CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - While most people learned of Monday's terror attack near a New York City subway on their TV screens, Charlotte residents Kristen and Amanda Cella were visiting the city, and say they were there, on 42nd and Eighth Avenue, just minutes before the explosion.
"We had actually just gotten on one of the trains at that time," Kristen says.
The two later learned, theirs was the last train at that point, to leave that stop.
"We just said that's crazy because we were literally just standing in that exact same spot," Amanda says.
Their friend Meredith Dean just got home to Charlotte Monday, after her own trip to the city.
"I didn't imagine that my trip to New York was going to include a terrorist attack," Dean says, stunned.
Dean says she woke up Monday morning in New York to dozens of cell phone alerts.
"Saying literally, five blocks away, there was an explosion," she remembers.
A walk outside showed the images on her phone, mirrored in real life.
"Just all of Eighth Avenue is blocked off by firetrucks, policemen, and it's down for blocks," she says.
Dean took some pictures of her own, of the dozens of fire trucks, and lines to get into the subway, like she had never seen.
"Closing off the A, C and E subway in New York is like closing off a portion of I-277 or I-85," she says.
Dean got home to Charlotte unharmed, but with a very different memory of her trip than expected.
"I'd never seen anything like that before," she says.
All three women say they leave Charlotte to visit New York regularly. They say this attack will not stop them from taking those visits, or taking the subway, but will make them even more aware of their surroundings when doing so.