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new york shock exchange
new york shock exchange

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HOV bringing back memories
On September 11, 2009 Jay-Z held his "Answer the Call" concert to benefit the victims of the September 11 attack.  It turned out to be one of the largest and most successful hip-hop events of all time, watched by millions on the FUSE network and featured the likes of Rihanna, Beyonce, Kanye, and John Mayer.  The untold millions raised from the event went toward the family members of those injured or who lost their lives due to the attack.  I am convinced that only Jay-Z, with his star power and web of connections could have pulled off such an event on such a grand scale … another indication that he may be indeed larger than rap.  That said, the concert held special meaning to me as I was actually in the World Trade Center the morning of the attacks. 

At 7:30 am on September 11, 2001, I was waiting to take the Path Train located within the World Trade Center to Newark for work.  I was working on a transaction in Switzerland at the time and had to get prepared for a conference call with some London bankers who were also on the transaction.  Just before 9:00am my assistant walked into my office and said a plane had flown into the World Trade Center and people thought it was some type of terrorist attack.  I ran into the conference room to watch the news reports on the incident and around 9:05am saw a second plane fly into another World Trade Center building.  Now it was certain that the U.S. was under attack and I wondered how long the attacks would occur.

Around 11am we called the bankers in London and the entire conversation was about the act of war committed on the U.S.  We had no idea what the next steps (if any) we would take on the aforementioned transaction and we agreed on “all pencils down” until further notice.  There was rampant speculation about the other 100 or so planes still in the air and if there would be other attacks as well.  Around 12:30pm the London bankers called to alert us that they had evacuated their office building because there were rumors that some of the airplanes may be headed for attacks against London.

By the afternoon all entry into New York City was shut down.  All bridges and tunnels were closed and no trains, planes or automobiles were allowed into the city.  All communication into the City was also shut down.  Landlines were down and my cell phone did not work.  I could not communicate with my wife and kid and they had no idea of my whereabouts, no I of theirs.  All they knew was that I was in the World Trade Center that morning in route to work, like every other morning.  I ended up spending two nights in New Jersey until I was allowed back into the City.  By the time I got home I had received hundreds of phone calls from friends and family members checking for me.  There were kids who I went to high school with worried sick about me . . . they knew I worked in New York and that no one had heard from me in over two days.  You never know who you friends really are until times of need.  I returned every phone call and email and spent several months in a mental fog, unable to really think clearly.  I have never spoken of that day since.  Jay-Z’s 9/11 benefit concert was a memorable event for me . . . in more ways than one.            







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