Hope you are well. I am writing from London, with hope you might be of help.
I am a native New Yorker and now writing a book about my familie’s experience on September 11 and 12th, 2001.
My father, Fred Gompertz, lived at 395 South End Ave between 1987 and 2001. He loved his neighborhood and all the area offered.
He was 77 years old and living alone in apartment 31M on that Tuesday morning. He was too scared and confused to evacuate and lost consciousness when the South Tower collapsed. He was on the missing lists for two days before being found by my brother Jeff that Wednesday afternoon after being evacuated down the stairs by medics.
After being released from the Brooklyn Hospital a few days later, I spent two months with him at the Soho Grand and Tribeca Grand Hotels, courtesy of the Red Cross. He remembered very little of that morning and night.
We moved him back into his apartment after the building was repaired in February 2002, but he was unable to take care of himself. We moved him to assisted living, then a nursing home and finally a hospice, where he died in April 2004. He had an unusually aggressive form of bladder cancer that may have been linked to the dust.
While many people in Battery Park City witnessed 9/11 and had terrifying experiences, I believe my father was the only person to have ALSO survived the nights of Nazi terror in Germany known as Kristallnacht on 1.9.38.
My book tells the story of his life as a 14 year old Jewish boy in Germany, the terror and destruction of his home, his escape and migration to New York City, and then, near the end of his life, looking out his window to witness on 9/11, the horror of the attacks.
I am wondering if there are Broadsheet archives available to me for research purposes.
I am most interested in knowing from others who were home that morning what exactly happened. I am interested in knowing what people heard and saw. I am trying to find out what time the electricity, television reception, land line telephone and water stopped. Did the fire alarms go off?
If there was an evacuation order, when was it and what did they say.
Many apartments on the east side of the building were directly hit by debris and were on fire. How far did those fires spread? Was there an evacuation procedure. How was it that my father did not evacuate. Was anyone else left in the building that day and night?
Finally, I am looking for a photo of the WTC mural in the lobby ( of 395 South End Ave) prior to 9/11. My recollection is there might have been airplanes or helicopters flying in front of the towers. The lower part of the mural had been partially draped in black when I went back to the building on September 23 and took a photo. Was the mural modified after 9/11, or am I misremembering the airplanes in the mural?
Any help would be much appreciated.