13 Days 13 Weeks 13 Months
 13 Months: The World Trade Center13pt

Month One: September

Looking north from the South Tower

Observation deck

A blurry 7 World Trade Center
This view no longer exists.

It’s Labor Day, September 3, 2001, and I’m 110 stories above New York, for the third and last time.

Backwards “N” from the 107th Floor

In hindsight, I wish I’d taken better photographs.

Tribeca, Soho, Little Italy, Chinatown

Eight short days later, I’d be standing in the small patch of green near the center of this photograph, looking up.

September 11th, 9/11, 9-11, 911, 09-11-01, the attack on America, the collapse, the day of terror, a day of infamy, a nation challenged, the end of irony. The year ahead will bring so many names.

But what will become that day is a clear, bright, blue mid-September day, a week or two before Summer gives way to the best season in the city.

Just after the second impact
Watching from Beach Park

It’s beautiful, and it’s horrible, and it has no name yet.

I don’t know what to do, so I take pictures. About 20 minutes after the second tower is hit, I decide the only way I can help the city is to get out of the way and off of the streets.

Towing a damaged fire truck

For a night, one of the only restaurants in Soho
Canal Street under dust

For three days the wounded city spills out onto Canal Street. Dusty crowds walking back to Brooklyn, emergency vehicles, construction equipment, damaged fire trucks, National Guard vehicles with mounted machine guns.


Canal Street

Draped flag in the distance

The Pile
Donations line, Pier 40

To the north, donations of food, clothing, supplies, cigarettes, and hundreds of thousands of pints of blood that will never be needed or used.

To the east and west, barriers and caution tape.

Police Dept.
5 World Trade Center

To the south, smoke and dust.

Burned paper on the rooftops

Roof deck

And everywhere, the smell of burning.

I will always remember that first Thursday rain, and the clean smell afterwards.

But, it didn’t last.

Ground Zero and St. Paul’s Chapel

At night, Lower Manhattan is lit from below: spotlights on the haze and smoke.

Near the South Tower

John Street

Greenwich Street
6th Ave

Barriers and cones shift and move: much of Downtown is off limits and empty, but people return to test those edges.

West Side Highway

Fallen and burned
Marching to Police Plaza

Union Square

Public squares, so often just spaces to walk across in a hurry, begin to serve their new public purpose, layered with chalk, paint, wax, paper, flags, and flowers.

Number 1


Battery Park City
Coast Guard off of Liberty Island

From the water, the city has a new skyline.

Battery Park, from the Staten Island Ferry