I was on the 8 a.m. shuttle from Boston to LaGuardia on 9/11. The pilot had no idea what had happened as he told us to look out the cabin windows to see the first tower burning from the first plane strike.
We landed and I took a taxi to make my 10 a.m. meeting in the city. There was no announcement that the bridges and tunnels had all been shut down. As we drove toward the city, the World Trade Center, with one tower burning, was in front of us on the horizon. We saw the second plane hit the second tower.
My day became a long day with unbelievable acts of kindness by strangers and of contemplation of how I was living my life. My taxi driver, watching me try unsuccessfully to call home on my cellphone, offered to drive me to his apartment so I could use his phone. After trying several routes with lines of cars not moving, he said he could not get me to the city and drove me to a train station. No trains came. After an hour, I walked out and hailed a taxi to return to the airport.
At the airport, when I learned that it and all tunnels and bridges were closed, I decided I needed a ferry to get off the island. I went to a car rental station. People with reservations would not be coming, so car rental companies were renting everything they had, but they turned down some people who had been on my flight for being too young. I dropped them off on Long Island.
A line of cars five miles long was waiting to get on the ferry. I decided I would have a better chance of walking on and found the closest rental office, to turn in the car. The manager said the ferries were taking emergency equipment into the city and if I did get on one, I would end up sitting on the curb until morning, trying to get a ride. He started calling Orient, at the end of Long island, and after a dozen tries made me a reservation on a ferry there.