Beacon Students Respond to Terrorist Attack in Port Authority Subway Station

What happened to you on the morning of December 11th?

“I was on the train to 42nd street when my mother called me to tell me about the police activity. The train informed the commuters about police presence and skipped the station. My mother called me again, and the phone call ended when the signal was lost. I briefly headed in the wrong direction to school because of inexperience in that area of the city. I came to school at least twenty minutes late.”

“It began on the Subway when they said we were bypassing 42nd Street, I was mainly just annoyed at first. I then got out at 50 and walked right towards the hectic area with screaming sirens and lights, where everyone seemed to be running away from. The weirdest thing for me especially was going past 42 with everyone completely dark and empty. Luckily I got safely to school though. I was running a little late too and if I had gone any earlier, I would be where it was exactly when it happened. Everything happens for a reason! You hear about attacks like these on the news and stuff, but it’s crazy it’s happening right here, affecting all our lives.”

“I was running late for school. Normally, I would have left 10 minutes earlier than I did, but I needed to print something for class and lost track of time. I think that I was one of the first trains diverted from 42nd St. At first I was angry because I thought that the train had just skipped 42nd St. Getting off at 34th St., everyone was very confused. It was only until I walked up a few blocks and saw the flashing police lights that I knew something was wrong. Instantly, my heart sank and I couldn’t breathe. I was right there in the midst of it, seeing all of the chaos and commotion unfold. Walking through Times Square, I ran into two other Beacon students, and we walked to school together. The whole thing felt so surreal because I know how close I was to potentially being involved in the horrific attack.” 

“An officer stood at the front of Port Authority on the corner of 41st and 8th, gesturing at the crowd trying to get through the police barricade and shouting, ‘Why are you playing with your lives?'”

“I was sitting on the A train when they made an announcement that it won’t be stopping at 42. I got off at West 4th and transferred to the F, and from there I just kept switching trains and platforms, trying to get somewhere close to Beacon. Finally my friend texted me and suggested we take a cab together, at which point it was released that there was a bomb threat. We decided to just go home from there.”

“I took the A to 34th and I heard an announcement that it wouldn’t be stopping at 42nd. I got out and found a few other Beacon kids and we walked up 8th Avenue and we were about to walk past the PABT but people were flooding out of there, being waved out by cops. A lot of police cars and state patrol cars with their sirens blaring were speeding towards the terminal. We ended up just walking to 9th Avenue and up to 44th where we turned left to get to Beacon. I was 12 minutes late to my first class, but I was obviously excused. I was surprised when people were saying they should be excused to go home. I just let my parents know I was fine and they passed that message on to the rest of my family, and the rest of the school day was normal.”

“Was shocked and did not know what was happening. Meanwhile, teachers at Beacon did not allow our class to use our phones and used the announcement made by Beacon to say that the school said we shouldn’t be on our phones. It was not ok, meanwhile a student in my class was crying because she was not allowed to use her phone. Parents were also trying to call the students but our teacher continued to ask why we were distracted. Beacon should’ve had a supportive environment but it didn’t. I also don’t understand why Beacon would want students to continue to come to school when it is in a dangerous area. It took one of my friends 3 hours to get to school and Beacon should’ve been more prepared and should’ve not made an announcement saying students can come to school and still should. I am very disappointed with Beacon today and I do not feel as though it is a supporting environment.”

“I had to get off at 34-Hudson Yards. I spent most of the day on my phone, sending and receiving concerned texts. I ended up leaving school early to get out of the area and calm my nerves.”

“I perished.”

“I got off the 7 train about 7:25AM, then I walked up towards the walkway that connects Times Square to the A/C/E station, as part of my normal commute to Beacon. But, when I arrived at the walkway, there were people blocking it, telling the people around me to back off. I then head to the 1/2/3 train platform heading for the nearest exit, then there’s this platform controller person who told people to leave the station, giving me a suspicion that something had just happened at the station. On my way towards the exit, someone was shouting “get out of the station now,” and as soon as I heard that, I started to run with many others in the station towards the exit. That was the moment when I started to become scared, that there could’ve been a possible attack or something related that just happened in the station. As soon as I get to street level, I ask an MTA employee what just happened, and just like me, he didn’t know what was the case. I then walk to Beacon, through Times Square, with extra awareness of my surroundings, hoping that I could make it there safely. As I was walking, police and fire truck sirens start to go off in the streets, in addition to a helicopter flying in the sky, giving me a further suspicion that this was a major incident that just happened in the station. I did make it to Beacon safely, however, minutes after I arrived I start to see reports that an explosion took place in the station. After that, I texted my friends to see if they were all safe, and I’m glad that they did end up safe, all of them. But for me, the safe exit outside of the Times Square station was a result of pure luck. If I took the 7 train in front of the one that I actually took, then I actually could’ve seen or heard the explosion in the walkway, because I walk through there as part of my daily commute. On the other hand, if I took the train right behind the one that I took, then it could’ve been delayed for a decent amount of time, and would’ve skipped Times Square.”

port authority closed
12/11/17. 1:30 pm. 42 St – Port Authority Bus Terminal Station was still closed down. The suspected bomber, Akayed Ullah, had been apprehended.