Hersh D. Cohen, an equity portfolio manager at Citigroup Asset Management, New York, was meeting with the top executives from Forest City Enterprises, Cleveland, and an executive from Salomon Asset Management in his office on the 42nd floor of Seven World Trade Center the morning of Sept. 11, when he saw a plane swoop low and then crash into the nearby North Tower.
"Nobody thought it was anything but an accident," he said.
When the second plane crashed into the South Tower minutes later, he said, "No one had to tell you to get out."
He was about four or five blocks away when the first building collapsed. He said he ducked into a bar on Greenwich Street, asked for a glass of wine and knocked it back. "People were hugging each other, crying. It was just unbelievable."
By now, Mr. Cohen had lost track of the others from his office, and he headed uptown alone, stopping periodically for a drink at restaurants along the way. "I must have stopped at another four places in the next two hours," he said.
His goal was to make his way to his daughter's apartment on the East Side, at 69th Street and Third Avenue. He got there in the middle of the afternoon. Friends from Long Island, who had driven in to Manhattan that day, picked him up around 4: 30 p.m. for a ride home. That's when he heard his office building had collapsed. "It didn't occur to me that the building would come down. I assumed I would be in back in, of course," he said.
He said he still worries about attacks. "It's scary. Every time I walk down the street and see a truck, I worry there are explosives (in it)," he said.
"Every day when I come out of Penn Station, I think about it. I think of how easy it would be for someone to leave a suitcase (there) with explosives. I hope there's not a bomb in the waste basket."