Sept. 13, 2001
After a 4 hour and 20 minute commute from Morristown New Jersey to Newport Tower in Jersey City (30 miles, normally 45 minutes to an hour), the 40 story building that hosts my company and many others was evacuated on a bomb threat called in from, of all places, the Newport Mall connected to the back of the building. Thousands of people clogged the stairwells in a solemn dash for the light of the street.
My company occupies 4 floors. We are hosting a number of employees from our New York offices, which are obviously shut down, and they are occupying one extra floor. "Luckily", I guess, a lot of workers throughout the building did not make it in today, because as it was, the staircase was a madhouse. People were generally calm, but well paced and very quiet. A few people made cell phone calls, like me to my Dad. I told him not to say anything to Mom, because I knew she would worry. My knees were shaking. I could almost feel the building sway, or maybe it was just the staircase that moved due to the mass amounts of people trampling down it.
It was a somewhat comforting feeling to make it to the ground floor and get outside the building. At the time, the only thing we knew was that it was a bomb threat. We didn't know if it was our building or one of the few around ours. As one of the Partners tried to inform the crowd of our employees (we all met down the road in a hotel parking lot) we heard not only the screaming sirens of cop cars, fire engines and ambulances, but also the buzzing of a few news helicopters (possibly military, not sure).
Then we were finally given the 'good' word: "The building seems to be clear, you can go back to work, or not, its totally up to you."