Here is New York
: My copy of Here is New York, the book of photographs from the ad hoc gallery that grew in New York after Sept. 11, arrived today.
It’s a miraculous book: 864 pages of photographs taken by scores of photographers giving you hundreds of perspectives of that day, that place, that event, and its aftermath.
There have been other good photo books but this one is so much more. I’ve seen nothing that captures September 11th so well, so completely, so dramatically, so wisely.
: The second installment of William Langewiesche’s American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center in September’s Atlantic Monthly is now on the newsstand. It is an amazing piece of work, every bit as engrossing as the first of the three installments. I am surprised that I am still learning new stories from that day and from Ground Zero.
The piece is not online but I’ll give you one sample: the story of one of the last two survivors rescued from the rubble, a Port Authority worker named Pasquale Buzzelli, who was late coming down the North Tower:
Buzzelli had just passed the twenty-second floor when the North Tower gave way. It was 10:28 in the morning, an hour and forty-two minutes after the attack. Buzzelli felt the building rumble, and immediately afterward heard a tremendous pounding coming at him from above, as the upper floors pancaked. Buzzelli’s memory of it afterward was distinct. The pounding was rhythmic, and it intensified fast, as if a monstrous boulder were bounding down the stairwell toward his head. He reacted viscerally by diving halfway down a flight of stairs, and curling into the corner of a landing. He knew that the building was failing. Buzzelli was Catholic. He closed his eyes and prayed for his wife and unborn child. He prayed for a quick death. Because his eyes were closed, he felt rather than saw the walls crack open around him. For an instant the walls folded onto his head and arms, and he felt pressur, but then the structure disintegrated beneath him, and he thought, “I’m going,” and began to fall. He kept his eyes closed. He felt the weightlessness of acceleration. The sensation reminded him of thrill rides he had enjoyed at Great Adventure, in New Jersey. He did not enjoy it now, but did not actively dislike it either. He did not actively do anything at all. He felt the wind on his face, and a sandblasting effect as he tumbled through the clouds of debris. He saw four flashes from small blows to his head, and then another really bright flash when he landed. Right after that he opened his eyes, and it was three hours later.