Name: Jeffrey Yip

City: New York

State: New York

Date submitted: Wednesday 15th of September 2010 10:00:18 AM


September 11th started off with clear skies and golden sunshine. It was the second month at my first job out of college at Seven World Trade Center. I took the subway to work and I would normally take two trains to get to the Fulton Street station. However, on that morning I was running ahead of schedule going to work, and I decided to transfer to a third train. I emerged out of the subway station a few minutes after the first plane hit the towers. Initially, I started walking down Fulton Street and stopped when everyone was looking up at the World Trade Center. I stopped too and that was when I realized there was a fire burning with office paper scattered on the streets. A man pushed past me to continue walking, and he probably did not realize what was occurring. There were a few people gathered around a car who were listening to the radio. I asked one of them what happened, and he informed me a small plane hit the building. I started to walk cautiously towards the World Trade Center, as I thought maybe I can still go to work despite the fire burning across from Seven World Trade Center. I learned later that my employer's building was stricken with debris and had blown out windows. I also did not realize immediately that my aunt worked at the first tower that the plane struck.

I decided against going to work and turned on to Church Street where minutes later people were running away from the World Trade Center. I ran up the steps of a church to avoid the stampede and when the panic subsided, I walked faster out of the financial district area. Upon reaching Chambers Street and Broadway, I heard a loud sound of a plane and then a huge explosion. I ran quickly into an office building and stayed in the lobby. As soon as I thought it was safe to leave, I ran east towards Chinatown. I arrived at Grand and Allen Streets where members of my group were gathered to participate in an event at the United Nations. My mother was relieved to see me and that I was not hurt. We were informed that the event was cancelled and everyone was changing out of their uniforms somberly. Our group decided to go to a restaurant on Division Street and when we left the building, there was only one tower standing. We reached Division and Pike Streets and our group heard screams. The last Tower seem to bent backwards and like a slow playing movie, the tower started to descend with the antenna attached to the building. I will always remember that and many other images on that terrible day. I was relieved later to see my aunt, who convinced everyone at her company to leave the office, to be alive and fine. She had gone through the 1993 bombings at the World Trade Center.

After my aunt left with her family to New Jersey, I would remain home the rest of the day to watch the news. The next day I decided to venture out into Chinatown and the impact was already felt. Small businesses were closed and there was a heavy presence of police and uniformed personnel. Almost ten years later, the impact of the event is everlasting. The garment industry almost no longer exists not only from the recession, but outsourcing and the high costs of doing business in NYC. Some individuals who worked or were in the downtown area continue to suffer from long-term ailments. The major artery that links City Hall to Chinatown remains closed despite protests from the community. The lack of speedy transportation on Park Row remains a major bottleneck to increase in traffic congestion. This does help the high asthma rate that Chinatown experiences. Adverse changes to transportation in Chinatown and the continued economic downturn that impacts tourism, retail and the restaurant businesses remain some of the continue challenges that the Chinese community faces.