New York Tales from Curious Borough Dwellers

012 : Erin Fisher around The World Trade Center, Manhattan
Born 1985 in The Jersey Shore. Erin Fisher currently works as a Writer Why New York? Six million people promises an unparalleled variety of inspiration. She digs the following Gotham bits: It’s the only placed she’s relished having grease on pizza; it’s an even mixture of the clever (for inspiration) and the obtuse (for when you want to build confidence); the street pretzels are always fresh; the smell of sewage everywhere like an insipid department store woman passing our perfume samples; and the cab drivers. She is, however, a bit miffed by the woman who urinated on the wall at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade several years ago—it was the first time, and maybe the only time, Erin saw a woman pee standing up; the Mets; the Giants; and when the cab drivers don't know how to get somewhere. For more info on Erin Fisher you should send an email or visit In One Thousand Words or Less.

image: M. Mesker

“I remember flattening myself against the streaky windows of the PATH train like an insect.”

I first saw the Twin Towers when I was nine. I remember flattening myself against the streaky windows of the PATH[1] train like an insect, the pillars of glass and steel looming above me. I felt dwarfed again in the lobby of the North Tower, the smallest of the passerby in scuffed shoes and black corduroy overalls. I held my mother’s hand, waiting for my dad to exit one of the many elevators.

The only other time I saw them was on television, ablaze and billowing with smoke, remnants of fuselage protruding from sooty windows.

I turned off the television and sat on the front stoop, watching ants crawl over the broken bricks. I glanced up at the sky expecting to see gray clouds and rain, but saw only the expanse of a blue, late-afternoon sky. I heard nothing but the rustle of leaves and my siblings’ cries, gentle and unrelenting from behind the screen door.

Hands folded in prayer, I begged God for a phone call, for my father to pick up the phone finally. “You’ve reached the voice mail of John Fisher” was what I’d heard when I called him from the bathroom in school hours earlier.

“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad,” I whispered. “Voice mail of John Fisher” echoed over the static.

My mother came out and sat next to me, taking my folded hands in hers. She stroked my ponytail, and we sat in silence and watched the sky, stuck between acceptance and denial of what we ultimately knew—my dad was not coming home.

I looked at her, eyes glistening like wet blue paint on the backdrop of freckled skin. I stood up and brushed my hands on my thighs and walked into the street. I walked past my neighbors’ houses, pale blue television light glowing in their windows. They were watching the same thing everyone was watching: the airplanes strike the towers, over and over; the towers fall, over and over.

I should have left a message, I thought that day. I should’ve at least said “I love you.”

I stopped walking, took a deep breath and looked at my house from the end of the street, listened for my family, for my brothers and sisters, and for sirens. But all I could hear was a delicate melody, as from a jewelry box, the kind that has a spinning ballerina when it’s opened. The music descended like a blanket from the cloudless sky. I stood still but spun, too, like the ballerina, far away from the sirens.

referenced works

  1. PATH is run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which is, yes, run by both states. Specifically, the acronym stands for Port Authority Trans-Hudson, and the PATH trains follow four routes between New Jersey and New York City under the Hudson River. The trains that go to the World Trade Center now travel through the open basin that once held the giant towers and their underground mall and parking garage.

location information


017That's when I knew I wanted to live in New York: in the midst of those fragile bralets and bodysuits.— Ling Ma

016The guns, we tell the police later, were black like ice.— Tara Deal

015...my own talisman against the folly of my youth.— Andrea Jarrell

014Y'all in a band'r somethin'?— Abraham

013Perhaps it was the lanky teenager with the bright red book-bag that made me think I saw Adam.— Carrie Teicher

012I remember flattening myself against the streaky windows of the PATH train like an insect.— Erin Fisher

011I glanced up to see another shape hit the sand.— Ken H. Judy

010Vibrating almost imperceptibly in the breeze like a woody tuning fork.— Rob Giampietro

009Then the jazz stopped and the radio said the war had started in the Middle East. — Roland Kelts

008Shirtless Boris Yeltsin’s skin reddens as he reads a book.— Michael Maiello

007Port Authority was there with open, non-judging arms.— Khoi Vinh

006His almost-loss was my almost- nonexistence.— Matthew Rand

005On the cold hard floor of the orphanage, I sang, longing for the day that they would come and rescue me.— Jen Egan

004He was a lawyer, after all.— Kristin Gardner

003The parking lot gate was open, and we ran in with the skateboard.— Lorraine Martindale

002We arrived on completely Russian streets, with Russian signs and a familiar rudeness.— Kseniya Melnik

001...the hourly clicking of Oxfords and high heels across the parking lot.— Tam Nomgum


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