I reside in Latham but am originally from Hoboken, N.J.
I attended Siena College and graduated in 1974, and stayed in the area until 1999, when I moved back to New Jersey and worked in NYC. I moved back to Albany in 2015.
That eventful day, I had driven into Manhattan with my brother Michael. He worked for Manhattan Transit Authority and I worked on State Street, NYC, near the Staten Island Ferry. As was the case, I would drive to my office, and then Michael would take the car to park at MTA and return in the evening.
That morning my brother called me in my office to tell me to watch the TV about a plane crashing into the tower.
When I turned the news on, I saw the second plane hit the tower. In fact, in our office, those on the 13th floor facing south saw the plane fly up Broadway directly to the tower.
After the disaster, all in our office were told to go to the basement and wait it out.
By early afternoon, I had grown weary of waiting. I walked up Broadway and across one of the bridges to Brooklyn to my brother’s office.
While in his office I saw a message on the TV that the Verrazzano Bridge was open.
My comment to my brother: “Get the car, we’re outta here!”
We were the only car leaving Manhattan on the Verrazzano Bridge headed to New Jersey. Normally a one-hour ride took us five hours with many stops, searches and inquiries by the New Jersey State Police.
My memory of that day was the clear blue sky; also of all the merchants along the way that offered assistance as we walked by.
My most memorable event: When I took the PATH train into NYC/World Trade Center, I would pass a shoeshine man located near World Trade Center. I always said hello. In fact, I called him “Governor.” He in turn would say hello. After the tragedy, I didn’t go to the site for at least a week or so. I walked up one afternoon to just stare. From behind me, I heard, “Hey man, need a shine?” I turned to see him smiling, We hugged, and I still carry that memory.
There were also the people you would see on the train every day but only nod to — after 9/11, you became close and thankful for each other.
Albany is home, but my heart is in New Jersey.
-Roger M. Fucilli, Latham
More Remembrances: We remember; The Daily Gazette’s special Sept. 11 anniversary section