Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11: A Visual Memory

In my last post, I hinted that I would not return to regular postings until after the U.S. Open.  However, in honor of tomorrow's day of remembrance, I decided to post a few of the photographs that I had taken of the World Trade Center tower and of the aftermath of that horrific event of ten years ago.

World Trade Center Towers from Liberty Park, New Jersey
In the foreground is a detail of the War Memorial by sculptor Nathan Rapoport, dedicated in 1985.  We see the legs of an American WWII soldier who is carrying a concentration camp survivor (whose hand dangles at the top right of the photo).  It is dedicated to America's role in preserving freedom and in rescuing the oppressed.

World Trade Center Tridents

A detail of the peripheral steel columns, so closely spaced as to create a structure that was defined as a rigid hollow tube.

Lost in Fog
The Towers enshrouded in fog, seen from the east with the Municipal Building by McKim, Mead, and White in the foreground.  Capping it off is the gilded statue of Civic Fame by Adolph A. Weinman.

September 23, 2001

I came to New York nearly two weeks later to find this, a still smoldering, blackened hole.  Nothing near the site was accessible.  The building with some window damage on the right background is in Battery Park City.  All the buildings in lower Manhattan were still covered with soot, which enabled them to serve as "chalkboards" on which to write words of support and sympathy. 

Visiting Ground Zero

In the photo above, we see a view several years later, once the site had been cleaned and fenced off in preparation for new construction.  It had become a pilgrimage site, and thousands of people from all over the country and the world visit it daily.

The following photos below are of the fence that encloses the yard of St. Paul's Chapel, which is the oldest public building in continuous use in New York City.  Because of St. Paul's proximity to the site of the Towers, the church became a place for recovery workers to rest and recuperate.  It's fence became a place on which flowers, banners, written words, art and all manner of memorial objects would be hung in dedication and celebration.

St. Paul's Chapel, General View of Fence

St. Paul's Chapel Fence with Boots of Fireman McLaughlin and Other Memorabilia

Message from Antrim

The hand-written letter reads:  "In loving memory of so many innocent people who lost their lives on that terrible day September 11th 2001.  God bless their families and friends....from Jonathan & Wendy Saorise McAuley, Dunloy, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland."

Mourning into Dancing
This composition encompasses three main images:  a reproduction of a Byzantine Madonna on the left, a pair of ballet toe shoes in the center, and a corner of the American flag on the right.  The owner of the shoes, one Beth Ann Maslinoff of Gainesville, Florida, wrote in ink on the right shoe a verse from Psalm 30:  "You have turned for me my mourning into dancing."

Wall of Prayers: Bellevue
The entire city became a place for impromptu memorials, not only those nearby sites in Lower Manhattan.  Underscoring the personal tragedy of 9/11, many of the more distant sites were pleas for information of loved ones.   Above, a policeman stands guard outside of Bellevue Hospital, where a quasi-official wall of missing people was put up and covered with plastic for protection.

The remainder of the images are from other parts of Manhattan from the East Village, Gramercy and Murray Hill.

Wall of the Missing

Wall of the Missing: Sunflower

Missing Kit...Please Call

Call Waiting
This phone booth was on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 26th Street--in the left background one can see the 69th Regiment Armory.

Signing On
In these last two photos, we see a long frieze-like print of the Towers and other buildings of Manhattan. Above, a man signs his name to it.  Below, a detail reveals some of the text and the several languages in which contributors wrote messages, including one in Chinese.

It Will Take All of Us, detail of Signing On


  1. These images capture so much: the wonders of the towers rising up over the city, the horror and force of hatred, the persistence of hope, and the healing nature of community. Thank you for posting them.

  2. A poignant collection of images - thanks for sharing these, Tyko.

  3. Wow. Tyko, thank you for posting this. Not only is it a touching chronicle of the journey we all went through on and following September 11, 2001, but I am the Beth Ann Maslinoff who left those pointe shoes on the gate in 2002, when I was 13 years old. Now 22, I had nearly forgotten about them. Thank you for bringing me back to that moment in time and reminding me of what it was like to encounter Ground Zero such a short time after the tragedy. May we truly never forget.

  4. This is just wonderful. Thank you for sharing. A very sad time in our history.

  5. Thank you Tyko for helping me remember that very difficult part of our history.

  6. Great pictures. I had moved to New York City 2 months prior to 9/11 and vividly remember some of the experiences. I lived in Washington Heights at the other end of Manhattan and remember the many postings of people searching for loved ones. It was quite extraordinary.

  7. Tyko, wow. Surprised at the emotions these still bring up for me. Really great photos.

    Thank you for sharing them (again).