The September 11 Memorial in New York: A Photographic Essay

fter visiting One World Observatory at the top of the new World Trade Center building in New York earlier this year, I stopped by the September 11 Memorial to visit and reflect.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

I first saw part of the memorial from One World Observatory. The square shown in the photograph above is one of the memorial pools which indicates where one of the twin towers of the original World Trade Center once stood.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Being originally from New York, there is usually special meaning to significant events which involve what I still consider to be the greatest city in the world — even if I had not been affected directly.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

I cannot even imagine being in either building above the smoke and flames — intensely hot and raging, as though they were exorcising the evil which caused their existence in the first place — as they weakened the structural integrity of the buildings and caused them to eventually collapse.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

I did not personally know any of the 2,977 victims who perished on that day — I am not counting the 19 terrorists who participated in this senseless act, as I hope that their souls suffer the worst eternal vengeance possible — but I stood there staring at the names and wondered: how did those in New York who had a choice decide on how to die?

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

What was going though the minds of these frightened yet brave souls — whose names are permanently memorialized on plaques around what used to be where the twin towers stood — when they realized that death was imminent?

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Jumping 100 stories to the ground; being consumed by a massive fire more intense than you have ever seen, heard or felt; or collapsing involuntarily with the building itself: an unusual choice of unimaginable and unfathomable death which suddenly befell on innocent people who only expected to spend just another ordinary day in their lives…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…and yet the rebuilding continues all around the memorial site, bringing a new and uplifting life to this beleaguered city.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Men and women feverishly working to bring a new normal to the venerable city and its residents in the determined quest to leave no obvious reminder of the tragedy of that horrific day — save for the memorial itself…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…and despite all of the construction, the traffic and the number of visitors, the memorial was a peaceful oasis in a cacophony of controlled chaos.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

My attention then eventually turned to the fountains themselves: flowing streams of water synchronized with flowing streams of consciousness — soothing, calming, unnerving, relaxing…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…and cleansing.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

I became lost in the abstract of the moment where the world disappeared around me as I contemplated and reflected on the tragedy and on life itself…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…to the point where I was mesmerized.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The endless streams of the curtain of water mimicked bars, such as found in a prison — holding whatever evil spirits remain inescapably captive…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…and the water came crashing down into the pool — deep into what was the base of one of the twin towers.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

As I walked away from the memorial south on the east side of Greenwich Street near the corner of Liberty Street, I noticed a poignant dedication on the wall of the side of the home of Ladder Company 10 and Engine Company 10 of the New York City Fire Department.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Known as the Fire Department Memorial Wall, it is in honor of the 343 firefighters who lost their own lives bravely attempting to save the lives of as many people as possible exactly 14 years ago today.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The new building now known as One World Trade Center — the tallest building in the western hemisphere and currently the fourth tallest building in the world — rises high above the memorial; but I can guarantee you that the spirit of the City of New York rises much, much higher than that.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

There is no admission charge to visit the North Pool and South Pool of the September 11 Memorial, as it is free of charge; and you may visit any time you like — as often as you like — daily between the hours of 7:30 in the morning through 9:00 in the evening.

Additionally, the Fire Department Memorial Wall — also free of charge — is located adjacent to the sidewalk on the east side of Greenwich Street, just south of the corner with Liberty Street; and it is located southeast of the memorial and across the street.

On 120 Liberty Street — next door to the building which houses Ladder Company 10 and Engine Company 10 of the New York City Fire Department — is the 9/11 Tribute Center, which I did not have a chance to visit. There is an admission charge of $15.00 for adults; $10.00 for students, senior citizens and members of the armed forces; and $5.00 for children six through 12 years of age. Visiting hours are from 10:00 in the morning through 6:00 in the evening every day except on Sunday, when it closes one hour earlier at 5:00 in the afternoon.

There are admission fees if you want to visit the museum of the September 11 Memorial; as well as for tours of the memorial and the museum. Please click here for additional information and for specific admission fees.

In the meantime — as I mentioned at the end of this trip report of my visit to Dachau in Germany — “Never again — for anyone.”

All photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

4 thoughts on “The September 11 Memorial in New York: A Photographic Essay”

  1. John Doe says:

    those pictures s@ck. Next time try to at least take good pics, the date deserves it.
    It was a nice sunset tonight…

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Sack? Sick? Sock?

    2. Blind Squirrel says:

      It was a nice sunset tonight
      ————————————————–

      Wow, that’s rich. What a curiously insipid comment to make after reading a story on the most tragic day in this country’s history.

      Did your ice cream melt onto your hand or did you eat it all quickly enough to avoid the inevitable drip, drip, drip onto your hand?

      Please, we’d love more details of your sunset on September 11th. Moron.

      Blind Squirrel

  2. Blind Squirrel says:

    I think John Doe meant to say “those pictures rock” but is too stupid to string together a coherent sentence.

    Great essay Brian and those pictures do rock!

    Blind Squirrel

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