And the smell of 9/11 will finally be gone

And the smell of 9/11 will finally be gone
: The Times writes this morning about the piece-by-piece dismantling of the wounded Deutsche Bank building beside the World Trade Center.

It is the last place that holds the smell of 9/11: that metalic, electric, wet, moldly, sick-sweet smell that covered the city and New Jersey in the days after the attacks. It cannot leave soon enough.

This morning, as I flew to Boston, we went aside Manhattan for it was the first time I saw the hole from the air. And it hurts all over again. I can feel the dust again. I can smell the smell again. That damned smell will live on in memory even when it is gone from Manhattan.

  • MPF

    I remember that smell really well – it lingered in Lower Manhattan for months after the attacks (my office was on Centre Street at the time), and it hit you as soon as you stepped out of the Brooklyn Bridge 4/5/6 stop. Has anyone else seen reference to that particular post-WTC odor anywhere else? This post reminded me of it very strongly, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone write about it. Just curious.

  • John

    Agreed. That stench is the sense memory that holds the most recall for me.
    Let it be gone.

  • Tom

    It’s pretty strange that I can actually smell it at the moment. I remember how bad it was when I was back in the city the next week, and how it lingered and lingered and lingered, seemingly forever.

  • KMK

    I would swear I get a whiff of it on the 1 and the 9 sometimes. We wound up throwing out a few air conditioners because they retained the smell.

  • Yes.

  • growler

    The smell came to mind yesterday. An out-of-town visitor wanted to see the WTC site (I’m glad he said that and not “Ground Zero.”). Last time I was down there the closest one could get was across the street. Now they’ve got that big fence up. Honestly, the Deutsch Bank building and the emptiness of WTC 7 disturbed me more.
    But then we went to St. Paul’s. They’re having an exhibit there. I stood before a small altar sent by a church in London (It was the only thing of value they had to give). It was covered with pictures of those who died. The church still has banners sent from around the country. Hit hard all over again.
    I wanted to tell my friend about the smell. About how I could smell it as far up as the east 80s. About how I would leave my window open at night because the smell, as horrible as it was, was something I had to experience as much as possible so I’d never forget. I didn’t tell my friend. I don’t think he would’ve gotten it. But that smell, I’ll never forget.