Gluten-Free Globetrotter Remembers 9/11 in New York City

New York City from Long Island City

New York City from Long Island City

New York City means so much to me. I grew up only 40 miles away and was always so excited to come into “the city”. (Us native New Yorkers will always refer to Manhattan as THE city, because it is unlike anything in the world.)

When I was about 12, my grandmother and I took the bus into the city and spent the day exploring the South Street Seaport. She loved the city as much as I do and always referred to it as her city. I loved that day and my grandmother dearly.

I will always remember the first time my mom let me and my friends take the train alone into the city. We were excited and nervous teenagers that felt like we were on an adventure. The city and the world was ours!

As soon as I graduated college, I knew I wanted to work in Manhattan. I started my first job out of college on September 11, 2000. I loved being in the heart of things every single day. The action, the excitement, the world of opportunities.

My sister and I on top of the World Trade Center.

My sister and I on top of the World Trade Center.

Then, one year later, I was heartbroken, shell shocked, and deeply saddened by what was happening in my beloved New York City. As I stood on the fire escape of my office building in Union Square, I couldn’t really understand what I was seeing. I was confused, missed my mom, and was desperately trying to get in touch with friends that I knew worked in lower Manhattan. I ran back and forth to my desk to check my AIM. When I came back right after 10am, one of the towers was gone. GONE. How could that be? As I write this, I still don’t understand and feel sick to my stomach. I can’t even write more about that day or after that day. It just brings up horrible memories.

After 9/11, I told my mom I wanted to move home. I wanted to be “safe” on Long Island and didn’t want to work in Manhattan anymore. My mom understood but said to me “You love New York City and that is where you belong.” She was correct and I knew in my heart that I couldn’t leave where I worked so hard to get.

Thirteen years later, I haven’t been on the 9/11 Memorial or the museum. I don’t know if I will ever go. I get chills when I talk to people about where they were that day. I feel sick when I remember my friend who lost his brother and father. Yet, my memories and feelings pale in comparison to the survivors of that day and the families of the fallen. Despite these feelings, my love for New York City has only grown over the past 13 years.

I love New York City so much and love when people ask me for tips about coming here. I want to introduce the city to tourists and locals and want them to experience all the Big Apple has to offer. Visit my New York City gluten-free page for tips, maps, and more. Email me if you are coming here. I would love to show you around my beloved New York City!

xo

Me on Governors Island with the Freedom Tower behind me.

Me on Governors Island with the Freedom Tower behind me.

Never Forget. 

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About Erin Smith

Living with celiac disease since 1981 and eating gluten-free long before it was "trendy", Erin Smith has a unique perspective of growing up in the gluten-free community; Founded Gluten-Free Fun in 2007; Founded Gluten-Free Globetrotter® in 2011; Founded GlutenFreelancer® in 2014. Erin was the lead organizer of the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup group, a social community of more than 2,000 members for over a decade and has recently started a support group in Northern California.
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3 Responses to Gluten-Free Globetrotter Remembers 9/11 in New York City

  1. BWLEtravel says:

    Nice post. We completely understand your reluctance to visit the Memorial. We only visited it for the first time this summer (without our daughter) and had a very mixed reaction to it. It is unbearably sad for those of us that remember the vibrant downtown scene that used to exist there. The silence, while respectful and appropriate, is unnerving to folks like us who are accustomed to NYC’s hustle and bustle. Here is our review: http://exploretheworldwithyourkids.com/2014/08/11/september-11-memorial-family-travel-kids/
    We would love your comment on that post in light of your own post today!

  2. Great Post, Erin!..I can totally relate to your story… I am an international flight attendant and I used to be based in New York at the time…I remember the night before coming from Cairo and lucking out there were delays because of a storm, and there was an airplane past midnight still there going to Atlanta…I remember looking at The Towers for the last time that night…I remember the first day I went back to work and we flew right by them and all there was was an empty hole in the ground…I lost co-workers that day..The world has never been the same… All there is left is to keep on living, doing good, and trying to make this Place we all share and live in, well, a better place.

    xo Sansgluten AroundTheWorld

  3. Pingback: Gluten-Free Travel News: November 2014 | Gluten-Free Globetrotter

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