle that rages today. God Bless the United States of America.

  8. awaldstein

    Thanks Fred.If I may I’ll share mine, written in 2013 right after I started blogging.

  9. Jeremy Shatan

    You did good, that day, Fred – the best anyone could have done under the circumstances. I felt lucky that I was able to walk from 39th and Madison to my Mom’s place on 101st and CPW. We gathered there, uncomprehending, until we could get someone to drive us up to Inwood. The city never seemed so long – and so small – as it did that day.

  10. Richard

    I was 5 minutes from the pentagon in crystal city va. Heard about a plane crushing into the pentagon and jumped into my car to drive home to DC – lived a few minutes from the Vice Presidents house. I was one of the last cars to drive by the smoldering pentagon. DC was never the same – cell phones were often listened in on and the routes in front on the pentagon and whitehouse were blocked. DC had more types of police than you could count. That said, the bush girls loved to drink and party. My sister opened a diet specialty store in Staten Island on September 10 across from a Catholic Church – there were dozens of funeral masses over the next few months.

  11. Mac

    As with each year, on this date, my heart is with the survivors and filled with gratitude for the first responders who gave all to save so many.

  12. Tom Labus

    My morning routine took me up the huge escalator from the PATH through 1 and over to the World Financial Center via the walkway. On the Thursday before a friend asked me to fill in for him at an event out of town. I went and always reflect on that change.At this point, we should be reflecting not only on the day itself but all the events that come after . Ike must be rolling in grave hourly at this point.

    1. JLM

      .Expand on Ike.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Tom Labus

        He saw the huge amount of cash spent and made on the two wars. He must have known what was at hand and tried to tell us in his farewell. He would not have tolerated an endless string of skirmishes with guys getting killed for 18 years. That first CIA operation with a hundred guys accomplished every thing we’ve done there and what was that two months .

  13. meredithcollinz

    Yes, being with others that day was really important. We went to give blood at St Vincents and there was a huge line. We waited and waited but no ambulances showed up and we realized there were so few survivors that they didn’t need the blood. We walked home in silence with the most hallow feeling. Then gathered with friends and family. Couldn’t really do anything else.

  14. William Mougayar

    “…that changed everything in many ways.”- Understatement of 9-11’s impact the on the world, totally changed so many things.

  15. jason wright

    We are often at our best when events are at their worst.

  16. JLM

    .There is such authenticity to a New Yorker’s tale of the events of that day.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  17. Bruce Warila

    Our youngest child Joseph was born on 9/11 (2007). I tried to get my wife to delay labor for five hours until 9/12. “You can do it. Hold that boy in!” It didn’t happen.I understand the sadness others may feel, but Joe gives us something (a gift) to smile about every 9/11.

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  18. Michael Connor

    Fred, I still remember that day like it was yesterday. I was also downtown for a board meeting at another of our portfolio companies. Opening your home to those of us who could not get to our homes was more comforting than you can imagine. 9/11 forever changed my life journey. I am forever grateful to you and Joanne for welcoming me into your home that day. Through all the tragedy, experiencing 9/11 and seeing how the city came together to help each other made me proud to be an American.

  19. Ripp

    I rememberDoug