Accession Number: C.2010.271.1
Dimensions: 10.5 in X 4 in X 2 in
Dimensions (Metric): 26.67 cm X 10.16 cm X 5.08 cm
Credit Line: Gift of Louisa Griffith-Jones
Skechers brand pair of plastic black and purple women's flip-flops, well worn and showing some light dust. A large concrete pebble is stuck in the sole of one of the flip-flops.
United Kingdom resident Louisa Griffith-Jones spent the summer of 2001 in New York City on temporary assignment, living at 1 West Street, near the World Trade Center. A friend had arrived for a visit on September 10, and the two stayed up late into the evening. The next morning, Griffith-Jones was jolted awake by a loud noise, turned on the TV news, and looked outside to see what had caused such an enormous sound. Her journalistic training and a desire to help led the friends to prepare to leave the building, but they had not yet reached the street when they heard and felt another tremendous sound. Outside, it was chaotic, with people running up and down West Street. Griffith-Jones soon began to comprehend that bodies were falling from the towers, further adding to the emotional trauma of the moment.
Griffith-Jones and her friend were eventually caught in the debris cloud unleashed by the collapse of the South Tower. Holding hands, they ran down West Street, seeking shelter. They found refuge in a car but were soon forced to leave in fear that the fuel tank might explode. They made it home before the North Tower collapsed and joined others in the lobby. Undaunted, Louisa brushed off the dust, covered her face with a towel, and went back outside in search of coffee, tea, sandwiches, or other sustenance that she could offer to those waiting inside. Still wearing the flip-flops she had on when they first left the apartment that morning, she witnessed the collapse of 7 World Trade Center while walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to the home of a coworker in Brooklyn later that evening.