This is the first September 11th that I’m not living in New York. It’s pretty hard to believe it’s been almost ten years since that day. It was the beginning of my sophomore year at SVA and I was living in the dorms right on 23rd st and Lexington Ave. After waking up oddly early for my noon class a little after 9am, turned on NY1 like I did everyday, saw what was happening and stuck my head out my window to look downtown. Sure enough what I saw on the screen was right before my eyes a few miles downtown. Moments later Jenna came to my door and we spent the next hour glued to the tv in her room and going up to the roof to get a better view. After the first one fell, we were all pretty much in shock since it had never occurred to us that that would be the outcome. I remember wondering how they were going to repair them, but never that they were going to fall. The rest of the day everyone in the city walked around like zombies, and school was canceled the rest of the week.
A few snapshots taken during trips in high school-
The following images are some I took the days and the weeks following with my 35mm Minolta and 400 tri-x film (being a photo student I was deep into my black and white film phase). There’s also a few random color ones mixed in. The armory was a block away from our dorm room and became sort of a home-base for family and friends to go and wait to hear some news about their loved ones. Army tanks lined Lexington for weeks. Right afterward you couldn’t go all the way downtown. They had it blocked off from Canal street I think for about a week, and then every few days they’d open up a few more streets little by little. It was so strange how there were no cars anywhere and I just remember the sound of people’s feet walking towards downtown, trying to get some answers and see for themselves (us included), what had happened. There were makeshift memorials set up everywhere, especially at Union Square and Washington Square. People just didn’t want to be alone, stuck inside their apts.
I remember struggling a lot with how much I should have been documenting what was happening. I still think about it sometimes, if I shot too little, but I didn’t want to be exploitative. People everywhere were really hurting and I was lucky enough to not be personally effected by it. Sticking a camera in someone’s face who may have just lost someone was the last thing in the world I wanted to do. Also, sometimes you don’t need to take a million photos, just going through the experience is enough to remember it by.
I know it’s a sad and depressing thing to think about, and not to be dramatic or corny, but we really should always try and remember what happened that day and to not forget it. And not just because it’s the anniversary.