I was answering phones at an internet company, only miles down the road from where Kelly was teaching in Pearl River.
We started getting calls about internet access going down, just as the CEO came in and turn on the TV in his office, and told us all to gather around.
the Bandwidth flowing through Verizon under the towers starting going wonky before the towers fell, and we started getting phone calls from folks in DE, MD, NJ & PA that couldn't get online. I recall asking one VERY rude customer if she had seen the news on TV yet this morning, and she replied that she was trying to get online to email people she knew in the area. I explained to her that half of the communication channels for the entire NE flow under those buildings, and as i tried to reason she became angry and demanded a refund. I was flabbergasted. I told my group that if that's the attitude they are going to get from customers that they can end the call, or give it to me. I thrived on that sort of thing, and some of my people were very sensitive, given the circumstance.
People with kids and spouses / partners in the city started leaving very quickly, several people in the office were volunteer Fire / EMS, and they immediately started for their gear, and trying to find staging areas to go to. I was one of the ones to hang around the office and answer phones while they still rang, and I will never forget the rage in some people who couldn't get online (with their dial-up accounts) between DC and NY.
The County Emergency Services decided that my building should be evacuated since it was the tallest in the county, and held the offices of several state politicians. a few of us headed to the supermarket for beer and gathered at my apartment right down the road to watch the news all day.
My girlfriend at the time, and now my wife, was a Graduate student at Pace, NYC. As we were watching the TV I didn't even know what to think, and who to call, or what to do, but then I remembered that this day, was her internship day way up north in Westchester. She would be heading home to her parents house in Staten Island after her day of work. She was locked in a child testing session all day, and I knew she had no idea what had happened or how to get anywhere near home. I called that hospital every half an hour until I convinced the secretary that keeping this from her was not fair, and far larger than the work she was doing. thankfully, she had heard something between the time she got to the phone, and she was able to get to me, by way of the Bear Mountain Bridge.
At some point the bridge that Kelly mentions, the TZ Bridge, was closed, and about 8-10 people gathered at my apartment that afternoon / evening. I remember as if it were yesterday.
I got picked to go with the Network Administrator a few days later to go take a look at our equipment on Broad Street. We were able to get clearance to get a vehicle into the city, but we had to park above 14th street, and this guy knew I knew the subways better than he did, so I got picked. I recall getting out of the subway downtown, and IMMEDIATELY you knew the world was different. the streets were still covered 2" - 3" of what looked like concrete grout, every other officer was outfitted like a special forces unit, and it was dark. Darker than normal for downtown Manhattan. I remember the smell in the air, vividly.
the entire thing feels like a million years ago, and yesterday all at once.