After all, they had been bombed before in 1993, and though six people had died and thousands were injured, the Twin Towers still stood.
Subways were shut down and taxis proved impossible to find, so I made my way down Broadway against a sea of people evacuating uptown.
The publication of this photo, taken by Richard Drew, led to a public outcry from people who found it insensitive. On the 10th anniversary of the attacks, he said he considers the falling man an "unknown soldier" who he hopes "represents everyone who had that same fate that day." It's believed that upwards of 200 people fell or jumped to their deaths after the planes hit the towers.
An orange blossom of flame exploded on our screens as a new reality dawned.
As I left the apartment for City Hall, fire companies from around the city were already racing to join those who had already arrived at what would become ground zero.
On the streets people stood frozen in mid-commute, gathered at street corners, talking to strangers or on their cell phones, gazing at the blazing scars cut into the sides of the Twin Towers.
I passed a kindergarten playground opposite a firehouse where children were still playing as their teachers looked over their shoulders at the buildings burning in the distance.