As I sped up The Garden State Parkway and onto the New Jersey Turnpike Northbound heading to the Holland Tunnel. There were signs stating all roadways o New York City has been closed to all motorist except emergency personnel only. We needed easy access in and out from every bridge and tunnels connected to New York City and we couldn’t have traffic building up to prevent the thousands of first responders to reach the World Trade Center.
As I was riding along the New Jersey Turnpike, to my right I could see the smoke bellowing out from where the Twin Towers use to stand from across Staten Island. I remember feeling beyond belief that those two steel giants that would rise up from behind the roadway like the Sun rising was no longer there.
I kept repeating Holy shit over and over again as I was getting closer to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge connecting Staten Island to Brooklyn. There was no traffic on this iconic bridge either…for a moment it was just me till I noticed a few NYPD Police cruisers come up to my left doing at least 100 mph…because I was doing 80 and they made me look like I was standing still.
As I approached the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, I showed the officers standing in front of the barricades my Police I.D., they let me continue to drive through the tunnel, but not before I was asked by a patrol Sargent if he can ride with me along with two national guardsman…No problem I remember saying.
They all loaded up their gear in the back of my Expedition and we continued on into the tunnel not knowing what was waiting for us on the other side. As we exited, my green truck has now looked like someone poured white baby powder all over it. We couldn’t see much as we exited and it has been almost three hours since the towers fell and all I remember seeing was paper raining down on us as well white dust floating about like fog .
We were already coughing because the air condition was on and the dust found its way through inside the vehicle. I remember the Sargent looking at me without saying a word…the expression on his face was enough. As I turned to my right onto West side Highway we only made it about 50 feet when a Battalion Chief came up to my vehicle telling me I had to turn around and cut through the Riverside Highway to get to the Holland Tunnel.
I let out the two guardsman and the patrol Sargent right there and continued up the highway along the east river and gotten off Canal Street exit. I remember seeing hundreds if not thousands of pedestrians walking across the Brooklyn Bridge heading to Brooklyn. Canal Street that use to be stand still traffic was empty and reach the entrance to the Holland Tunnel in seconds where it would easily take me 15 minutes sometimes longer any other day.
I pulled up to find one of Port Authority’s heavy equipment truck blocking the entrance to the New Jersey side while at least four of our cops standing in front of it. I got out of my vehicle and walked over to the Police Booth that stands on the corner next to the entrance of the tunnel where I worked countless times to direct traffic, and approached my patrol Sargent who just gotten off the phone and asked him where he wanted me before I put on my uniform.
He was standing by t booth while looking down as if he was in deep thought. To be honest, I don’t think he even noticed me standing in front of him never mind heard me. But he did have this look on his face that right then and there, I knew something was terribly wrong. So I asked if he was ok, but my Sgt. just mumbled something being his fault. Not understanding what he meant and now concerned, I asked again if he was alright? He then lifted his head and said …I sent them and they never came back.