Saturday, April 11, 2009


I spend a lot of time in the neighborhood of the site of 9/11. So much time that it is now a routine part of my life. I regularly take the PATH train that circles the base of the site looking at the active construction. My office has a birdeye view of the pit from the building across the street. And, while I was not in the immediate region during the time of the event, I did watch it as it happened from a distance.

The area is very crowded, primarily by tourists, although there are quite a few business people on the streets as it is in the heart of the financial district. Large tour groups pass through as their guides lead them, holding umbrellas high, looking to be followed through the crowds and back to the buses.

Sometimes there are hundreds of people in a single tour, and they like to perch on the steps of One Liberty Plaza, an office building that overlooks the site, has a nice view, and has steps to rest upon. With the warmer weather coming, there are substantially more people sitting on the steps. Like typical tourists, they pose and take pictures of each other, and chat, listen to the tour guides and mill about. Sometimes there are those who seem to be emotional about the events that happened there, but mostly it is a standard tourist stop.

This time when I passed, there was a particularly large group on the steps and they were clustered in kind of an interesting formation. I took several pictures and thought it was ironic that the tourists are the ones usually taking the pictures and now they were the subjects.

Upon closer inspection, I found the picture above to be interesting. There are several groupings that stand out. And, it seems that this was a particularly emotional group. Looking at the large master, it is pretty much just a group sitting on the steps until you zoom in and look at the gestures and expressions. Here are some of the individual croppings:

A family obviously, the gestures draw attention, the boy pointing towards the site. Either he's bored, or was told something about the event and is making some sort of reference to it. I think more likely he is responding to the many cranes. It is a giant construction site with tall objects and trucks. The father appears to be reacting, perhaps to what happened. But, I looked at subsequent shots in the series and found him pointing and looking up, so I conclude he is also interested in the construction.

This woman is obviously disturbed. Those who are with her appear to be consoling her. A followup shot showed the man putting his arm around her. I believe she may be responding to the site's history.

This woman also seems to be on the verge of tears. A later shot made it more apparent. This is a bit more of a reaction that I commonly see in the visitors. Later in the day, I heard there had been a big crowd of perhaps 1000 people at the site. I did a google search to see if there was some sort of activity taking place but couldn't find anything. An explanation might be that there was some sort of organized 9/11 event happening. This usually happens at the yearly commemoration on September 11th, but perhaps there was something else. I really don't know.

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