Metro-North, Grand Central, and a Clear, Cool Tuesday Nine Years Before

Well, we all know what sad anniversary New York (and America) marks tomorrow, and following is a heartfelt essay from the inimitable Conductor Bobby on his “Derailed” blog about his return to the city on Metro-North two days after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Here’s a lasting Sept. 11 image for you: Train station parking lots filled with cars whose drivers never came home that day.

Titled, simply and starkly, “September 13, 2001,” it begins [click on the link for the entire essay]:

It was dusk when my train rolled round the curve in the South Bronx and headed over the blue railroad bridge that traverses the Harlem River into Manhattan. It’s from this vantage point that an engineer gets his first glimpse of the Manhattan skyline. Directly ahead he can see The MetLife Building. To the east stands the art-deco crown of the Chrysler Building. The needle of The Empire State Building rises further to the south, and just beyond that stood the twin towers of World Trade Center. But not this day…this day was different. It was September 13th, 2001, and the world had changed forever.

This was my first trip into the city after the terrorist attacks and because of a morbid curiosity; I craned my head out of train’s cab window to see what had become of the city I’ve come to love. The first thing I noticed was an acrid smell that had permeated the September air. A haze had settled over the twilight sky and gave a strange beauty to the sun as it set over the Hudson River. I scanned the horizon, searching for the spot where the towers once stood only to find angry plumes of white and black smoke billowing in the distance.

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