August 1, 2002
Narrative of the Moment
Buzzelli had just passed the twenty-second floor when the North Tower gave way. It was 10:28 in the morning, an hour and forty-two minutes after the attack. Buzzelli felt the building rumble, and immediately afterward heard a tremendous pounding coming at him from above, as the upper floors pancaked. Buzzelli's memory of it afterward was distinct. The pounding was rhythmic, and it intensified fast, as if a monstrous boulder was bounding down the stairwell toward his head. He reacted viscerally by diving halfway down a flight of stairs, and curling into the corner of a landing. He knew that the building was falling. Buzzelli was Catholic. He closed his eyes and prayed for his wife and unborn child. He prayed for a quick death. Because his eyes were closed, he felt rather than saw the walls crack open around him. For an instant the walls folded onto his head and arms, and he felt pressure, but then the structure disintegrated beneath him, and he thought, "I'm going," and began to fall. He kept his eyes closed. He felt the weightlessness of acceleration. The sensation reminded him of thrill rides he had enjoyed at Great Adventure, in New Jersey. He did not enjoy it now, but did not actively dislike it either. He did not actively do anything at all. He felt the wind on his face, and a sandblasting effect as he tumbled through the clouds of debris. He saw four flashes from small blows to the head, and then another really bright flash when he landed. Right after that he opened his eyes, and it was three hours later.
--William Langewiesche, part 2 of The Atlantic's "Unbuilding the World Trade Center". Buzzelli was one of the very few survivors from inside the collapse itself. Man, I've had dreams where that kind of stuff happens, the whole free fall thing. Excellent article, though I wish it had a bit more about the supporting culture that grew up that my mom told me about. The article has a very...I dunno, macho perspective in a sense, all about the engineers and the firemen and the politics of the power structure that spontaneously formed there. (But maybe that makes the better story, I dunno.)
Link of the Moment
A little bit of cyberprimitive fun with google...and a much more impressive example of the nascent art form. (via boingboing)