One of the lesser-known theatre-related businesses hit hard by the World Trade Center disaster was the stage-oriented website The New York Theatre Experience. The four-year-old site is edited by Martin Denton out of his apartment on John Street, just a few blocks from where the hijacked planes struck. In the aftermath of the attacks, Denton and his associate Rochelle Denton were, like every other business below 14th Street, forced to abandon the premises. NYTE only began running again on Sept. 19.
"We heard the airplanes crash, we felt each of the towers collapse," Denton said. "It felt like an earthquake, or what I imagine an earthquake would feel like. A thick black cloud of smoke and debris hurtled toward our window after each collapse—the first time was just about the scariest thing I've ever experienced, as we didn't know what the cloud really was. " The Dentons planned to leave the apartment immediately, but the police sealed the building off. The next day, however, they were ordered to evacuate. They trudged a mile and a half, with only the shirts on their backs, to the nearest working subway stop, at Delancey Street. They then found a room at the Courtyard Hotel in Midtown.
On Saturday, he was allowed to visit his home to rescue his two cats (he found only one); Monday he returned for the other feline and a suitcase full of clothes.
After a week's involuntary hiatus, NYTE resumed operations. "We are grateful that we have been so lucky throughout all this," he said. "We've been inconvenienced, but we're healthy and safe. We have so much more than so many others who lost their lives, loved ones, businesses."
—By Robert Simonson