Daljit S. Bais

 
 
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Most Thrilling Moments - During construction of Newark Airport Redevelopment Program, as an engineer supervising the construction, walking higher up on the steel beams and on the roof of large umbrellas was very exciting, which most of the American Indian Community perform fearlessly, and being from the Indian American community was a matter enjoyed by many colleagues and contractors.

During the July 4, 1976 Bicentennial Celebration, watching the Tall Ships parade up the Hudson River from the 73rd Floor with my family was really a spectacle which I fondly remember, culminating with a memorable dinner at the Windows on the World Restaurant on the 108th Floor.

As a project administrator in the World Trade Department, escorting many foreign dignitaries and visitors to the Observation Deck on the roof of 2 WTC often was thrilling. Once I got the opportunity to ride in a window-washing trolley on the outside of one of the towers -- a time of fear and thrills I never would have felt anywhere else, but during my tenure at the Port Authority.

Most Horrific Moments Ė During the February 26, 1993 bombing in the basement parking area on February 26, 1993, around 12:25 PM, I had just come out of the elevator into the lobby area of One WTC. I heard the thundering boom, which a colleague with me initially was thought to be the bursting of a transformer on the lower (6th floor) basement level. I saw people, some with bloody noses, running to get out the building surrounded with smoke and dust. I tried to help people of the doors on the West Side Highway. Firefighters came on the scene in a matter of minutes and asked us to evacuate the area.

Out on the west side with the stranded and shocked crowd, I observed debris falling from above. People still inside were breaking windows, having heard on the radio that they should let the authorities know that they were still trapped in the building. Panic spread in the crowd that the building might come down any moment. Everyone, including me, ran away to the west side of the highway. We waited there for some time with no specific information. Finally, I decided to take the subway to Penn Station to get home, though normally I rode to work in a carpool every day. While waiting for the train, I decided to call home from a pay phone, to tell my wife who might have seen the news on the TV, that I was safe and on my way home via train, and when she could pick me up at the train station in New Brunswick. To my surprise, she mentioned that I didnít have to call to relieve her fear, because she had seen me running on TV -- a person with grey hair, wearing a blue blazer, while crossing the West Side Highway. She thought if I could run, I must be safe. During those days I used to run the NYC Marathon, which I ran every year, starting in 1985.

I spend 28 years at the Port Authority, and they were the hallmark of my life. I enjoyed every moment with my colleagues, some of whom became friends for life. I remember my time there as the happiest of my life.

 

 


 


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