The purpose of this article is not to rehash the catastrophe that occurred on September 11, 2001. Instead, it is an article of retrospection and appreciation for the City of New York, a place with an interminable resilience to rebound after such an enormous tragedy. Please enjoy my photographs and short narrative in commemoration of that dark day in world history, as well as the resolve of humanity to persevere and rebuild, both literally and figuratively.
New York was my home from 1998 to 2000. I used to commute to my job in Midtown via the World Trade Center every day. The observation deck in the South Tower was my favorite spot in the city and I would take all my visitors there. I remember the queue for observation was never as notorious as the one at the Empire State Building.
I enjoyed taking my friends who were native New Yorkers to the top of the WTC to witness a view that was so spectacular that you could gaze and gaze at it for hours. I also remember how grateful my friends were many years later, because they were able to see a vision that would never be seen in the same way again.
I think that is human nature, though — residents of a city rarely visit their own landmarks and points of interests because they believe they’ll always be there. I explored this particular topic in much more depth in an earlier article about the people of Paris.
Above, you can view a slideshow to compare and contrast dynamic views of Midtown Manhattan that were captured 20 years apart. The images in 1998 were taken from the Twin Towers’ observation deck in the South Tower. The images in 2018 were taken from the tri-level One World Observatory atop the beautiful, towering new beacon of Lower Manhattan that is One World Trade Center.
Below, you can view a slideshow of how the Lower Manhattan skyline has transitioned between 1998 and 2018.
When I visited NYC in May 2005, I stopped by my old neighborhood in Jersey City, New Jersey, and went to Liberty State Park (featured in the image below).
I used to ride my bicycle through this park every morning before heading to work in Midtown. On this particular day, I was fascinated by these two children who were joyously frolicking in numerous attempts to get their kite off the ground. When it finally began to take flight, you can clearly see the reaction of the boy with the blue trousers. He was so cheerfully exuberant! His happiness inadvertently made me happy. With the Lower Manhattan skyline gracing the background, even without its two famous twins, I found this scene to be a remarkable moment of reflection, hope, and joy for human civilization.
In conclusion, I hope the images and sentiments shared in this article demonstrate how far we, as a planet of people — not any one nation exclusively — have come over the years. Even with all the difficult challenges and obstacles in the excruciatingly turbulent era we find ourselves in today, it’s the resilience of the human spirit that continues to thrive time after time. One particular city in the world, in my mind, that has exemplified this incredibly extraordinary and undying human spirit is none other than New York.
After tragedy, we always rebound and rebuild, but we can never ever afford to forget.