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Journeys of the Questress - WTC
Aug 30 - The Train Doesn't Stop There Anymore
Home
The Way it Was - 1
The Way it Was - 2
Sept 19 - When Tomorrow Never Comes
Sept 27 - Oral Interpretation
Oct 5 - A Mile of Tears - Part 1
Oct 5 - A Mile of Tears - Part 2
Oct 5 - A Mile of Tears - Part 3
Oct 11 - Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
Oct 28 - Each Day I Search the Rubble
Nov 12 - When Spires Fall
Nov 19 - 911 The Rape of America
Dec 14 - Just A Thought
Dec 18 - A Sense of Place
Feb 2 - Final Pass to the End Zone
March 3 - Sitting on the Edge
March 14- Do You Still Remember
March 20 - Virtual Walk-Through
March 25 - When Will It End - Part 1
March 25 - When Will It End - Part 2
April 1 - Towers of Light
May 14 - View From Above
May 30 - Tunnel At the End of the Light
May 31 - Seventeen Hundred
Aug 9 - From the Margins Erased
Aug 30 - The Train Doesn't Stop There Anymore
Sept 9 - Ceremonies of Light and Dark
Sept 10 - Just An Anniversary
Sept 12 - September Holds Great Promise
Literary Reflections
Rebirth and Resurrection
The Winter Garden Springs To Life
The Winter Garden Springs To Life - con't
Underpass to the Past
Rebuilding Ground Zero
Under Hallowed Ground
Borders
Yahrzeit
What Will Fill the Void?
I Submit a Design
Footprints in the Dust
My Memorial Design Submission
My Memorial Design - Drawings
New Path Train Station
Path Station Tour
May We Never Forget
That Which Surives
War Without End
4th Anniversary
Footprints in the Dust
Void
I Miss 9/11
Time Comes Between Us
A Thousand Cranes
Fear Factor
Love Letters On The Wall
Empty Chairs
Sitting on the Edge of Forever
Walking the Perimeter of Emptiness
A Counting of Days
For Friends Absent But Not Forgotten
Stigmata
The Memory Keeper's Promise
Unbreak My Heart
Standing On The Edge Of Forever
Both Sides Now
A Memory In Time
The Gravity of Loss
The Survivors Rise Up
Flowers Will Bloom
The Fire Within Us
The Sentinel
Stronger Than The Storm
Between the Candle and the Stars
Ghosts
A Journey Through Remembrance
Canticle of Remembrance
Beyond the Crucible of Chaos
Journey Through Remembrance project
What See We Now
Forever In Our Hearts
Keeping the Flame Alive
The Rebuilding of Ground Zero continues
Does Anyone Care Anymore?
Where Is Our Story Teller of Pain
At Memory's Edge
Dust Thou Art and to Dust Thou Shalt Return
7x7x70
Heroes Never Die
The Flame Inside Our Hearts
The Year of the Heroes of 9/11

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The Train Doesn't Stop There Anymore

Today was wet and rainy. Since it was the Friday before Labor day I'd be getting out early from work early. So I decided it would be a great day to go to a mall to do some shopping. In order to avoid the traffic, I chose the Pavonia/Newport mall which is accessible by train.
 
In Newark I left the NJTransit train to catch the Path train. As I stood in front of the turnstiles a wave of anxiety gripped me. It was the same anxiety I had felt the first time I boarded a NJTransit train last September after 9/11. Anxiety over having to see the empty skyline, the smoking Pile in the distance. But I don't react anymore when I pass by on NJTransit. Why did I feel like this approaching a Path train ride?
 
I realized that I hadn't ridden the Path trains since 9/11. My last ride was a few weeks prior to that date and for the exact same reason: To go to the Mall! Was this the reason for my anxiety. I didn't know. I put my money in, went through the turnstile and boarded the train.
 
As I sat there I glanced up to the route diagram above the door. An overwhelming wave of sadness washed over me. The Path train route used to be like an X - One side went from Hoboken to the WTC. The other side went from Newark to 33rd St. Manhattan. They crossed at Pavonia/Newport in the center. Now the diagram looked like a stick figure with one of its legs chopped off. No trains went through Exchange Place or to the WTC. The whole line was eliminated, erased from this map.
 
As the train pulled out of the station, my anxiety was now combined with sadness. I got out of my seat to stand and look out the doors at the skyline. That's when the ghosts of a ride past, one I never took, yet could have taken, entered my mind. A terror gripped me I could not explain, until the train came to the point where the Towers would have been visible. Then I knew what I was 'seeing'.
 
I had been a Path commuter for many years. As late as 2000 I took it each morning to the WTC. Each day I'd be crammed into those cars with hundreds of other commuters. Some mornings I would be lucky and get a seat. Others would find me standing. Not intolerable if I could get next to a door. Then for the 20 or so minutes I could lean on it and look out. Look out to see the wetlands of NJ and the NYC skyline in the distance.
 
So as I was standing there, leaning against the door as I had done hundreds of times before, I realized what was happening. My mind was playing a scenario from the 17 minutes of  that morning of terror. It was showing me what it would have been like to have been a commuter on one of those trains to hell. Someone standing near the door would have let out a gasp as the smoking towers came in to view. Another person would have shouted "my God they are on fire".  People would have stood up from their seats to try to get a glimpse. Someone with a radio might have yelled "They said a plane has smashed into the North Tower".  And fear would have gripped everyone. For they were headed into the eye of the storm.
 
The Towers disappear from view as one approaches the Journal Square Station. A few hundred yards afterward the train enters the tunnel. For the first trainload of commuters to witness the first Tower burning, they perhaps thought, like all others watching elsewhere, that the Tower would withstand the onslaught. But train after train would witness a worse scenario. What would await them at the end of the ride?
 
Can you imagine such fear. On this ride I was engulfed in it. There were no Towers, there was no smoke, and there were few people in this car. Yet I wanted to shout "can you see it? They are burning!!!". But I just stood there and cried, my face pressed against the glass of the door.
 
Fortunately for all those commuters, only the first few trains continued on to the WTC. The rest were rerouted and then all service halted. No path commuter lives were lost. Yes, NJTransit commuters were also treated to this show out of Dante's Inferno. But their destination was not to its epicenter.
When the train stopped at Journal Square I sat down. My anxiety and terror had vanished. Pre 9/11 I'd have to change from the WTC line to the 33Rd St line in order to get to Pavonia/Newport. The realization that I didn't have to
change trains today finally plunked me back into the present.
 
Yes, the train doesn't stop there anymore. But someday it will. The Path has plans to open a new station to replace the lost WTC one. They say it should be complete in about 3 years. And what world will we see when exit that station? What will be there on Ground Zero? Will anymore disasters alter our skylines and our lives? Like a train ride, we'll just have to keep moving and pray there is no derailment around the bend. 
 
c 2002 Leona M Seufert