The train slowed, and a few cellphones went off. “A plane hit the World Trade Center, wow, that’s crazy,” I overheard one passenger say. A catastrophic accident? The train proceeded, and less than 20 minutes later, more calls buzzed: With reports of the second plane striking, it was clear that New York City — America — was under assault.
I assumed the perpetrators were Islamists; the day before, our City Journal editorial meeting had featured a discussion about the possibility of future terror attacks, prompted by a writer’s hair-raising cab trip with an angry driver of Middle Eastern descent, listening to what seemed an incendiary recording in Arabic.
By the time I got to the Manhattan Institute’s offices, near Grand Central Station, public transportation was shutting down and phones no longer worked. Almost all the staff had left for home, but David Desrosiers, the institute’s development officer in 2001, was still there.
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