Michael C. Karkowski (1964- ) was a New Orleans native living in Port Washington and working as an accountant in Manhattan near the site of the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001. In this oral history interview, Mr. Karkowski discusses his witnessing the second plane hit Tower Two, his evacuation to Penn Station and train ride home to Port Washington, and his rendezvous with his wife, Yvonne Traynham, who was also working in Manhattan and was also interviewed for this oral history project. He then describes the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, his perception of its effect on New York City, and how he was personally affected by witnessing the event firsthand.
“And I came up on Pine Street, and as soon as I came up out of the subway, the second plane ended up hitting the, the second tower. I remember I was knocked down. I remember just being covered with jet fuel, being that close. And I, I remember I was there for a while. It may have, it seemed a while. But I remember looking down at the ground and seeing a piece of paper with a handwritten note that was stopped in mid-sentence. And, there was general chaos, and all of a sudden I realized what was happening.”
“And I finally got a train to Port Washington, or got on the train. And everybody was holding their breath. The train filled up, and it seemed like for, the tunnel was just miles and miles long, and…people were just not breathing until they were out of the tunnel. Then, you can feel this collective sigh of relief…to be finally out of New York and, you know, on your way home.”