How to find passersby at 9/11?
April 19, 2011 1:00 PM   Subscribe

I am a journalist trying to find a way to locate people who were passersby at 9/11. Not first responders, mind you, or folks who escaped from the towers -- just people who happened to be around when it happened. And despite their non-direct involvement, may have been in some way affected. Thoughts?
posted by It ain't over yet to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My boyfriend was one of those people... probably just reaching out to some NYC specific sites like Gothamist or Craigslist might be a good place to start.
posted by kimdog at 1:04 PM on April 19, 2011

That sounds like me. Feel free to get in touch by email if you'd like to talk!
posted by blaneyphoto at 1:05 PM on April 19, 2011

Best answer: Penelope Trunk definitely fits the bill.
posted by litnerd at 1:07 PM on April 19, 2011

Pretty much anybody who lived/worked in the area. I know I tried frantically to call my sister because her husband worked in the Financial district and all the phone lines were tied up. He was sent home early, which only meant he was one of the thousands of people desperately trying to understand what was happening, trying to get home, out of the City, some walking extremely long distances because lack of transportation, feeling dazed and despairing at the chaos. My brother-in-law was safe but it was a very surreal experience for him to be in the vicinity but not being able to make sense of what was happening.
posted by loquat at 1:08 PM on April 19, 2011

Twitter might be a good tool for spreading the word about something like this.
posted by blaneyphoto at 1:09 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Tomato Nation
posted by Sucht at 1:10 PM on April 19, 2011

MeMail me. I worked downtown and was there.
posted by Obscure Reference at 1:10 PM on April 19, 2011

What is your definition of "around"? I lived in the the Lower East Side, and that was part of the "frozen zone" for the week immediately following the attacks (meaning, they wouldn't let people into or out of that geographic area unless they were EMT, NYPD, FDNY, or lived there), and was definitely affected as a result. But it's not an obvious "this was clearly an affected part of the city" on the map.

Actually -- had some thoughts, lemme memail you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:17 PM on April 19, 2011

I was a passersby at 9/11, and I was more than 200 miles away from New York City. Are you looking for folks like me, too?
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:17 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have a friend who was working in the twin towers and got his team out. What is this for?
posted by zia at 1:26 PM on April 19, 2011

Response by poster: It's for a story for Women's Health magazine, based on recent research showing that even 'passersby' at 9/11 showed significant levels of PTSD years after the attack. The research has pretty broad implications for how we think about the scope of trauma, and the way we may end up underestimating it in our own lives. So, really I'm keen to talk to any woman between the age of 20 and, say, 45 (roughly the magazine's demographic) who was present at 9/11 but not directly involved -- esp if she showed perplexing PTSD symptoms in the years after. If you know anyone who fits the description, and might be interested in sharing her story, please do let me know!
posted by It ain't over yet at 1:53 PM on April 19, 2011

Probably not what you're looking for, but a co-worker (on the Hill in DC) talked about taking his long train commute into the city that day and thinking "what a beautiful day -- I wish something would happen so I didn't have to go to work" and feeling terribly and irrationally guilty when he did in fact get sent home early because of the attack.

Then he came back and had to take cipro for a month because one of the people who was in Daschle's office when the envelope was opened came over to his office to talk.
posted by GriffX at 1:56 PM on April 19, 2011

Best answer: Karen Seeley has done a bunch of work specifically regarding 9/11 and PTSD. She'd be great to interview, if you don't already have her as a source. She also focuses on cross-cultural understandings of mental illness and therapy.

I'm not sure if it was Seeley or someone else who noted that NYC's "here's how to get help" advertising about the physical and mental consequences of 9/11 had to be altered a few years later to reflect how people, especially those not from the US, may be suffering in silence. The goal of the new advertising was to reach out to people who weren't actually in the towers at the time and are reluctant to acknowledge their ill health. The new advertising also used layman's terms to describe symptoms and urge people to get diagnosed.
posted by lesli212 at 2:16 PM on April 19, 2011

The author Meg Cabot wrote an amazing blog post about her 9/11 experience last year.
posted by wsquared at 2:55 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

My step-son was in his first days at NYU when it happened, and took some photos of the WTC burning. I can put you in touch with him if you like.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 3:04 PM on April 19, 2011

I was 31, and I lived in the "restricted zone" for that first week (as I've explained to you further in MeMail). Let me know if I can be of assistance.

You may also want to talk to the WTC health center -- there's a clinic offering assistance for people suffering physical and mental aftereffects still, and they may be able to help point you at people (or let you put a notice up in their office or something).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:04 PM on April 19, 2011

Lived a block and a half from the WTC on 9/11. email me if you want.
posted by dfriedman at 4:08 PM on April 19, 2011

I lived two blocks north of Canal Street on Sept. 11, and was also a "frozen zone" resident. You can MeFi-mail me.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:59 PM on April 19, 2011

The New York State Office of Victims Services may be able to help: they processed a lot of the PTSD and other medical claims of folks affected by 9/11. While they might not be able to actually put you in touch with specific people, they could probably give you some pointers and/or help you learn a bit about the resources that were made available.
posted by brina at 8:52 PM on April 19, 2011

There was an NYU dorm on Water St. at the time. Maybe you could try posting on the Facebook pages for the classes of 2001-2004?
posted by equalpants at 9:47 PM on April 19, 2011

I was in the city that day, as well. Was supposed to be at the Waters Conference, but forgot to go due to a calendar / Outlook mishap. Since then, I've forgiven Microsoft for sucking so badly.

Get in touch if you'd like.
posted by rich at 6:25 AM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

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