Debbie Harry Reflects on 9/11 Ten Years Later

Frontwoman of iconic New York band Blondie says she never considered leaving the city

September 9, 2011 6:35 PM ET
debbie harry blondie
Debbie Harry
Jim Dyson/Getty Images

I never thought about leaving New York after 9/11. I spend a lot of time outside of New York, but there's no other place like it in the world. I've lived here for so many years. It's a wonderful, wonderful place.

I clearly remember driving into New York the day before 9/11. It was a beautiful Monday morning and as I was approaching the city I came up this little rise and the city was laid out in this panoramic view. I was looking at the whole thing and I saw the World Trade Center. I said, "Oh my god, I should take a picture before it disappears." It gives me goosebumps when I think about that moment now.

There was a huge party that night. It was a big fashion show that Marc Jacobs threw on one of the piers. He covered the whole thing in grass and it was just like an old time New York party. Everyone was feeling so good, and the next morning the shit hit the fan.

I was watching everything happen before I even turned on the news. At the time, I had an apartment on the 17th floor and I could see the whole southern tip of Manhattan. It was like watching a big TV screen. I saw the whole thing happen right in front of me.

I had so many friends that lived blocks from there. I was completely freaked. Little by little, they shut everything down. So we just got on our bikes and rode around. We were looking for friends, and we just wanted to see what was going on. The streets were full of people, yet they were deserted. It was a very strange feeling. It just completely throws you off your sense of balance, physically as well as mentally. You're hopeless. You're defenseless.

On that day, I remember being with friends and dealing with my anger. It was very shocking for a lot of people, but I had traveled the world so much and been through IRA bombing in the U.K. and bombings in Germany. It was very shocking to people, but I'd already been there. 

I'm not worried about another attack. We're doing things outside our country. Who do we think we are?

I'm a proud American though. I wouldn't live anywhere else in the world.

As told to Andy Greene.

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