9/11 Stories: Alan Zelazo

On 9/11, Alan Zelazo was a PATH employee. His regular train run was between Newark and The World Trade Center. He was assigned that day to come in late in the afternoon, but after the second plane hit The World Trade Center, Zelazo got a call from Path, trying to get everyone to come in.

Driving in on what’s normally a busy Route 280, Alan was shocked by the electronic traffic alert signs: “New York City is closed”, something no one had ever seen. At one point, he had a perfect view of The World Trade Center from atop a hill on the highway. Seeing the smoke billowing up to the perfectly blue sky, Zelazo thought to himself , “Am I out of my mind? I’m going into a war zone."

But this was his duty, his job. For a time that day, all mass transit was shutdown. But just before 5 PM, came word that PATH service would resume from Newark to Hoboken to 33rd Street in New York City.

Zelazo volunteered for the run. The crew was directed to make sure everyone get off in Hoboken. They were instructed not to let anyone come into New York City. Zelazo says a passenger begged to stay on the train, trying to get back to his family in NYC. He handed him a PATH vest, saying, “You now work for PATH.” He had to take the man back to be reunited with his family.

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