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Posts tagged “WTC

THE RISING, COMPLETED

By MICHAEL PERKINS

September 11, 2022

TWENTY-ONE YEARS. The life of a legally arrived adult. The space of a generation. How much time has passed since the horror of 9/11, and yet how immediate remains its emotional resonance. Photographers the world over, then and now, have tried to capture the surreal universal gasp of shock that unfurled in those few minutes on 9/11/01. And now, today, as the wound has become the scar and the flash has morphed into a flashback, an entirely reborn Lower Manhattan both recalls the history and serves, ironically, to obliterate it. For those who make images, the present era is a fraught one.

The first pictures, of course, were of the burning, the dying, the national open grave. The second wave of images was of the remains of people and buildings being literally trucked away, of a starched, scraped plain that promised a a repurposing. Coming soon on this site. Flags and markers and makeshift memorials, as holy as they were to many, were soon ushered offstage, as New York, the city that knows more about staging revivals than any other, prepared for a new production. As a frequent visitor to New York over the past fifteen years, I was present at many of the stages of the set design.

Lights, action, rebirth.

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I have tried to have it both ways with the pictures I have made in the area, with both respectful homages to the sacramentals within the September 11th museum and the memorial pools, and the explosion of creative energy that mushroomed into the new WTC plaza. It’s been a high-wire act, artistically and emotionally, but I feel an urge now, to move my lens almost exclusively to The Next Act, since it now exists not merely as a yearning for a return to normalcy, but as a defiant fait d’accompli, another proof that New Yorkers are always about Getting On With It.

This image, with its lettered reflection of the 90 Church Street Post Office (which was itself littered with falling debris of the twin towers’ collapse), is my attempt to capture past survivors and forward strivers in the same frame, to say, yes, amen, a prayer for the dying, but also yes, hell yes, for the indomitability of America, which honors its founders best when doubters prematurely pronounce it out for the count.

We are back.

We are always back.

We are staying.


I WANT TO BE A PART OF IT…..

One belongs to New York instantly. One belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.

-Tom Wolfe

Old power, new power. The American Stock Exchange, a titan of the might of another era, stands in lower Manhattan alongside the ascending symbol of the city’s survival in another age, as the frame of WTC 1 climbs the New York sky. The tower, recently surpassing the height of the Empire State Building, will eventually top out, in 2013, at 1,776 feet. Single-image HDR designed to accentuate detail, then desaturated to black & white. 1/160 sec., f/8, ISO 100, 18mm.

 

THERE IS NO GREATER CANDY STORE FOR PHOTOGS than New York City. It is the complete range of human experience realized in steel and concrete. It is both a monument to our grandest dreams and a mausoleum for all our transgressions. It casts shadows that hide both joy and fear; it explodes in light that illuminates, in equal measure, the cracked face of the aged contender and the hopeful awe of the greenest newcomer. There is not another laboratory of human striving like it anywhere else on the planet. Period period period. Its collapses and soarings are always news to the observer. Bob Dylan once said that he who is not busy being born is busy dying. New York is, famously, always busy doing both.

 

I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York’s skyline.

-Ayn Rand

Returning from Liberty Island and Ellis Island in November 2011, a packed tour boat’s passengers crowd the rail for a view of WTC 1, rising as the new king of the New York skyline.

 

This month’s announcement that the new WTC 1 (built on the site of the old 6 World Trade Center building, itself a rather short edifice) has finally surged past the height of the Empire State Building (a repeat champ for height, given the strange twists of history) is a bittersweet bulletin at best. Cheers turned to tears turned back into cheers. In the  long-view, the inevitable breathe-in-breathe-out rhythm of NYC’s centuries-old saga,  the site’s entire loop from defeat to defiant rebirth is only a single pulse point. Still, on a purely emotional, even sentimental level, it’s thrilling to see spires spring from the ashes. The buildings themselves, along with their daily purposes and uses, hardly matter. In a city of symbols, they are affirmations in an age when we need to remain busy being born.

 

Thoughts?