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The Neighbors We’ve Lost

Don Cruise

We waited for the national media to slow down their coverage of the September 11 attacks. So that our own commemoration of local folks who perished in the WTC not disappear in the general din. Now we think it’s time to offer our own humble tribute.

If you have additional comments about these neighbors, or about ones we don’t know about, please send them in and we’ll add them to this page.

Steven A. Jacobson
Steven A. Jacobson, 53 (East River Housing), was a transmission engineer working on the 110th floor of World Trade Center's north tower. His job was to keep the WPIX television station on the air, no matter what happened. After working the night shift at the television station, he opened the Town and Village synagogue where he worshipped. Mr. Jacobson was survived by his wife, Deborah, and two daughters, Rachel and Miriam. Family was the most important thing to him; he called his mother every day. Colleagues say he called them on September 11, saying his room was filling with smoke but it was too hot to leave even though he was having trouble breathing.

Robert J. Foti
Robert J. Foti, 42 (East River Housing), a member of Ladder Co. 7, Engine Co. 16 in Manhattan, was last heard from at 8:40 a.m. on Sept. 11, when he told his wife he was getting ready to leave work at 9 a.m., after working an overnight shift. "They just got married in May," Foti's mother-in-law Irene Tastor said. The two met in 1995. Mary Grace was stopped at a red light, and so was Foti, who was sitting in the back of a firetruck. "I waved to him, and he told me to go to 29th Street," his wife said. "I went, and he took me out to lunch the next day. We actually met on Dec. 5, 1995. He became a firefighter on Dec. 5, 1988." In his spare time, Foti liked to fish and go deep-sea diving, his wife said. The couple spent time in Jamaica last June, she said. "He had a really good time. He took advantage of everything. Cliff diving, water skiing, diving. I just watched. He was very adventurous and outgoing. He liked to take risks. I guess that probably explains why he became a firefighter." His wife said the time that has passed since the attack has done little to help her grief. "The more time that has passed, the harder it gets, the longer it has been since I've heard his voice," she said. "Things that were clear aren't so clear anymore. They say it has to get harder before it gets better. I guess that's where I am right now." (Source: Nick Iyer, Newsday)

Barry Simowitz
Barry Simowitz, 64 (East River Housing), was auditor for the for the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. He loved his job in the World Trade Center. He was also devoted to Wanda June, his brown- and-white cat. In the living room of Mr. Simowitz's apartment Wanda June would rest on her futon and Mr. Simowitz in his favorite chair from Pottery Barn, listening to opera on his stereo system. "Animals were his main passion," Mr. Simowitz's sister, Laurie, said to the NY Times a few years ago. "And he really, really loved Wanda June." Barry Simowitz also loved luxurious clothing. "He left about 100 cashmere sweaters in his closet, all different colors," Laurie Simowitz said. "You name an expensive store, my brother shopped there." (Source: legacy.com)


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