Observation level, World Trade Center. Don't remember which one, although I am pointing SSW toward Princeton. Came across these unpacking. The plaza photo is of my late step-dad. This must have been late 80's, early 90's. We were involved with the earlier parking garage bomb there, which makes these photos doubly eerie for me.
We've always had tons of exchange students and international visitors over the years, and a busload of H.S. exchange kiddos from France had just pulled away from that garage heading uptown when it went off. Many concerned long distance phone calls between U.S. parents/school admins. and French parents. Thank goodness, they were safe, but I remember thinking then that compared to security in other countries, we didn't have much. I watched the TV coverage of 9-11 in the 22nd floor of the UT Tower and flashed back to the earlier bombing.
I've struggled with claustrophobia all my life, until fairly recently. When I took the job in the tower, it took several days of living in my terror and panic to the point that I felt I could tolerate the tiny elevator ride at least twice a day every work day. It holds 6 people. Period. Not counting backpacks, rolly carts, bicycles, or mail. At one point, one floor let all its folks out at exactly the same time and they all tried to pile into the elevator at once. I've counted up to 13 people in that same, small space on several occasions. Yes, I finally did talk to the floor manager, who was a colleague in a different division, and he was very helpful.
The WTC observation area was even more terrifying. Huge ceiling to floor windows, and there were insanely steep arena seats that dropped down to that critical juncture of floor and the sensation of nothing...space. From way up high. I get dizzy thinking about it even now.
The flashback I had on 9-11 to the WTC observation deck was visceral. I am still lost in the immensity. It helped to sing a memorial service with David Stevens and the St. David's folks. We each took a name from a basket of one of the people lost. I've sung my way through a lot of grief over the years. For me, music is the best therapy, and this holiday season I'm grateful that I've found it in so many places and to such depth.