For many New Yorkers who left to pursue college, work or just life in Boston, they dove into a new experience with all that comes with it — not knowing that one terrifying memory rooted in Lower Manhattan would be triggered again on April 15, 2013.
Aria Ruggiero’s words — hammered out on her cell phone — said it all, “Before coming to Boston, I had a New York state of mind about everything. New York culture and attitude, its sports, its food, its way of life. I thought nothing could compare.”
Aria is a junior at Boston University. She’s also a New Yorker, from Long Island, and was a fourth grader during the 9/11 attacks.
“The memories would be just that you don’t know what’s going to happen next. It’s just the unknown. You could walk somewhere and something happens, or you’re safe, it’s just really that confusion and that element of the unknown that lingers with you.”
The bombing also hit home for Boston University Sophomore and Staten Island native Joseph Gambino.
“Here in Boston I kind of thought I was safe. And now I’m just a little freaked out that this could happen again, this could happen anywhere now,” said Gambino.
His family went into panic mode after hearing that someone had detonated a pair of shrapnel filled explosive devices near the finish line just a block or two away from where Joseph was standing.
Gambino remembered his mother crying a lot, because on Monday she couldn’t get in touch with him. “After the phone lines got put back up I got three voice mails with her in tears, saying ‘Please call me.’”
For both students — Aria and Joseph — this attack on a city, and one of its more treasured institutions, the marathon, was clearly more than a learning experience
“I’ve always known that Boston is resilient, but never as much as I know now. I know that all of us, regardless of whether someone is in California and they live here, or if someone is international and they live here, we all are now a part of this city. So we’re all just going to work to together and move forward. There’s no stopping us,” Ruggiero said.