Discovery Near 9/11 Site Stirs Memories

By Javier C. Hernandez New York Times

For years, Lilia Tahlov tried to push it out of her thoughts. The “horrible day,” as she calls it, when the sky turned black and her teeth chattered incessantly.

A part thought to be from a plane that crashed into the World Trade Center was found between these buildings on Friday.

But the other day, when she turned on the television and saw a picture of part of a plane’s landing gear, the memories rushed back. She knelt down and prayed, repeating words that she had not said since she was a child in Russia: “Have mercy on the meek!”

“Everything is coming back to me,” Ms. Tahlov, 47, a hair stylist, said. “Everything. Bam-bam-bam.”

On Saturday, residents in Lower Manhattan were grappling with the news that a piece of machinery — presumably from one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 — had been found wedged between two nearby buildings.

For the community that lives in the shadow of the World Trade Center, the discovery elicited a range of emotions.

Many were startled that the landing gear part had taken so long to recover, several said they did not want to dwell on it and were eager to move on, and some were stricken anew with grief.

“It’s still heartbreaking, all these years later,” said Scott Brown, a lawyer. “Even with the 9/11 memorial, nothing looks quite right around here.”

Ed Kim, 36, a prosecutor who lives in the area, said it was startling to be reminded of a day that had begun to fade into history.

“For so long, it has been a backdrop,” Mr. Kim said. “You think everything has been found, that there is nothing new to uncover.”

The part of the plane’s landing gear was stamped plainly with a serial number: Boeing CSTG65884045. On Saturday, the police said Boeing confirmed that the part was from a 767. Two 767s struck the World Trade Center towers.

Fernando Garcia, 33, was a young student in Mexico when the attacks occurred. His brother, then working in Lower Manhattan, called and told him stories of trembling buildings and people hiding for hours in basements.

He said that September 11, in many ways, defined his generation, and that he welcomed opportunities to reflect on the moment. “It is a part of all of us, even if we are not American,” said Mr. Garcia, who works at the Dakota Roadhouse, a bar next to where the landing gear part was discovered.

Ms. Tahlov, who came to the United States in 1995, said she still remembers the moment when the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center: She threw her coffee into the air and fell to the ground.

She said she was looking forward to next week; removal of the gear part is expected to begin as early as Wednesday. Ms. Tahlov said she hoped no more relics of September 11 would be found.

“This is too painful to reopen, too painful to think about every day,” she said. “Our hearts still need time to heal.”

A version of this article appeared in print on April 28, 2013, on page A22 of the New York edition with the headline: Discovery Near 9/11 Site Stirs Memories.

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