Elizabeth Verrochio, 54, will never forget 9/11. Verrochio, resident of the East Village for more than two decades, had just arrived to work in SoHo when she heard the plane flying low overhead.
“There have been few moments in my life when I can really say I was afraid,” said Verrochio. “But when 9/11 happened, I was afraid for myself, I was afraid for my family, and I was afraid for this country. None of us knew what was going on.”
Verrochio was born and raised in Boston, and most of her family lived in New Haven, Connecticut during the time of the attacks. No one in her family, however, was in lower Manhattan at the time.
Yet, ten years later she continues to relive the fear she felt as the buildings fell to their destruction just blocks from her. Verrochio feels that she was changed by her experience.
“I have bad dreams all the time,” said Verrochio. “I still do. Most of them have nothing to do with what happened on 9/11. But I know I never used to feel anxiety the way I feel it now.”
Verrochio’s life has changed considerably in the past decade. She no longer works as a graphic designer, but instead invested her savings into a private yoga studio in Fort Green, Brooklyn. Today she teaches classes three days a week and rents the space out during the time she is not there. She finds that yoga keeps her balanced and relaxed. She had practices yoga prior to 9/11, but her enthusiasm grew in the years following the attacks.
“I think that New Yorkers were affected differently than the rest of the country,” said Verrochio. “I know, for me, it put certain things in perspective. Like that I didn’t want to be working in graphic design.”
Verrochio is content with the changes she made in her life. Yet she is almost certain that she will never leave the city. Like two people who together experience something profoundly intimate and life changing, Verrochio feels that she is bound to the city. New York has become an integral part of her identity because of 9/11.
“…I wonder what I would be doing with my life had 9/11 never happened,” said Verrochio. “Maybe I’d still be working downtown here in the city. Maybe I wouldn’t even be here.”