Wednesday, July 29, 2009
On Tuesday morning I was in New York to finalize the contract for a National Geographic documentary film. I had just come in from Paris the day before and was in Brooklyn when I heard the first explosion. A fashion photographer who lives nearby loaned me some cameras, an old F2 and a 28mm lens. I drove to the Brooklyn Bridge, which was blocked by police. When the first tower collapsed, people were running out of Manhattan across the Brooklyn bridge. I ran across the bridge towards the smoke. People were stunned, running around, completely lost.
I ended up in a fire station opposite the World Trade Center. The fire station was half destroyed and there was only the fire station chief left. I took off my t-shirt to put over my face. The firemen gave me a fireman jacket and asked me whether I could come with them and help. At that moment there was nobody else, everybody seemed to have run away or was buried beneath the buildings. We went on top of the rubble of the collapsed Twin Towers. It was dark like night and very dangerous. There were holes in the pile of rubble everywhere. Three firefighters, one student and I went into WTC building No. 5, which was on fire.
From the basement, we could see a gigantic hole above. Part of one of the two towers had collapsed into this building and made a gigantic hole through the roof all the way to the basement. The corridors were dark and we stumbled around in the smoke. We had only one flashlight. There were no walkie-talkies or other equipment. We called out for people. Everything had been buried by the collapse. We went up on the other side of the stairs towards building No. 6 but it was too hot. Pieces of building were still falling, smoke was coming out of each floor and we searched everywhere we could. All that time we were calling and shouting, but we didn't find anybody, we didn't hear anybody.
From the roof we saw that some other firemen entering the building and a few seconds later they ran out screaming that the building was about to collapse. We ran down as quickly as possible. A policeman saw me in the fireman jacket taking pictures, and screamed at me. He took the jacket off me even though the firemen were trying to explain that I was helping them in the search. I kept on taking pictures on the ground until I had no more film left.
Article from:The Dallas Morning News (Dallas, TX)
Article date:June 4, 2006
More results for:Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell
Byline: Wayne Slater
Jun. 4--SAN ANTONIO -- Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell offered a greeting to delegates to the Republican convention. "It's great to be back in the holy land," the Fort Worth native said to the cheers of the party faithful.For the 4,500 delegates at last week's biennial gathering, it was both an expression of conservative philosophy and religious faith, a melding of church and state. At Saturday morning's prayer meeting, party leader Tina Benkiser assured them that God was watching over the two-day confab. "He is the chairman of this party," she said against a backdrop of flags and a GOP seal with its red, white and blue logo.
The party platform, adopted Saturday, declares "America is a Christian nation" and affirms that "God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom." "We pledge to exert our influence toward a return to the original intent of the First Amendment and dispel the myth of the separation of church and state," it says. Just off the convention floor, among the warren of booths selling buttons and T-shirts denouncing Democrats, the table for WallBuilders -- founded by outgoing party vice chairman David Barton -- was piled high with books and DVDs extolling religion in government. The Keys to Good Government was one DVD. America's Godly Heritage was another. John Green, an expert on church-state issues at the University of Akron, said the GOP has defined itself against Democrats by making religion, particularly issues such as abortion and gay marriage, part of its politics. "This is not a political disagreement. This is a religious disagreement," he said. Recent studies have found a "religion gap" suggesting church attendance is a good indicator of party affiliation. A survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that among those who attend church more than once a week, two-thirds vote GOP. Among those who seldom or never attend church, two-thirds vote Democratic. At Saturday morning's prayer meeting, ministers delivered prayers, gospel singers sang, and the Rev. Dale Young, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Laredo, picked up the convention's dominant theme of immigration.
"Lord, your words tell us there's a sign that this nation is under a curse, when the alien who lives among us grows higher and higher and we grow lower and lower," he preached. The night before, East Texas evangelist Rick Scarborough exhorted Christians at a "values rally" to get involved in elections: "We must do more than pray. We also must put sweat to our tears." Delegates sought him out, taking snapshots and having him sign his book Liberalism Kills Kids. Houston activist Bobby Eberle, a candidate for party vice chairman, organized the Friday evening rally. Taking the stage, he took aim at "the ACLU, liberal Hollywood, Democrats and these left-wingers" who have bedeviled the GOP. "We need to continue to fight, whether for the pro-life movement or for decency in programming," said Mr. Eberle, whose Internet enterprise had its own recent dust-up over decency. Talon News, a conservative Web site owned by Mr. Eberle, employed Jeff Gannon as a White House correspondent until publicity a year ago over Mr. Gannon's appearance on gay prostitution Web sites. Mr. Eberle dropped Talon News, Mr. Gannon left the press corps, and the matter did not appear to be an issue in the vice chairman's race, although he lost. E-mail email@example.com
Copyright (c) 2006, The Dallas Morning News
Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business
Sunday, July 26, 2009
I mean, unlike the common noun, "brie," "Bri" is not an everyday name at all. The 'Bri and Bob" film is really very good---much better than the competition. This alone should give us pause. Like Aman Zafar, the view is too centered in the composition for legitimacy's sake. And like the Zafar apartment building, I wouldn't be surprised if all the apartments which share views like this one has, were leased and controlled by agents of the government conspiracy.
A graphic title tells us that
5 years ago today, we watched and filmed the attack on the WTC out of the window of home, 36 floors up and 500 yards away from the North Tower. Releasing this tape was a difficult decision for us because of its emotional and personal nature, and the potential for misuse. We feel, however, that our unique perspective has an important historical value, and shows the horror of the day without soundtracks or hype often seen in other accounts. Please be respectful of the contents of this account and be aware some may find the scenes on this video very disturbing. Please share only in its entirety.This is all a bit off, in my opinion. Simply removing what is, in fact, a soundtrack, would depersonalize the video into an utterly anonymous display---very little of which, could be called disturbing or personal, within these particular 9 minutes and 48 seconds in the life and demise of the towers. But what came afterwards I wonder? For anonymous civilians to "chose Revver to distribute our video" is also odd. Where else did Revver distribute to, other than YouTube? GoogleVideo?
We chose Revver to distribute our video because of its artist-friendly licensing terms and support for the Creative Commons. Bob and Bri 9/11/2006
I'm really down with the idea that the voice-overs in the Bob and Bri video are professional actresses.
So, if this idea is true, it would mean that the B&B video carries some kind of coded reference---namely, I should think, by using the actual name of a FEMA employee, that there is held within one faction or another, video evidence of an explosion in the South Tower occurring without a plane attack. As problematic as all the video evidence of an airplane going into the tower is, what is really needed is proof positive of no plane entering the building. This comes close, I should think, if not conclusively proving explosions absent plane attack.
Anyway, below are some identifications for Bri, and a couple of sites carrying photographs, with credits given to Bri Rodriguez
FEMA For Kids: The FEMA Team
Biography Bri Rodríguez is a consultant with more than 15 years ...
Bri Rodriguez Consulting Bri Rodríguez is an experienced ...
Cataclysm and Challenge
Photos - Save The Facades from the World Trade Center in New York City
Broadway Electrical Supply’s Jeff Birnbaum recounts his experience as an EMT at the World Trade Center on 9-11.
Jim Lucy, Editor
September 11, 2001, Feb 13 2002
One of the most mind-blowing memories of the 9-11 tragedies is the selfless sense of duty of the rescue workers who responded to the World Trade Center disaster. Hundreds of firemen, policemen and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) risked their own lives in hopes of saving others. Their heroics on that day have been well documented over the past few months. But five months after the disaster, the disappointment still lingers for many of them that they didn’t save more people.
Jeff Birnbaum, president of Broadway Electrical Supply Co., New York, was one of those workers. His natural instinct, honed during 23 years of experience as a fire chief and EMT for Pt. Lookout-Lido Beach on Long Island, N.Y., was to rush to the scene of a disaster to help out.
So when he found out that two airliners had hit the World Trade Center, Birnbaum's first reaction was to get to the World Trade Center as soon as possible to assist the recovery efforts. He ran from a subway station to his office at Broadway Electrical Supply just north of Manhattan’s Union Square to get an employee who had some medical experience. The two men then left the building for the World Trade Center. Fire trucks were racing down Broadway past his building and he flagged one down and hitched a ride with the crew to the World Trade Center.
“We were down there in three minutes,” he said. “The police had the roads cleared right down to Ground Zero.”
Months after the tragedy, Birnbaum speaks of what he saw next at the World Trade Center on 9-11 with amazing clarity and rich detail. His recollections are aided by what he says seems almost like a “videotape in my head.”
“The sight was amazing. I was just totally awestruck. I reported to the command post, showed my ID and asked if I could be of use. They said ‘Absolutely. Stand off on the side with the other medical people.’ I couldn’t fight any fires because I did not have that kind of gear with me, but would have done it if asked.
“I decided to walk closer to the South Tower. I was about 100 ft from the South Tower looking up when the bodies started coming down. I counted 35. They were just piling up on the Marriott Marquis hotel. They were 10 to 15 thick piling up one after another. You could hear them hitting on the side streets. They were hitting cars, and there were lots of explosions.
“I have seen plenty of death in my life, and burned bodies and so forth, but this was incredible. As I was looking up, I saw a body coming down, hit a lamppost and explode like a paint ball. Its arms and legs got torn off and the head ripped off and bounced right by me.”
Because the World Trade Center command center, which was used by the police, firemen to manage operations at the Twin Tours, was destroyed, Birnbaum and other rescue workers were moved to a make-shift command post near a parking garage at the World Financial Center, on the banks of the Hudson River. People were concerned that terrorists might have been in the building, so the city’s anti-terrorist squad was leading rescue workers into the South Tower to remove dead and injured, and to bring victims down to a site by the river.
All of the workers had to constantly watch for debris and falling bodies from above. In fact, Father Judge, a priest famous amongst New York City’s fire fighters for his close ties to that department, was killed by falling debris just five minutes after blessing Birnbaum and other rescue workers while they were awaiting orders to enter the building. Birnbaum says what he saw next will stay with him for the rest of his life.
“When we got to about 50 ft from the South Tower, we heard the most eerie sound that you would ever hear. A high-pitched noise and a popping noise made everyone stop. We all looked up. At the point, it all let go. The way I see it, it had to be the rivets. The building let go, there was an explosion and the whole top leaned toward us and started coming down.
“I stood there for a second in total awe, and then said, ‘What the F_____?’ I honestly thought it was Hollywood. There were 20 to 30 fire trucks and hundreds of people in the street. Everything was happening in a split second. Then someone in our group yelled, ‘Run! The only place I had to go was into the parking garage in the World Financial Center.
“As I got to the entrance of that garage, I tripped and fell. Five firemen landed on top of me. The minute I hit the ground, the building came down and buried us two stories high. Everything went pitch black, and you couldn’t see. I pushed the firemen off of me. Some of them were alive, some were not. I said, ‘My God, I am going to die.’ At that point, you couldn’t see one inch in front of you because of the dust. The only way to see anything was from the light of my pager.”
Totally white from dust and debris and unable to breathe or see, Birnbaum started crawling over bodies toward a fluorescent emergency light. He figured that if he could see that light, the air must be good in its vicinity. While crawling toward the light, he found a New York City Fire Department battalion chief who was badly cut up. He pulled the fire chief underneath the emergency light and tried to call for help on his cell phone, but there was no service. At that point, Birnbaum prayed to God to take care of his wife and four kids because he thought that he was going to die.
But the dust began to clear and Birnbaum spotted an exit light. The fire chief was able to walk, although he was bleeding badly from his head. With an arm around the chief, Birnbaum felt his way along a wall about 20 ft until he came to a sealed stairwell. They decided to go up the stairs, and Birnbaum helped the chief walk up two flights of stairs to a door that opened up on the World Financial Center, a point not far from the make-shift command post where he had awaited orders about 30 minutes earlier.
The door opened onto a scene that looked like a war zone, Birnbaum said. “All you saw was yellow-and-black smoke, and people lying dead on the ground. Glass was breaking, people were screaming “Help!” and you couldn’t breathe. We had to breathe through our jackets.” Some EMT workers found Birnbaum and the fire chief and helped them into ambulances. Birnbaum does not know what happened to that fire chief and is still trying to find him. “That bothers me,” he says. Birnbaum had a badly bruised hip from when the other fire fighters fell on him, and the EMT workers wanted to take him to a hospital. But he refused, saying he had come to do a job and that he was going to do it. After getting a surgical mask to protect himself from the clouds of dust, he surveyed the scene of utter destruction and confusion, and saw a fire chief that he knew. The fire chief had crawled out of the windshield of his crushed fire truck, and insisted to Birnbaum that he had to find his crew, which had in all likelihood perished when their truck was crushed. Before his friend had walked 30 ft, Birnbaum said the North Tower started to fall.
“We were totally engulfed by the second tower going down,” he says. “It practically blew us off our feet.”
After getting down to the Hudson River, Birnbaum ran into the worker from his company who he had brought from his office, and they helped treat some of the injured.
About 1 p.m., they walked back to Broadway Electrical Supply and closed up shop. Birnbaum walked uptown to Penn Station, where 5,000 people were trying to board trains to leave the city. Birnbaum arrived home after 3 p.m., His wife says she knew that morning that Birnbaum would go to the World Trade Center to help out, but since she had not heard from him that day, she assumed that he was lost in the rescue efforts. When she saw him come through their bedroom door—still coated from head-to-toe in white ash—Birnbaum says she screamed, “Oh my God! Thank God.’”
But his day was not done. After giving her a big hug and getting in the shower to clean off the ash, he went down to his firehouse to be on hand if his company got a call to respond to the disaster. “I manned my firehouse till about 9 p.m. that night,” he said. “I closed it down.”
Two days later, Birnbaum traveled back to the disaster site in a caravan of 15 ambulances, “worked the pile” and was on call at the site for another 48 hours to treat the injured.
Little by little, life is returning to what is the “new normal” for Birnbaum and his fellow employees at the 70-year-old Broadway Electrical Supply. On an unseasonably warm January day, with bright sunlight pouring in office windows that used to frame a view of the Twin Tours gracing the Manhattan skyline directly over Broadway, Jeff Birnbaum described the smell of the disaster that lingered at his company until early November. It was an odor that he describes as a “strange, unique smell” that he still can’t get out of his system. “The smell was like no smell you would ever believe,” he says. “It was of an electrical fire, just not a wood-burning smell.” He still has nightmares and wakes up in cold night sweats, and found it particularly trying when television aired “year-in-review” news stories during the holidays that featured the 9-11 WTC disaster. For the first week after the attacks, Birnbaum says the death, blood, destruction and dead bodies that he saw did not phase him, possibly because he was still in shock. But then, Birnbaum says, he “lost it.” “Crying for no reason. Seeing things on television... the kids with no fathers or no mothers… Looking up and seeing hundreds of people in the windows calling their wives and saying goodbye… “Then I started hearing stories around the fire department. Like a guy working on the 110th floor who was also a fireman. He called his wife and said, ‘If I stay here, I am going to burn. But if I jump, they will find my body and you will get a death certificate, and everything will be fine. If I burn, you may not get a death certificate.’ Then he said goodbye and jumped.”
While Birnbaum went to Nassau County Crisis Management Center for counseling, he says that his experiences will never leave his mind. Most troubling to him is a helpless feeling that he didn’t get to help enough people on 9-11.
“I went down there to help and to treat but I didn’t get to do that… In my mind, with this type of Mass Casualty Incident, (MCI), I expected to treat hundreds, maybe thousands of people, or at least be involved with that.
“Who thought those towers would come down? I thought we would be fighting these fires for a week or two chasing them around the buildings. When the first one came down it was like, ‘Wow!’ But the second one? And for it to come down, and there to be nothing left except for a plume of smoke.
“I asked a priest at the counseling center, ‘Why wasn’t I killed?,’ He said, ‘It’s not your time.’ “To this day, I can’t figure out why I am still here.”
© 2009, Primedia Business Magazines and Media, a PRIMEDIA company. All rights reserved. This article is protected by United States copyright and other intellectual property laws and may not be reproduced, rewritten, distributed, redisseminated, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast, directly or indirectly, in any medium without the prior written permission of PRIMEDIA Business Corp.
Friday, July 24, 2009
"To accommodate evening classes, Marina switched jobs and started her new position in the Accounting Department of Cantor Fitzgerald, just one week before the disaster."
Date of Birth: February 10, 1976
Position: Junior Manager
Marina was born on February 10, 1976 on a sunny bright day. And the minute we brought her home from the hospital, our lives changed forever. Our home was filled with funny noise when her mom fed her. Tears when she needed a change. Laughs when she saw us. Cries when she did not see us.
Marina grew up in New York since she was 4. Her interests as a child were music, tennis, skis, skates, swimming and of course friends. She had a lot of friends.
Marina also was a very good student and after finishing Mark Twain Junior High for the gifted and talented, she got into Stuyvesant High School. She graduated from Binghamton University with Bachelor's degree in finances and accounting. Marina worked first at David Burden for a year and later in Morgan Stanley. Marina wanted to continue her education and got into the Master's degree program at Baruch College.
To accommodate evening classes, Marina switched jobs and started her new position in the Accounting Department of Cantor Fitzgerald, just one week before the disaster. She loved her new job, she was excited about a new program she just started in college, she was in the process of buying her own apartment. Everything was going the way she planned. She was very happy.
On September 11th her life stopped short. She vanished from 101st floor of the North Tower and now she is everywhere. And now it doesn't matter where we look, what we say or what we think, we remember Marina. Every day Marina called us to make sure that we are OK. We miss these calls so much. She was always was there for us. We remember Marina for her commitment to family. We remember Marina for her commitment to her friends. She respected her friends for who they are. She looked to her boyfriend Henry for his open heart. She was always there when her friends needed her. And now, Marina will be in our memories when we help each other through this difficult time.
Since September 11th, we have often wanted to see Marina again, to hug her one more time, or to take just one more of our ski trips together. But now, we know that she can be with us always, no matter what we do. And if we keep her in our hearts, she can be with all of her friends and family all the time.
Marina, we hope you can hear us, because we want to say that life-sized dent in our hearts we will fill with love and memories of you and that will help us to move day by day until we meet again. We are proud of you and we want to thank you for the best 25 years of our lives we had together. We will treasure your spirit forever.
Mom and Dad
A very weird message from his wife, "I trust that wherever you are now will have many televisions to watch the Knicks..." combines with his limited partnership to place him on the rendered list. Wherever you are Pat, have a drink on me.
Patrick Joseph Buhse
Date of Birth: March 16, 1965
Department: Government Bonds
Position: Vice President / Limited Partner
I do not think I have the words to describe the man, my treasure, my hero, Patrick Joseph Buhse. Anyone who has the pleasure of knowing Patrick will remember his light, his spirit and his love in their own special way.
Although his time was cut much too short, I will look back with no regrets. I am only thrilled that I had my time, my love, and my children with him. Patrick lived a very rich, very full life. He never held back on anything and knew the true meaning of the word F-U-N. He loved vehemently, spent generously, acted unselfishly and laughed wholeheartedly. We will never forget the humor, the stories, and of course, the dancing without smiles on own faces.
I do not think I have to say how sad I am, how enraged and how cheated I feel for myself, Sloan, and William. So many unfulfilled dreams all shattered in a single moment of a single day that will live forever in infamy. But Patrick's legacy will always live on. He will always be in our hearts and in our souls. I see him every day in the faces of my children, in the eyes of his sister and brothers and in the love that is his family. Each time I see our friends I will remember the good times with joy and be very proud to have known him even if for only one second.
I trust that wherever you are now will have many televisions to watch the Knicks, March Madness, the Jets and any comedy even though you have seen it a thousand times. I hope the Budweisers are cold and the Absolute Citrons (no fruit!) flow. I hope the radio never stops playing Rap, Disco, Country or whatever is your latest find.
I trust that you and all the guys are looking down at us knowing we WILL be okay even now in our despair and sheer insanity and know it was ALL worthwhile.
Please know we will miss you dearly, will treasure you always and will love you every waking day of our lives.
Our love, our hugs, and smiles,
Susan, Sloan & Wil
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Date of Birth: February 3, 1975
Position: Jr. Equities Accountant
Balewa started working for Cantor Fitzgerald in August 2000.
Balewa was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY.
Balewa started working for Cantor Fitzgerald in August 2000.
Balewa went on to Cornell University to major in biochemical engineer.
Balewa graduated in 1996
Balewa was intelligent, modest, funny, and mature beyond his years.
As a two-year-old he was known to pick up the Wall Street Journal and mimic his father.
He spent his off-time with his Cornell buddies,
What does a biochemical engineering major do with a job in equities? What did he do for the four years between college and Cantor? Anyone with a start date as recent as Balewa's is synthetically rendered, or ritually sacrificed. With Balewa I say rendered.
The sister's in on it, if only subliminally: "I have but 1 regret...I will never get the chance to see Josh grow old." Yes, that's why we regret people we love dying Jillian, but "he was a hero, and he will be revered forever" is way, way over the top, Jilly Bean Birnbaum. Gewt down from the cross---we need the wood!
Happy birthday Gemini!
Date of Birth: June 17, 1977
Position: Asst Bond Trader
Joshua's love for his mom, dad and sister, Jill, who was also his best friend, can best be understood when on Sept. 11 Joshua's first thoughts were to call his family to let them know that he loved them. It was his goodbye message that forever will be etched into their minds and hearts.
He was an extremely intelligent young man who graduated Columbia University in May of 2001 and started working for Cantor Fitzgerald 5 days after graduation. He was most proud that he got the job on his own and was just one of three people out of a group of 75 applicants who were offered the position on the bond trading desk.
Joshua's passion was music. He created a nonprofit event production company called Steps Back to Life and gave himself the moniker DJ Samsson. His dad's name is Sam and he respected and looked up to him so much he wanted to honor him. He spun underground club music and produced a CD.
While attending Columbia University, Josh DJ'd for Barnard's radio station, WBAR and arranged for a Thanksgiving benefit for the homeless collecting money and canned food. It was a big success. He later interned for Atlantic Records for a semester.
Josh loved the New York Yankees, playing golf, training for the San Diego Marathon in January and making people laugh.
He will forever be missed and loved by all he touched and is an inspiration to all who knew him.
"I met our first eyewitness, a Salomon Smith Barney employee, en route to work, who saw the first plane hit. "First thing I heard was an airplane really low. I looked up and I thought, there's no way it's going to miss that building. It was obviously intentional," he said. "You would see some debris flickering down, but then you could clearly see people in suits jumping from where the hole was."No name plant. His second eyewitness
"I could hear people screaming," a Morgan Stanley investment banker told me. "I could hear a man screaming at the top of his lungs, 'Help me!'"Since when is a job title an identification? The entire record is a synthetic fraud, and hear is one of the shibboleths exposing it. The first CNN news crew on the scene, Hirschkorn, "decided we would be a tape crew documenting what was happening, our pictures and sound to be used later as part of the historical record." But then look at the images accompanying this college magazine article---banal memorials to a thing unremembered.
Previously carrying the narrative water bucket in the 1993 WTC false-flag event, and the trials of the embassy bombings of 1998, Hirschkorn tells us his former rabbi's son died in the Cantor Fitzgerald offices but he doesn't give us a name.
P.S. Mr. Hirschkorn---there was no electrical wire component to the smell at Auschwitz.
Duke Magazine-Front-Line Journalism-Nov/Dec 2001 (archive.org cached copy. Original broke.)
(The pointless images of the memorial aftermath were taken by Duke alumni Greg Altman '95, and adds another name to the tribunal list.)
|Video Witness |
By Phil Hirschkorn
or me and thousands of other New York City dwellers, the day began with the most fundamental exercise of our democracy: voting. It was primary day for candidates hoping to become the 108th mayor in the city's history. My assignment for CNN was to cover the leading Democrat, Mark Green, and the leading Republican, Michael Bloomberg, going to the polls.
We need a mayor who can bring all of this city together," Green said to reporters after casting his ballot in an Upper East Side school gym. It was 7:30 a.m. In half an hour, the first of two jetliners unwittingly targeting the World Trade Center would take off from Boston. The city was about to be brought together in a way no one had envisioned.
After capturing Bloomberg voting, videotaping the sparse turnout at a West Side polling place, and interviewing voters about their choices, I headed back to our bureau across from Penn Station with my crew. The nine a.m. show wanted the tape. About ten to nine, I called in, to be told of some sketchy report of a fire at the World Trade Center. Could I head straight downtown and check it out? I quickly handed off the tape to a colleague in the lobby and asked her to take it upstairs. It never aired.
Back in our Ford Explorer, all-news radio started reporting a plane had collided with the twin towers. We thought we were being sent to an accident, most likely a prop plane or Cessna brushing up against the indestructible buildings. Just two weeks earlier, a French daredevil had landed a parasail on the Statue of Liberty, hoping to bungee-jump from the lady's torch. Could this too have been a stunt? I knew the towers were built to withstand the impact of a 707. It would be hours before I learned the plane that crashed into the north tower was an American Airlines 767. While we were driving, a United Airlines passenger jet plane struck the south tower.
Heading downtown as quickly as possible, we had to pull over when we saw the gaping wound in the north tower. I remember thinking, that's going to take months to patch up; it had to be a commercial plane. As we arrived on the scene, parking outside Stuyvesant High School as far south as police would let us travel, both towers were on fire. We were the first CNN crew on site.
I immediately tried calling the Atlanta control room on my cell phone to offer live reports on what I was witnessing on the ground, but the attack had knocked out a huge Verizon switching station, and getting a call through was impossible. Our microwave truck was on site, but the antenna that received and relayed the signal was atop the World Trade Center's north tower, and it would be a while before we could transmit elsewhere. Silenced and frustrated, out of the live game, I decided we would be a tape crew documenting what was happening, our pictures and sound to be used later as part of the historical record.
I instructed our cameraman to stay focused on the two towers, the flames, thinking that at some point the fire would be extinguished. We kept moving, trying to get as close to the towers as possible, moving south and east. The closest we got to the burning structures was Barclay Street, two blocks north of the WTC complex, a block behind the forty-seven-story WTC 7 building that housed the city's Office of Emergency Management, a $13-million, high-tech control center to coordinate responses to natural and man-made disasters. That building would be gone by the end of the day.
Rumors of a third incoming plane crackled on police radios. On the corner down the block from OEM, we saw what looked like plane debris--broken glass, foam, strips of metal--and stopped to tape it. There I met our first eyewitness, a Salomon Smith Barney employee, en route to work, who saw the first plane hit. "First thing I heard was an airplane really low. I looked up and I thought, there's no way it's going to miss that building. It was obviously intentional," he said. "You would see some debris flickering down, but then you could clearly see people in suits jumping from where the hole was."
The flames after the initial explosions appeared to have receded inside WTC 1, but above where the plane had struck, you could see bright red, like coals on a campfire. Later, we would learn the jet-fuel heat exceeded 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
"I could hear people screaming," a Morgan Stanley investment banker told me. "I could hear a man screaming at the top of his lungs, 'Help me!'" He had skipped the complimentary breakfast preceding a nine o'clock seminar inside the north tower, instead emerging from the Vesey Street subway station right after the plane hit his meeting place at 8:48 a.m. Like so many people that morning, he had found that a run-of-the-mill decision to be later than usual to work, or to run an errand, had made the difference between life and death.
We proceeded east in search of a better vantage point. By 9:45 a.m., we were at the southern end of City Hall Park. The street was Park Row, the block of J&R Music World, where, I made a mental note, Mahmud Abouhalima stood on Feb. 26, 1993, as a bomb-laden Ryder truck left by his co-conspirators sat in the south tower's underground garage. On that day, Abouhalima saw a puff of smoke and waited for the first tower to tumble into the second.
|photo: Greg Altman '95|
But at this moment on September 11, forty-five minutes after the planes hit, no one expected the buildings to fall--not the hundreds of firemen and emergency workers still inside and not the hundreds of curious and concerned New Yorkers standing what seemed a safe distance on sidewalks watching the fire. And not us. Suddenly, about five minutes before ten, we heard what sounded like an explosion. Were there bombs inside the planes? No. It was the sound of acre-wide concrete floors dropping like pancakes, one on top of the other. The fire had melted the steel beams supporting the floors, and gravity took over. The building fell straight down. Our cameraman had been recording the whole time.
We were stunned. We were also in danger. A tidal wave of smoke headed toward us. It was a huge black-and-gray cloud like a volcano eruption. Cops were screaming, "Get back!" and running. Everyone started running, and so did we. We sprinted several blocks north, certain we would be covered in toxic dust. Luckily we had a few blocks' head start. The cloud petered out as we reached the lower Manhattan federal courthouse, where I had spent much of the year covering the embassy bombings trial--associates of Osama bin Laden being convicted for the 1998 truck bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
After the second tower collapsed an hour later, a strange silence ensued. There was little we could do, except look for and talk to survivors. Where were they working when the explosions occurred? How did they get out? Were they all right? The rescue effort was, in effect, over. With the exception of five firefighters pulled from the rubble the following day, no one would come out alive. Hastily set-up triage centers remained empty, unused ambulances lined up and down the block. People waited on line for hours to give blood, and did, though it proved unneeded.
Forced to retreat by police, all the CNN crews in the area congregated a few blocks below Canal Street along the West Side Highway, now a private road for emergency vehicles. I sneaked back to Stuyvesant to retrieve our car just blocks from Ground Zero. It was like a nuclear winter. All the vehicles, the streets, and sidewalks were deserted and covered with two to three inches of white ash. I could see the fire burning, as it would for days, the world's largest rubble pile doubling as the world's worst funeral pyre. The plume of smoke stretched for miles over Manhattan, a dark scar across what was otherwise a picture-perfect blue sky. My eyes would sting for two days. The smell would linger longer--a mix of burning electrical wires and what was undoubtedly burning flesh. Was this what it was like outside the gates of Auschwitz?
A week later, I found myself in synagogue for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. In one section of responsive reading, the rabbi said, "When will redemption come?" The congregation answered, "When we master the violence that fills our world." Let's not hold our breath, I thought. The service highlight is the sounding of the shofar, a ram's horn turned musical instrument. Its burst of sound represents freedom and liberty ringing, and a call to the heavens on a day when humankind is supposedly judged and its fate is sealed. This year the shofar sounded too much like the sirens wailing around downtown New York.
Our rabbi broke the news at services that her predecessor, our family's rabbi for thirty years until his retirement, had lost his son in the World Trade Center attack--a father of two who had worked at Cantor Fitzgerald, the nation's leading U.S. Treasury bond trading firm that occupied the 101st through 105th floors of the north tower. Nearly 700 of the firm's employees, or one out of nine people killed in the WTC attack, worked there, all trapped when the first hijacked airliner turned into a missile. The firm's CEO, Howard Lutnick, is alive today because he chose to escort his son to his first day of kindergarten at Horace Mann, my alma mater, in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. One fellow HM alumnus perished in the trade center (and six fellow Duke alumni, I would discover) as did so many friends or relatives of friends. At a minimum, everyone in New York is two degrees of separation from the fatalities.
A month after the terrorist attack on my city, 80 percent of the towers' rubble was still there, with some buried metal beams still smoldering and the stench of death filling the air above lower Manhattan. On October 11, Mark Green won the Democratic runoff in the delayed mayoral election, but his path to City Hall was blocked by Bloomberg, who won an upset victory in November. The seemingly indispensable Giuliani will reluctantly relinquish power next January. Part of getting back to normal is restoring our democratic process interrupted with everything else on September 11. We have no choice but to look forward, as one meditation in my temple liturgy says:
We pause in terror before the human deed,
The cloud of annihilation, the concentrations of death,
The cruelly casual way of each to each.
But in the stillness of the hour, we find
our way from darkness to light.
Hirschkorn '89 is a news producer for CNN in New York
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
• Interview With Heather Mercer & Dayna Curry
November 09, 2001
November 08, 2001
October 19, 2001
• America's New War: Panelists Discuss Life Inside Afghanistan
• America's New War: Panel Discusses Retaliation, Airport Security Measures
• America's New War: President Bush Strikes at Terrorist Finances
www.usatoday.com/money/covers/2001-11-12-bcovmo... By Noelle Knox, USA TODAY
His father, a history professor, died after a nurse accidentally gave him an overdose of chemotherapy. Lutnick, who had just started Haverford College in Haverford, Pa., felt abandoned by his relatives, who offered little support.
But as the families waited for details of how Lutnick would take care of them, some criticized him, especially for his decision to take the victims off the payroll on Sept. 15, while rescuers still searched the rubble.
Lutnick calls the portrayal of his actions unfair. "I said, 'We would pay everyone on the 15th, and anyone who is not alive on the 30th, we can't pay.' And I said, 'I don't think anybody is alive.' "
Lutnick also set up a foundation for the families, including the cafeteria workers and other contractors on Cantor's floors. The foundation has started sending out checks for $1,500 per child to the families.
Cantor's pledge to support the families has inspired the surviving staff.
"The bar has been set, and we're headed toward it, and we're going to go past it," says Craig Cummings, a trader who is alive because he had a golf game with clients on Sept. 11. "The families are now all behind us, and I can't stress enough how, as a team, the firm is moving forward."
Amid all the devastation, some good luck helped speed Cantor's recovery.
Six of eSpeed's top technology executives, including Claus, had planned to go on an annual, 1-day fishing trip that day. The trip was canceled because of bad conditions on the Atlantic — but not until 8 a.m. All six were on their way to the office when the planes hit the towers, killing President Frederick Varacchi and 125 other eSpeed employees.
The six executives headed straight to the firm's New Jersey location and started rerouting the trading network. They worked around the clock, napping on the floor. One slept with his head propped on an upside-down coffee cup.
When the bond markets reopened Sept. 13, eSpeed was up and running.
'Climbing back fast and hard'
Last week, [Nov. 12, 2001] investors were trading $150 billion worth of bonds a day through Cantor, back above pre-attack levels.
Bond trading had been shifting to electronic trading even before the attacks, and Lutnick says it is "unlikely" he will replace his bond brokers. "We are not going to try to get back to who we were," he says. "We are going to take the cards that have been dealt to us. Take the assets we still have, which are incredible, and just play a different way."
Lutnick, however, must hire scores of people to restaff his stock-trading operations. In the past 8 weeks, he has hired about 50 people, including Tony Manzo, the veteran head of Nasdaq trading at Prudential.
"While we are surely not where we were," Lutnick says, "we are definitely climbing back fast and hard."
One client, Scott Geller, director of stock trading at the investment firm Cramer Rosenthal & McGlynn, says he had to wait until Sept. 25 to place his first order with Cantor because so many of its employees were out attending funerals.Last month, he had to close unprofitable offices in Paris and Frankfurt, Germany.
December 10, 2001, Howard Lutnick's Second Life',' New York Magazine, www.printthis.clickability.com/pt/cpt?action=cp... By Meryl Gordon
Jennifer Gardner, who reveled with her husband, Doug, another Haverford classmate and a partner at Lutnick's firm, Cantor Fitzgerald,
75 Cantor Fitzgerald technical-support-staff members. These people are alive only by luck; their workday at 1 World Trade Center started at 9 a.m.,
They are furiously fighting off competitors who would feed on the firm's misfortune.
"Two things allow me to communicate with my employees," he says. "I was there, and I lost my brother."
By the 13th, he'd become the accidental survivor who was crying on Connie Chung about how it felt to lose so many people and to run for his life. By the 15th, he was the Dickensian villain who'd cut off the widow's mite, the paychecks of the dead, to assure the bankers of his sangfroid. By October 10, he had announced a munificent and detailed financial plan for the families.
"I needed my bankers to know that I was in control," Lutnick says. "That I wasn't sentimental and that I was no less motivated or driven to make my business survive."
The luckiest people in New York? The twenty Cantor Fitzgerald staff members let go on Monday, September 10, most of whom have loyally returned to the firm.
Richard Breeden, the former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman who serves on the board of eSpeed,
"The business of bond traders is people fighting for one hundredth of a penny," Breeden says.
Cantor Fitzgerald's chaotic, box-filled temporary headquarters UBS Warburg Building
Practically twice a day for weeks, the building has been evacuated because of bomb scares phoned in by some apparent wacko targeting Warburg.
Dave Kravette, a Lutnick friend since the seventh grade
Stuart Fraser, the easygoing vice-chairman of the firm
Elise Sand, Elise, who lost her brother in the attack, Mourning his brother-in-law, Fraser
Cantor Fitzgerald was left with 1,450 employees, including vital players in the firm's large London office,
Lutnick closed offices in Paris and Frankfurt, and transferred these staff members to London.
To the awe of Wall Street and government regulators, Cantor was able to get the company's U.S. eSpeed operations -- a crucial link in the Treasury markets -- up and running two days after the attack.
a series of "miracles" -- a golf outing with clients; a corporate fishing trip, canceled at 8 a.m., that prevented the disappointed anglers from getting to their desks by 9 --
Lauren Manning and Harry Waizer, two employees who were severely burned by a fireball of jet fuel that hit the lobby of the Trade Center,
eSpeed -- the publicly traded division of the privately held Cantor -- is actually expected to be profitable in the fourth quarter. That day, eSpeed stock soars more than 20 percent, almost reaching its pre-September 11 level,
He schmoozes on the phone with a pleased major investor, then takes a call from an Orthodox Jewish family distraught over their son's missing remains. "I know, I know, I'm just like you,"
He is still waiting for DNA tests to tell him that his brother, Gary, is really gone.
His fiercely loyal secretary, Maryann Burns,
He is referring to a dead colleague, Beth Logler
he recruited his buddy Doug Gardner, who left his father's real-estate firm to join Cantor Fitzgerald.
Jennifer Gardner, who talks to Lutnick and his wife almost daily,
"I miss Doug's partners. I could get through this so much better if they were here."
reviewing, one by one, the $45 million in bonuses going out to families of dead employees.
In 1978, his senior year of high school, Jane Lutnick died of lymphoma. Less than a year later, His father, was dead.
his college roommate Michael Kaminer,
Lutnick talks about feeling abandoned by his uncles and aunts and grandparents after the death of his parents. "The way I describe it, you're either in or you're out," he says. "What I learned in 1979, all my relatives -- they stepped out. We learned to live without all of them. All of them. It was just the three of us. Gary and Edie and me."
Lutnick to become the protégé of Bernard Gerald Cantor
Stuart Fraser, Iris Cantor's nephew, this was a family feud in which he sided with his friend, Lutnick,
His mother and Iris are sisters but no longer speak. The distressed Fraser says that after September 11, "Iris didn't even call to find out if I was alive."
Only one in six opted to purchase company-subsidized supplemental life insurance of up to $1 million.
on the wall of a 1998 Westchester golf tournament, with a photo of Howard and Gary and Stuart Fraser and Doug Gardner.
his secretary, Maryann Burns, the world's most punctual woman, drove to the Bayside train station and couldn't find a space to park. She ran for her train and missed it by a minute.
Stuart Fraser had cut back on his work week earlier in the year, coming in to the World Trade Center only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Those mornings, he always joined his brother-in-law Eric Sand at 7:30 a.m. at his desk on the 105th floor for a bagel and coffee. But an Australian investor, flying in to discuss a personal project involving canoe camps, had asked to switch their September 10 meeting to September 11, and to do it out of the office. So Fraser was at home in Armonk that morning, waiting to go to his appointment.Dave Kravette was at his desk on the 105th floor at 7:30 a.m.,
Howard and Allison were perched on child-size chairs in their son's classroom when both their cell phones rang and then died. Howard was summoned by a school staff member to the lobby, where he learned from his driver, Maio, that a plane had hit the Trade Center.
"Like a combination of a jet engine in my ear, and metallic, like the Titanic hitting, an eerie sound," Lutnick says
Cantor lawyer Stephen Merkel had survived. Lutnick made his way to Merkel's Greenwich Village home, where other Cantor employees showed up,
Lutnick was fairly certain that Gary, who had called Edie in the final moments to say good-bye, hadn't made it, nor had Doug Gardner. Instead of heading directly home to be with his own family, Lutnick went to see Jennifer Gardner and her two young children at their Upper West Side home. "He was covered with concrete and dust," she says. "We were speechless. He kept saying, 'You are fine, you will be fine, I love you.' Doug and Howard loved each other like brothers. I'm sure Howard is the loneliest man in the world because of what happened. He had lost nearly 700 people.
A Tale Of Renewal: For the 9/11 survivors of Cantor Fitzgerald, working to rebuild their firm has been the key to healing 9/11 FIVE YEARS LATER By Tom Barbash
It just might be that the Americans most able to move on from the events of September 11 are the men and women of Cantor Fitzgerald who lived through them.
Heidi Olson, now chief administrative officer for equities, had left Cantor when the firm downsized just before the attacks; she came back to work the next day. Chris Crosby and Jim Johnson are both members of the technology team at eSpeed, Cantor's electronic bond-trading system. Crosby was setting out on a fishing trip when the Twin Towers were hit. Johnson was working in Cantor's London office.
Harry Waizer, Cantor's tax specialist, was out to dinner recently with his wife, Karen, and someone he hadn't met before. "It came out that I'd been in the building on 9/11, and I got the look," Waizer tells me the next day in his office.
Waizer was in an elevator high in the North Tower when the plane struck. Flames ignited inside the car and he was badly burned on his body and face and in his throat.
Stephen Merkel was on a different elevator on the lobby level when the plane hit. Merkel was physically unharmed
Frank Walczak Walczak, a life-long surfer, had taken the day off on September 11 to catch the swells kicked up by Hurricane Erin. Sitting on his board in the water off Sandy Hook, just south of the city in New Jersey, Walczak saw smoke pouring out of the Trade Center. He began calling the office and the homes of his colleagues. No one else on the foreign exchange desk where he worked survived. Walczak had to reinvent himself as an equities trader. He now works in Cantor's Shrewsbury (N.J.) office,
"I had a lot of guilt with this. I still get the feeling that people look at me and think, 'Why weren't you there?'
Cantor Partner David Kravette, a childhood friend of Lutnick and one of only two Cantor survivors who had been in the office that morning and left before the plane hit.
In the firm's post 9/11 realignment Kravette was forced, like Walczak, to switch jobs and become an equities trader after a dozen years trading bonds.
Joe Noviello, chief product architect at eSpeed.
Noviello, Crosby, Matt Claus, and two others survived because they were preparing to take a fishing trip. When they heard about the attacks, they convened at Cantor's disaster recovery site in Rochelle Park, N.J. (built after the 1993 World Trade Center attack), and began the Herculean task of restoring Cantor's bond trading system.
LaChanze, who won the Tony Award this year  for best actress,
sane[?] and restored her happiness. "I can't imagine my life with Calvin now because I'm married to someone else," she said. "But I wish he was here. I miss him."
LaChanze was in her ninth month of pregnancy on September 11. She was one of thirty-eight wives of Cantor Fitzgerald victims who were pregnant. I visited her in the hospital shortly after the attacks. She told me then she could never imagine remarrying.
The December after the attacks, Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, who'd heard about LaChanze's loss, called her and told her she needed to get out of the house and start working. Ensler knew LaChanze only through her work but gave her a role reading the play for a three-week run at an Off-Broadway theater near Times Square. It changed everything, LaChanze says.
"I really was spiraling down," she says. "I was an unemployed actress with two children, a husband who had died. My prospects were slim. I got that job, and I saw that I could be productive. That I had things I could bring to people."
Two years ago she met the artist Derek Fordjour when she commissioned one of his paintings as a gift for an attorney who had handled her post 9/11 finances pro bono. They married in the summer of 2005.
LaChanze says she's tiring of September 11 memorials.
I don't want to go back there over and over again," she says.
Phil Marber, the popular head of Cantor Fitzgerald Equities. "For a long time I couldn't really figure out why I wasn't there with everybody else.
"I used to get very sad and reflective when I was alone in the car or alone in the dark. As time went on, it happened less, and I just stopped one day. Just this past weekend, I was at a party, and I met one of the firefighters. He told me how he'd been at the scene that day and then we told each other stories with much more color and granularity and clarity than we would normally tell them with. Because we'd both lived through it. I could see everything as we talked, and so that makes me know that it's all still very present in me. It just doesn't come out in front of everyone."
While he values time with his wife and children, he says he now equally cherishes his days at the firm with the other Cantor survivors.
"We stood at hell's doors, and we held the line. It doesn't matter what you throw at us. [Our people] will hold their line, and I'll hold mine. It's much more personal now."
'The man who had everything' By Edward Cone 6-2-02
A former colleague of mine at Forbes, who wrote a scathing article about Cantor a few years ago, appeared on "20/20" this fall to question Howard's integrity. Before he went on the air he called me to ask if I thought Howard was faking his tears.
This about a man fresh from his brother's funeral, who stood up to eulogize his best friend, Doug, just five days after the attack. I shared the lectern with him in front of 1,100 mourners at Calvin's funeral,
Cantor Fitzgerald 'Our People'
Mr. Lutnick is the recipient of numerous awards in recognition of his philanthropic efforts. He received the Department of the Navy's Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest honor granted by the Navy to nonmilitary personnel.
...he is a frequently sought speaker and commentator, and has addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and testified before committees of both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.
Mr. Marber's leadership was a significant part of Cantor Fitzgerald's reconstruction after the events of September 11, 2001. Following the events, the firm made a strategic decision to rebuild its U.S. franchise on the strength of Mr. Marber's Equities Sales and Trading business, which was headquartered in New York but maintained several satellite offices across large U.S. cities. Today the Institutional Equities Sales and Trading division is flourishing, and continues to rank at the top of listed U.S. Securities brokers for cross ratios, execution and client-service.
Secretary and Director
Stephen Merkel is Executive Managing Director; General Counsel and Secretary of Cantor Fitzgerald L.P. He joined Cantor Fitzgerald in 1993 and oversees all legal, compliance, risk management, credit and internal audit functions for the firm. He is a Director of eSpeed and has been the Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of eSpeed since June 1999. Mr. Merkel also serves as a Director and Secretary of the Cantor Exchange (SM).
Prior to joining Cantor Fitzgerald, Mr. Merkel was Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at Goldman Sachs & Co., dedicated to the J. Aron Division. He began his career at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison.
As Chief Financial Officer of Cantor, Douglas R. Barnard is responsible for all financial and accounting operations. In this role, Mr. Barnard oversees financial reporting and budgeting, globally.
A seasoned veteran with over 20 years experience in corporate accounting, Mr. Barnard joined from Dover Management LLC, an investment management firm, where he served as Chief Administrative Officer. Prior to his tenure with Dover, Mr. Barnard held the position of Managing Director and Controller of the Americas Region at Deutsche Bank AG, where he oversaw all regional financial control during a period of rapid expansion, including the integration of Bankers Trust Corporation. Previously, Mr. Barnard was a Vice President and Investment Banking Controller at Goldman Sachs & Co., joining the bank from Deloitte Haskins & Sells.
President at Cantor Fitzgerald, L.P.
'9/11 Book Follows Hard-Hit Firm Cantor Fitzgerald Lost 658 Workers In Terror Attack,'
By Bootie Cosgrove-Mather www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/02/06/print/main53...
"My life had become surreal," said Lutnick, who is 41 and has a gravelly voice and slicked-back hair. "I just wanted help in trying to remember. ... I wanted someone who was at least one step removed."
Lutnick and Barbash spoke at Cantor's temporary headquarters in midtown, where Lutnick's office decor includes fragments of Rodin sculptures salvaged from the trade center ruins, relics of the collection amassed by the firm's founder, Bernie Cantor.
Initially, the book was envisioned as a memorial, said Barbash, who teaches writing at Stanford University and San Francisco State University and has published a novel, "The Last Good Chance." He and Lutnick were schoolmates at Haverford College in Pennsylvania.
The new book, subtitled "Cantor Fitzgerald, Howard Lutnick, and 9/11: A Story of Loss and Renewal," tells how the firm survived. Present-tense narrative passages alternate with first-person accounts from Lutnick and others who were spared by quirks of fate - they were late to work, they were on vacation, they were in the lobby clearing a visitor through security.
"Three hundred twenty-five people could not, days after the attack, pay the salaries of 658 people who died, when it was unlikely ... that the 325 people would have had a business that covered their own pay."
Sheila Martello, whose husband, James, was an equity sales trader for Cantor, said Lutnick has been "nothing but helpful."
ESpeed, Cantor's publicly traded subsidiary, which was trading at $8.69 a share on Sept. 10, 2001, was trading at more than $15 this week.
Cantor has given $90 million in profits to the Sept. 11 victims' families so far.
Grieving friend or calculating villain? The view of Howard Lutnick in Tom Barbash's new book, On top of the World, is still murky. But one thing is clear—he's a businessman.
Published Jan 27, 2003
a new mission. Lutnick vowed to stay in business for the sake of “my 700 families.”
that he’d made September 15 the date of his lost employees’ final paycheck because Cantor couldn’t afford to pay their salaries. A man who could do such a thing—before some of the families had even accepted that their loved ones were dead
In Tom Barbash’s logy, teary new book, On Top of the World (it began as an as-told-to, before Lutnick, citing time constraints, decided last September to remove his byline), Lutnick pleads guilty to calculation. “Always, we were thinking, Which way do we go now?” he says. “Where do we move? Like chess . . .
It was in a Cantor partner’s West Village townhouse on the night of September 11 that Lutnick decided that the best way to help the victims’ families was to quickly bring his business back to health—to do good by doing well.
Simultaneously, he was trying to convince bank regulators that his company could survive the loss of its employees, and that he could still lead it. “Essentially they said, Howard, I understand bad things have happened to you, but this is a business conversation, and . . . you’re screwed.” Wall Street was back to playing Wall Street games. Lutnick acquired a nickname: “the grim weeper.” And the CEO of one of Cantor’s British competitors crowed in an e-mail about the opportunity to “put one up their bottom.”
Before September 11, what was most notable about Lutnick was his business acumen—and smash-mouth tactics—and a materialism that can verge on self-parody.
Barbash spent months with Lutnick and the Cantor Fitzgerald survivors, but he spent the time as a friend—he was on the Haverford tennis team with Lutnick—as much as a reporter. His book often feels like a Cantor Fitzgerald scrapbook, a wake between covers, a jumble of first-person accounts and present-tense scene-setting, interspersed with Lutnick’s italicized reminiscences. There are moving stories here, but Barbash is writing for his subjects, not his readers. Lutnick, who began as an author and character, ends up being neither fully.
"I saw a couple of elevators in free fall; you could hear them whizzing down and as they crashed, there was this huge explosion, like a fireball exploding out of the bank of elevators," Kravette said. "People were engulfed in flames."
He escaped across an overpass to the West Side Highway. Three Cantor employees in the lobby suffered severe burns but will survive. His pregnant secretary is missing.
'Victimized company tries to get on with business,' Chron.com -
The face of Eddie Schunk is plastered on fliers all over Manhattan. When his wife, Lisa, walked into a Cantor family-support center set up in the grand ballroom of New York's Plaza Hotel, she was overwhelmed by a wall of photographs of missing employees.
"I'm not giving up on my husband," she said. "But I know wherever he is, he's with everybody else at Cantor."
No one does more volume than Cantor: It controls as much as 75 percent of the government-securities market.
One of the most valuable services Cantor provided to big institutional clients like banks and insurance companies was the ability to trade anonymously, selling off or buying millions of dollars worth of bonds without alarming others in the market.
The company's backup system in Rochelle Park, N.J., kicked in almost immediately after the attack and would have continued to hum if bond trading had not been suspended. Two days later, Cantor's electronic-broker system was up and running an hour before the bond market cranked up again, thanks to the all-night efforts of the company's surviving technology whizzes.
Now, despite unspeakable grief for their friends and relatives, and the logistical nightmare of rebuilding the offices in other locations, Cantor has moved ahead aggressively. New hires have been brought in. Former employees have returned to help out.
Cantor capped its life-insurance payments at $100,000 -- for some families, far less than the expected payment of twice an employee's salary.
For Kravette, a 40-year-old father of two, it was his pregnant secretary and a visitor without identification.
Instead of sending his secretary, Kravette caught an elevator down from the 105th floor to meet clients in the lobby. "I was trying to be the nice guy," Kravette said. He emerged in the lobby, slightly aggravated at the inconvenience.
"Which one of you knuckleheads came without an ID?" Kravette recalled asking, just as a tremendous explosion shook the six-story lobby.
"I saw a couple of elevators in free fall; you could hear them whizzing down and as they crashed, there was this huge explosion, like a fireball exploding out of the bank of elevators," Kravette said. "People were engulfed in flames."
He escaped across an overpass to the West Side Highway. Three Cantor employees in the lobby suffered severe burns but will survive. His pregnant secretary is missing. Others suffocated in thick black smoke in the skyscraper's stairwell as they tried to make it to the roof. Several made phone calls or were in the midst of conference calls, managing to tell clients and family members they were trapped.
Others, like Jack Lanzer, 30, were on vacation. With their car packed, he and his wife lingered in the city so they could vote in the Sept. 11 mayoral primary. "The first week I was a mess. Whenever I stop to think about it, tears come to my eyes," said Lanzer, a member of the equities-trading support staff. "Everybody's lost friends up there. I had an uncle up there, and he was getting married next month."
Cantor Fitzgerald was not the only hard-hit firm, but few were as tightly knit. A private partnership, the firm often hired the friends and family of existing employees.
Peter DaPuzzo, co-president of equities said "We have many sons of standing members of the Security Traders Association working for us," he added. "Nepotism makes our industry work because we know that if the father or mother is good, you know the son or daughter is good in this business." parents like Geraldine Shaw, a receptionist from Princeton, N.J. She lost her 42-year-old son, Jeffrey.
"We're hoping we'll find some part of him," she said, sobbing, "so we can put closure to this."
Although much is made of the family-like nature of Cantor Fitzgerald, it was, and still is, a hard-nosed business. Nearly 500 people had lost their jobs before Sept. 11, and 300 more were about to be axed, made obsolete by the success of their electronic bond-trading network, DaPuzzo said. The reliance on that technology is a key reason Cantor survive.
September 10, 2004
The New York Times, 'Firm That Was Hit Hard on 9/11 Grows Anew,'
www.nytimes.com/2004/09/10/business/10cantor.ht... By RIVA D. ATLAS
is a much different company today than it was the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. It is spinning off what was once its core business of brokering trades in government bonds among banks, and is diversifying into new areas, including asset management and investment banking.
said William Doyle, whose son, Joseph, was a Cantor employee who died in the attack. "But Howard has really gone to bat for these families. He hasn't forgotten them." Allan Horwitz, whose 24-year-old son, Aaron, a Cantor employee, died in the attack,
Some of the growth is from Cantor's stock trading division, which was less disrupted than many of Cantor's businesses after the terrorist attack, said Philip Marber, president of the unit, because it had a number of crucial employees at other locations.
Cantor's subsidiary, eSpeed, an electronic trading company that is listed as a public company, has had its ups and downs since 9/11. The company, which turned profitable at the end of 2001, said recently that it expected this year's earnings to be lower than it had previously projected because of a price war. The price of eSpeed's shares, which rose from a low of $5 a share after the terrorist attack to a high of $27.60 last November, have fallen 59 percent this year, to $9.58 a share. "There are competitive issues eSpeed faces," Mr. Lutnick, who is also chief executive of eSpeed, said. But the company "has certainly faced more difficult situations," he said.
CNN AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN
Cantor Fitzgerald's Fighting Spirit
Aired January 24, 2003 - 09:21 ET
a new book. It is called "On Top of the World," and the author, Tom Barbash, is Howard Lutnick's longtime friend.
in order to try to rebuild a company to help these families. And it became so surreal that I thought it would be important for Tom to be with us and to -- and to make sure we documented it, because sooner later, it would all become a blur and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) remember.
ZAHN: And you pretty much were with Howard around the clock?
TOM BARBASH, AUTHOR, "ON TOP OF THE WORLD": Yes. Well, yes. And I think the idea in the beginning was that maybe if there was a book to be written, it would be a memorial, that it was not at all likely that Cantor Fitzgerald would survive after what happened September 11. But then what evolved ended up being a story that took -- well, Howard was occupied, literally, 20-22 hours a day. And you slept, what is that, four or five hours a day usually?
LUTNICK: Yes, a couple of hours I get to sleep.
You had promised the families to take care of them, but then you had to cut off their paychecks to save your company. Now, at the same time, you had suffered the personal loss of your own brother, so you certainly could understand their pain.
LUTNICK: Well, we had offered 25 percent of our profits and 10 years of healthcare, but the -- I guess some people in the media and the media sort of captured that. Some people said 25 percent of a company that's been decimated, well maybe that's just words, that's not really going to mean anything. And they -- and they doubted that we could actually bring it back together. And then people got angry because they thought this is a sort of a CEO sort of thing.
But we knew that what we needed to do was take care of our friend's families. I mean these were our friends who were killed
LUTNICK: I think we are -- we are one. I mean the 650 families and the -- and those who survived at Cantor Fitzgerald are one and the same together. Tom's been at a variety of the meetings that we've had together.
ZAHN: You witnessed the hostility firsthand...
BARBASH: I did. I did.
ZAHN: ... directed at Howard.
BARBASH: I did.
ZAHN: How bad did it get?
BARBASH: Well, it was an incredible thing to see somebody that you'd gone to college with and you in another context and to see Howard and see the company go through what they went through and then -- and then to go through that. I think what people kept saying is why isn't Cantor Fitzgerald doing more? But then the question that you had to ask at that point, what was Cantor Fitzgerald? If the buildings come down and 700 people are dead, then what is Cantor Fitzgerald at that point?
And Howard had pledged to do things. I knew, because I was with Howard, that he was working around the clock to do things for the families. But there was every reason to doubt his word at that point, because it wasn't clear how the company could possibly do, you know, what he said -- that Howard said he would do for the families at that point. And I think there's a lot of anger at people who survived. I think that was another complication is that it was the people who survived were people who are on vacation, who are late, who are sick, who...
ZAHN: Who dropping their kid off at school like Howard.