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Getting to Wall Street Station meant that we needed to make sort of a U-turn back toward the World Trade Center’s carnage, a choice we willingly made as we continued to Wall St. Station.  Scott checked with the caged cashier to make sure trains were running.  “Yes, they are!  And it is faster and safer than walking” he passed on to me.  Scott bought two tokens.  But, I fumbled putting my token past the token slot and it slid into a card swipe slot.  In my only moment of genius; I calmly got a business card from my shirt pocket, creased it in the middle and cupped the wayward token out of the slot just as the train left the station.  “Don’t worry another will be along in a short while”, Scott called to me.  He stood patiently, I paced.  We waited.  The train came; we got on board headed toward 125th Street.  The path of the line would take us back toward World Trade but east of the havoc. The initial sped of our underground passage was a welcomed relief to pounding it out step by step on the cluttered streets.  As we glided away from the turmoil above, I turned to Scott, “We are really lucky”; “You bet we are!” he replied.


The train consisted of eight or ten cars.  We left the station and proceeded for about a minute or so then ground to an abrupt halt.  The train jerked forward a few feet then sat idle.  Each car held about 45 people.  Our car was toward the front as measured from the next stop.  We were parked next to a train aimed in the opposite direction.  There were about two feet between the trains so we could easily peer inside and inspect each passenger, eyeball to eyeball.  Our train stayed motionless for about 45 minutes in all.  From about the tenth minute on, the lights functioned but the motor was off  as was the air conditioner.  We watched the passengers in the opposite train file in a single line toward their next destination Wall St. Station.  “Should I be doing that”, I asked myself.  They looked so organized and purposeful.  I wondered where the Transit Authority people were.  Who was in charge?  These 45 minutes ticked away slower than the hour before sunrise on a child’s Christmas morning.  “Yes, we should be doing that”, we concluded.  It took 15 minutes for Scott and I to walk from our end of the train to the end aimed backward at Wall St. Station. We opened and closed each car’s doors as we made our way.  I now felt organized and purposeful too but in reality didn’t have the slightest idea whether our relocation made any sense whatsoever.  Like ants, a dozen or so followed along single file.  We shuffled the deck, people moved from one car to another, thinly populated cars got full, and full cars got crowded.  For the first time, moving from car to car, we became exposed to the tunnel’s air, whenever we crossed through the short few feet between cars.  During the 15 minute passage, the tunnel became progressively smoky, heavy with soot and warmer.  This was a function of time rather than direction, I decided. Also during our car-to-car trek I heard deep-geologic sounding rumblings from far beyond the tunnel walls.  The cars shook slightly.  I began to wonder, “My God, more planes, the Empire State, the UN, the Exchange?”

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