Photo credit: Michael Hnatov
Accession Number: C.2017.23.1
Dimensions: 4 in X 4.5 in X 11 in
Dimensions (Metric): 10.16 cm X 11.43 cm X 27.94 cm
Credit Line: Gift of William Raff, survivor, South Tower, 82nd floor
Pair of brown leather Gore-Tex brand men's dress shoes. The shoes are clean and have no evidence of World Trade Center dust.
William Raff was in his office on the 82nd floor of the South Tower at Fuji Bank on the morning of September 11, 2001. After American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower, a colleague whose office was on the north side of the floor saw smoke coming from the neighboring tower and ran to the south side to urge Raff and others to evacuate. From the 82nd floor, they entered stairwell B, and walked down to the 76th floor to a horizontal transfer through the building’s core to the continuation of stairwell B on the other side. As Raff walked through the transfer hall, he noticed a freight elevator that was nearly full of building occupants. Raff got on the elevator and exited near the 44th floor sky lobby, where he saw live news coverage of the burning North Tower on television screens.
While Raff was on the 44th floor, United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower, impacting floors 77 through 85, where Raff had been just moments earlier. Feeling the impact of the plane as it caused the building to sway back and forth, and seeing the news coverage, Raff knew that a terrorist attack was underway and quickly continued his evacuation. He walked down 44 flights of stairs and exited through the Concourse Lobby that led to a subway station and exited to street level on Church Street, a few blocks away. Raff grabbed a taxi and arrived at his Greenwich Village apartment by approximately 9:30 a.m. He witnessed the collapse of both towers from his apartment window.