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Robert D Feinman

A Multi-year Stroll Around Lower Manhattan
and World Trade Center "Ground Zero"

[Updated to 2007]

About the Images

In mid March 2003 I took a stroll around lower Manhattan with my 12mm ultra-wide angle lens.
Things have mostly returned to normal, tourists have returned and the ground zero reconstruction is underway.
Here are a selection of images from the area.
This page will lead you to some short slide shows.

The first is at City Hall Park
The park has a pretty fountain and abuts City Hall.
It is a frequent destination for tourists and
many of the office workers in the area.

After that I walked east to Ground Zero.
The first several pictures were taken from Church Street.
This has a fence erected that allows some limited viewing of the World Trade Center reconstruction site.
After Church St. I walked east along Liberty Street over West Street and took some pictures from these locations.

Finally I ended up at the World Financial Center and the reconstructed Winter Garden.
The west end of the Winter Garden faces the new park along the Hudson River.


July 2003

Here are some places in the same area.
This time I created 360 degree interactive panoramas so you can scroll around and see the entire view.
Please be patient while the images load. They have been made larger to allow zooming in for extra details.
By using the mouse you can pan left and right as well as up and down.

For the curious, the images were taken with a 12mm Voigtlander Heliar lens which gives a 90° by 112° field of view on 35mm film.
Six images with the camera in portrait mode are stitched together to give the full 360° view.
I used Panorama Factory for the stitching.


September 11,  2004

Here are two slide shows showing the Ground Zero site and surrounding streets on the third anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. The images show just the tourists and building progress. The formal ceremonies and public events were covered by the standard news media.

The fence of Ground Zero has been rebuilt with new signs explaining the history of the World Trade Center and has become a focal point for visitors, protesters and people wanting to leave memorial tokens.

The surrounding neighborhood continues to be rebuilt, although as you can see several prominent buildings are still standing in their same damaged state. The Deutsche Bank building will probably be removed shortly now that the insurance claims seem to have been settled. The Fitterman Hall building of Borough of Manhattan Community College was just about to open when it was damaged by falling debris. The plans to rebuild it or replace it are still unsettled.
The temporary PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) railroad station is open with a spartan look. Plans to build a permanent rail center have been announced.


September 11,  2005

View these images if you are really curious. The scenes are pretty dull.

Here are two new slide shows showing the Ground Zero site and surrounding streets on the fourth anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. Once again the images show just the tourists and building progress. The formal ceremonies and public events were covered by the standard news media.

The fence of Ground Zero has been enhanced with improved signs explaining the history of the World Trade Center and a list of first responders who died at the site. There are fewer visible mourners than in prior years. Instead it has become a destination for tourists and curiosity seekers. Many people pose for their picture in front of the fence as if it were a tourist attraction.

The surrounding neighborhood continues to be rebuilt, although as you can see, very little progress has been made since the previous year. Construction on building 7 is progressing. The Fitterman Hall building of Borough of Manhattan Community College is now covered with a protective covering, but nothing else has been decided.

Demolition of the Deutsche Bank building is finally underway, but had not started on Sept 11.
The overpass on Vesey street has been replaced. There are several images of people within it shown.
In general there is not much progress to see. Bickering over development continues and those not directly affected have gone back to their normal lives.


September 11,  2006

This was the Fifth Anniversary of the attack and unlike prior years the crowds were huge. The number of tourists was up, but what was most striking were the number of TV news crews and also a large presence of an organization of 9/11 conspiracy protesters. These people engaged the crowd in debates, held up signs and at one point staged a loud rally on both sides of Church Street. In order to make sense of what was going on, I have divided the images into three short slide shows.

The first sequence shows the Media Circus. There were dozens of TV news crews interviewing passersby and people leaving the memorial ceremonies. I also show the large number of TV news trucks set up on both sides of the site.

The second sequence shows the crowds and the large number of black-shirted conspiracy advocates. There were a few concentrated arguments, but most people seem to treat them like the other groups trying to use the occasion for publicity. New these year was to arrange four bell trucks along side the rebuilt park. Sponsored by various fire departments people are invited to ring the bell as a reminder. With four trucks competing for attention the sound got confused at times.

The third sequence shows buildings adjacent to the site and some scenes from further afield. The Deutsche Bank Building now has a crane attached to it, but is still standing. Issues with improper cleanup have delayed the start of removal once again. Building 7 is now complete and open for tenants. There is a whimsical sculpture in a small fountain in front of it. Facing it is the still damaged Fitterman Hall of Manhattan Community College. This year there are signs up showing how the planned renovation will look in 2009.

Other scenes show the west side at the World Financial Center and the Hudson shore. Lastly there are a few images from Broadway and further east which show that old New York is still the same, but there are signs of change.


Update September 11,  2007

This year, the sixth anniversary, we had rain for the first time. Whether this kept down the crowds is not clear. Since I arrived, as usual, after the official ceremonies were over, I can't comment directly on the number of people attending, but in prior years there were many people strolling around afterwards who had obviously participated. In addition there had been many police and firefighters as well. There were many fewer visible this time.

The first sequence shows the "ground zero" site from several sides. There are some signs of work now at street level, whereas in the past most of the work was below. The fence which had been a popular meeting place and permitted a view of the work has been removed and replaced with a utilitarian work fence which is covered in opaque material. All the explanatory signs have been removed and there is little place for people to post flowers or pictures. The Deutsche Bank Building still has a crane attached to it, but is still standing. It has been partially dismantled, but a disastrous fire several weeks ago which killed two firefighters has set work back once again.

The next sequence shows views from the other three sides. Building 7 now sports a scrolling sign in the lobby, I think it is some sort of art work. Facing it is, the still damaged, Fitterman Hall of Manhattan Community College. This year there seems to be more external scaffolding, but there is no further sign of progress. Washington Street is to the south and West Street, to the west. There is construction in both places. Washington Street has it's second luxury hotel going up, while West Street has several large housing projects underway, as well as recently completed. I've also shown all the pedestrian overpasses in the region. It is not clear if they will be replaced by more aesthetic structures and if so, when.

The last sequence shows some of the people at the site. There were the usual 9/11 conspiracy adherents. They seemed fewer than last year when they occupied the whole east side of one block on Church Street. This time they (mostly) fit into an area in front of the PATH station. As you can see this now sports a canopy. This will be replaced by a more dramatic covering, but even here there seems to be some dispute over the cost. Without the viewing fence there is little room for the crowds and they were spread out more around the region. There were many fewer than last year when the numbers were boosted because it was the fifth anniversary.


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© 2004-7 Robert D Feinman