My September 11 Story

A clear and crisp Tuesday morning, I remember starting my day at 3 Metro Tech Center in Brooklyn, where I was working for Chase at the time, on the E-Tech Firewall/Security team to be exact.  This was also the year I decided to go back to John Jay College and switch my major from Criminal Justice to Computer Sciences, trying to stay on top of current cybercrime related affairs, I joined InfraGardNYC and brought the chapter meetings to John Jay College.

It was exactly 8:00am where I took a call with FBI’s Special Agent Gregory Sturtevant on fleshing out the agenda for the upcoming chapter meeting and updates to make on our InfraGard website that I was hosting.  It was a 30 minute meeting, we covered what was needed.

I pulled up to my workstation and my usual morning routine was to start tailing firewall logs and grepping for any anomalies on our DMZ facing firewalls for  Nothing out of the ordinary on our Cisco Pix and Checkpoint firewalls, but the good old Gauntlet firewalls had some plugs dropping out, so I started invoking some PlugDrop scripts that David Rosario built to revitalize those rule sets, I was in the zone, doing my thing.

I think it was around 8:50 or so where I heard some commotion at the cubes across, I think it was Syed Aziz, Jay Akselrud, Shanvas Razak, Fritz Seifts, Jayesh Patel, Sandeep Sehgal and a couple of others trying to tune into a radio station, about a possible explosion, 15 minutes or so later, another explosion was reported. Not having the luxury of streaming live video at the time, nor a TV in the area close to my cube, I ran out to purchase a Sony Watchman (handheld TV) at The Wiz on 376 Fulton St, so I could tune into the local TV stations to see what was going on.

When I came outside, I saw pieces of burnt papers flying through the air, it was about 10 am now and plume of smoke from about 2.5 miles away, was billowing beyond what words can describe, after purchasing the TV, I quickly ran back to my desk, unpacked it, tuned into a local ABC channel, where Peter Jennings was covering it.  I could not believe what was being reported, and the thoughts that went through my mind about the people that I knew that were in those buildings, a group of coworkers surrounded my cube and we were all glued to this tiny TV for a good hour or so.

The Chase Emergency response team acted quickly, and immediately started converting the Metro Tech Cafeteria area to an evacuation / triage area for everyone who was running down the Brooklyn Bridge and escorting people to take shelter.  When I got home I learned about a couple of more close people that never came back to their families that day.

The eeriest thing of all, is that the Risk Waters Financial Technology Congress that I usually attended, which was scheduled for September 11, 2001 in the North Tower on the 106th floor, with breakfast served at 8am and first speaker to start at 8:40am (see agenda), I chose to not attend this one, as I did not cover much Trading Technology this year.

May the memory of all the people we lost be a blessing.

Photo 1 – September 7, 2001 – I am going up to the Windows on the World restaurant on the 107 floor of the North Tower (4 days before the Sep 11)

Photo 2 – April 29, 2001 – Just a random day that I thought would be good to take a photo with the twin towers.