WORLD TRADE CENTER
New York, 9-11-2001
Tuesday, September 11th, 8:55am - Noel, a colleague of mine mentions that he heard somebody in the elevator talking about a plane crash into the Twin Towers. Two minutes later we see the images of a burning hole in the side of Tower 1 on CNN.com. I try to call home. Outgoing phone lines are already busy. At that moment Sandrine calls me and tells me that an incredible explosion has just woken her up and that both towers are on fire. Another plane has crashed into Tower 2. Our office is several miles away on 24th street. We run to the windows across the hall from where we can see the twin towers. People are crying everywhere. I try to call my parents in Switzerland but can't get through. All of a sudden I hear people screaming. I run back to the windows. Tower 2 is gone. Nobody can believe it. I am in a trance. People are comparing this terrible reality to a bad American movie. Then, all of a sudden, the second tower collapses in front of our eyes. A man yells "That's it, they just killed 50'000 people!".
Where's my camera? Who do I know in the towers? How is the skyline going to look after this?
are my first set of thoughts. As if the camera can stop it, I want to freeze this moment. I can not take pictures at this time, though I will take some later. I know that this may offend people, but those who know me, can hopefully understand that I look at every aspect of life through the lens.
We desperately try to contact people we know were working in Tower 2. But all of their cell phones are down. We don't dare calling their home numbers. I remember spending Friday morning in the offices on the 83rd floor of Tower 2. News of the Pentagon add to the incredibility of this horrendous attack. What's next? Is there more to come? There are speculations about 8 hijacked planes. Somebody says 11. Finally I get through to Sandrine. She's crying, shaking. She has been watching the events unfold across the East River. From our window she has just watched the two towers collapse and disappear in a cloud of ashes and dust. I tell her to take pictures and yell at her for not knowing how to operate the Nikon. I don't know where my priorities are in this state of mind. I later apologize and try to calm her down. I ask her to call our families in Europe since we are being asked not to use the phones in the office. I tell my manager that I want to go home. I plan to walk downtown and then across Brooklyn or Manhattan Bridge.
With two bottles of water from the cafeteria and my usual bag, containing cell phone, Palm Pilot and camera, I leave the office. I walk through a crowd of crying people in the lobby. I decide to take Broadway south. There are a lot of people walking and only occasionally a car. All south-bound avenues, including Broadway, are more or less blocked. Most people walk North, away from the disaster. My way home is south. I start taking a few pictures down Broadway, showing a dark cloud where the towers used to overlook the rest of the city. 3/4 of an hour later I cross Canal Street. People covered in ashes start to pass me on their way north. I will not photograph people. The press can do that. As I approach City Hall I start to see cars covered in ashes. Near the INS building policemen tell me to turn around. Nobody knows if Brooklyn Bridge is still open for pedestrians. I walk East trying to reach the Bridge. I see things I can not describe. I ask an officer which bridges are still open. He doesn't know. I decide to go back north and try Manhattan Bridge. Together with thousands of other people I reach the bridge and start walking across. From the bridge I see what's missing for the first time. Smoke makes walking harder. A woman collapsed. Police are helping and bystanders are in the way. I want to get across as fast as possible. After two hours of walking in the heat (ironically it is a picture book perfect, beautiful, sunny day) I reach Brooklyn. When I get home Sandrine is there with Anna Maria, Hector and Joaquin, who stay at our place, trying to endure this horror together. It is 1 o'clock of the most surreal day in our lives. We won't fully realize what happened for a long time.
We spend the rest of the day watching the events alternating between window and TV. We are trying to reach everybody to let them know that we were not affected, physically at least.
I find a piece of paper, which the wind had carried across the East River to our roof. It is covered by a thin layer of ashes. The word "confidential" is written on the outside. Probably somebody's paycheck. Is the person still alive?
How many people did we lose today?
Martin Jori, Brooklyn Heights, September 11th, 2001
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9:15am - The Twin Towers stand in Smoke
10:07am - The South Tower collapses
11am - Walking down Broadway
11:15am - Billions and Billions served
11:30am - Approaching Downtown
12pm - Ambulance covered in Ashes, near City Hall
12:10pm - Near Chamber Street & Entrance to Brooklyn Bridge
12:15pm - Policemen (and Women) blocking the Road to Downtown
12:30pm - Walking across Manhattan Bridge
12:45pm - City Hall seen from Manhattan Bridge
12:45pm - Downtown View from Manhattan Bridge
1pm - Brooklyn Bridge
The Day After
First Morning - A horrible View
All Bridges are closed
Policemen are gathering near the Brooklyn Court House (to count Survivors?)
Vigil for the Missing at Union Square
Memories of the Twins
Friday, September 9th - The last Picture
View from Brooklyn Heights Before & After
Mystical View before Thunderstorm
Double Exposure (30 minutes apart) from Brooklyn Heights Roof
View from Williamsburg
Sunday, September 4th, a very ironic Picture
Days 4 & 5
Pain - On my Way to Work I see these Signs from People looking for loved-ones
Pride - Firemen posing for TV Cameras
11:45am - EMA is evacuated, 10 Minutes later we can go back upstairs - false Alarm
Fighter Jets are patrolling New York City since Tuesday Morning
Army Helicopter circling over Downtown Manhattan
Soldier near Wall Street
Downtown is covered in a thick Layer of Ashes
Candles on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade
You're not supposed to see the World Financial Center from Brooklyn
Vigil on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Saturday Evening on the Promenade
5 World Trade Center & Century 21
Chelsea Jeans Clothing Store on Broadway
Remains of the South Tower & World Financial Center (look for the Fireman on top of the Rubble)
The now famous US Flag on top of the South Tower Skeleton
Centuy 21 and the Remains of 5 WTC at Night
Eerie Reminder of the North Tower at Dusk
My Traffic Estimate
All photos © copyright by Maschli