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Phone lines were jammed in Queens, making it nearly impossible for residents to reach relatives in Manhattan and other parts of the borough or for survivors to contact their families.
Public schools remained open in the borough as children waited to be picked up by parents, some of whom work in Manhattan, which was sealed off after two planes crashed into the World Trade Center towers early Tuesday morning. The two towers eventually crumbled.
Both LaGuardia and Kennedy airports were evacuated as flights throughout the nation were suspended. The Long Island Rail Road and subway service to Queens from Manhattan was halted.
Vehicle traffic over the Queensborough and Triboro bridges to Manhattan was stopped, but pedestrians were allowed to cross from Manhattan to Queens. Roughly four hours after the towers were hit, boats were transporting some emergency workers to the explosion scene in Lower Manhattan.
New York's Primary Day election for city offices were canceled and voters in Queens who turned out early at the polls milled around in confusion.
As the mind-numbing attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. played out, a desperate call for blood donors was put out throughout the New York area. A blood shortage has plagued the metropolitan area for months.
By midday Tuesday people were urged to go to any hospital or blood donation center to give blood to help the World Trade Center victims.
People flocks to New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens and Jamaica Hospital to give blood. Donations were scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Tuesday. NYHQ was on a full state of alert as it readied its morgue for victims.
Staging areas for emergency vehicles were set up at both Shea Stadium in Flushing and Cunningham Park in Fresh Meadows barely four hours after the first attack occurred.
St. John's University was planning to hold emergency masses for victims throughout the day.
President Bush, who was in Florida when the planes plowed into the World Trade Center, said the United States was determined to catch the people responsible for the attacks.
"We've taken all appropriate security cautions to protect the American people," he told a news conference in Shreveport, La. "We will show the world we will pass this test."
Gov. George Pataki spoke to reporters after the New York State National Guard was deployed.
"New York City has been under attack," Pataki said. "In order to get through this we have to respond as quickly as we can and take every security measure we can take to prevent further tragedies."
"It is a situation that just cries out for people to be horrified," the governor said.
As Lower Manhattan was evacuated, Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens was also sealed off early Tuesday.
For information on passengers on the doomed flights call 1-800-932-8555.
©2001 Community Newspaper Group
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