It was a magnificent, late-summer morning in New York on Sept. 11, 2001.
There wasn't a cloud in the sky. The Yankees were atop the American League East with a 13-game lead over the second-place Boston Red Sox. The top box-office draws were Peter Hyams' "The Musketeer" and the romantic comedy "Two Can Play That Game."
And at the World Trade Center, the staff at Borders and Sam Goody were preparing for a busy day, with Jay-Z's "The Blueprint," Nickelback's "Silver Side Up," Bob Dylan's "Love and Theft" and Mariah Carey's "Glitter" soundtrack all slated for release that day.
Glassnote Entertainment Group founder/CEO Daniel Glass, at the time president of Artemis Records, had gone for a run before getting ready to go to work at the label's offices on West 18th Street. As he emerged from the Union Square subway station at mid-morning, he immediately noticed something was wrong. "Thousands of people were staring downtown," he recalls. "Until that day, I didn't realize you could see the World Trade Center towers from there."
Up by Times Square at RCA Records' headquarters on 1540 Broadway, then-RCA chairman/North America CEO Bob Jamieson was watching a TV report about a plane crash at the World Trade Center when he realized that he would have a clear view of lower Manhattan from the other end of the hall. Once there, he saw that the top of the North Tower was enveloped in smoke.
"I was standing there looking out the window at the World Trade Center and then saw the next plane fly into the other tower," Jamieson recalls. "As it hit, I literally fell backward into a chair."
About an hour later, J&R Music & Computer World corporate sales manager Marty Singer was standing outside the downtown Manhattan store by City Hall, paralyzed with horror as he saw people leaping out of the stricken Twin Towers.
Suddenly, the South Tower buckled and began to crumble. A massive cloud of black smoke and dust began expanding out from the site toward the store. "It was pitch black like midnight and coming straight at us," Singer says.
A half hour later, the hellish scene repeated itself when the North Tower fell.