zReportage - Amazing Stories from Around the World
share
| about | 8:56 PST
 GO
HIDE CAPTION
FIRST PERSON September 11, 2001, Tuesday 9-5, Lower Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA. Randy Taylor: ''As I exited the subway on September 11th, twenty years ago, everyone was standing in the street by the Flat Iron Building, looking at something. I turned to see smoke billowing from the Twin Towers. Someone said a plane hit the towers, and I knew instantly it was intentional. There were blue skies in all directions and visibility for miles around. I had a camera in the office and a few rolls of film that I grabbed. A co-worker, Evan Frohlich, and I started walking down Fifth Avenue towards the World Trade Center. When we passed Washington Square Park, where the small streets were lined with people watching, tower one collapsed. ''Awesome'', ''Cool'', ''Wow'', ''Oh My God'' were the shouts of spontaneous astonishment and excitement. Within seconds, the crowd of people fell silent as they realized they weren't watching a video game or TV show. This was real. A moment later, a person began to cry. Then another, and another. The enormity of so many people realizing all at once what they had just witnessed was palpable. As I got closer, I could see bodies falling from tower two. I didn't know if these were people who were accidentally falling, who couldn't hang on any longer, or who had given up hope and jumped. I chose not to take that picture. I was a few blocks away when tower two fell. Everyone turned and ran from a wall of smokey debris that was rolling down the street. It was like a sudden sandstorm in the Sahara desert that quickly overtook everyone on the street. I'd never been to the World Trade Center before. With visibility now about a block, I made my way by instinct. Past the burning cars in a parking lot. Past the dust covered tables and public art. Across an empty square. Then I saw four firemen in full gear walking in, and I got in line behind them. We were the first to arrive on the West side of what would later be known as ''ground zero''. The visibility was not yet clear enough to see the remains of the twin towers. But what we could see was horrific, as if a giant bomb had detonated. Entire fire trucks were thrown against the walls of buildings, like toys. Windows were smashed as far up as one could see. And the eerie silence was broken only by the occasional sound of loosened windows crashing to the ground and exploding in tiny pieces. I pulled my shirt over my face to try to filter what I was breathing. After the initial disbelief wore off, one of the firemen turned to Evan and me and asked us to help gather oxygen tanks. We were to drag them to this spot and make a pile. Oxygen would be needed to begin search and rescue, we were told. And so, we did this for a while. I was in an Emergency Medical Services vehicle, getting a tank, when the back door opened, and a person in an EMS uniform asked what I was doing in his vehicle. Nobody was in charge yet, and there was confusion, as a growing number of emergency workers gradually arrived at the scene. I picked up a helmet, which reassured me a little as the windows continued to come crashing down. I learned later I was at what used to be the Marriott Hotel. It and the nearest tower had been turned into a huge pile of twisted metal that was beginning to become visible. Water rushed through what used to be a street, from broken water pipes. Dust covered everything. But it was unlike any dust I'd ever seen. Inches thick in some places, it sparkled, like pixie dust, as if someone had put glitter in it. It took awhile for me to realize this was pulverized glass from the collapsing towers. Some of the emergency personnel tried to clear a street of debris, in hopes that vehicles could reenter the area. It was clear they wanted to mount the rubble and begin looking for survivors. But it wasn't happening, probably because of the extreme hazard to the rescuers. At one point, an old fireman came and spoke with James Nachtwey and me. He walked out on an I-beam, looked down at us, and told us how he had been dispatched to the fire truck to get something when the tower collapsed. He said the rest of his crew was buried in the rubble. And then he described with great passion how this would not stop firemen from doing their job, that young men would take their place and save lives. What he was telling us was so powerful, so emotional, so profound that neither James nor I took any pictures at that moment. By mid afternoon, I was about out of film. I offered to hand carry James' film to Time, which I did. I walked back to the office, and home that evening. The island of Manhattan was completely shut down. Nobody was allowed in or out with a vehicle. The New York Times was not even delivered the following morning. I went back for the reopening of the NY Stock Exchange a few days later, which had overwhelming security. But other than those two days, I never returned until some visiting guests wanted to go to the museum at Ground Zero. Evan and I never spoke of that day ever again. Now, twenty years later, I've dug out the archive and am looking at my photos of that fateful day, and reliving the shock of it all.'' Interviewed by Scott Mc Kiernan Scott Mc Kiernan: Great efforts in a tough situation. You had been a magazine photographer. Also apart of legendary picture agency Black Star, as was I and James Nachtwey. So, why did no one every see these amazing images? Randy Taylor: I was not on assignment. I was no longer an active photographer at that stage. I was ''all in'' on one of my tech companies by then. Hence, no agency either. No syndication. I processed film, scanned and called around. The only magazine I remember that published one was Business Week. If I remember, they ran the shot of the business man, covered in dirt, walking next to the fireman. A funny side note. James Nachtwey had to think long and hard whether he trusted me to carry out his film. Who knows what I could have done with something that important. But he did. It was in the afternoon. I'm guessing about 4pm, which answers what time I left to walk back to the office. He, of course, wanted to stay and shoot more, but also needed to get his film out. Quite a difficult decision for any photojournalist on scene. I took his film back to my office (which was at 23rd Street and the intersection of Broadway and Fifth at the Flat Iron Building, the 23rd street exit on the N-R line at Madison Square Park, which is why I could clearly see the Towers straight down Fifth Avenue when I exited the subway) and called Time from there. They sent a courier to pick it up. Scott Mc Kiernan: What camera did you use and film or any other tech specs? Randy Taylor: The camera was a Nikon. I've always been a Nikon guy. I don't remember which one. Maybe an FM. It's a miracle that I had a small camera bag in the office at all, in case something important happened one day. Old habits die hard. I had one camera and two lenses - a 35mm and an 85mm. I had, maybe, three or four rolls of film. So I was very careful about what I shot. The cell phone network was overwhelmed. Nobody could get a call in or out. Dagmar, my partner, finally got through to me in the afternoon, maybe 2pm, to ask if I was alive. I was unable to call anyone for most of the day. Manhattan was shut down and sealed off. No vehicles or trains in or out. I stayed at Dagmar's home at 96th Street that night. There was a lot of walking that day! A lot of walking. The next evening, I walked home, over the Brooklyn Bridge, to my apartment in Green Point. Since looked up Wikipedia and it says: ''One World Trade Center (WTC 1, or the North Tower) was hit at 8:46 a.m. Eastern time and collapsed at 10:28 a.m. Two World Trade Center (WTC 2, or the South Tower) was hit at 9:03 a.m. and collapsed at 9:59 a.m.'' So, I'd say I came out of the subway about 9:10am. Both towers were hit, and I had gone upstairs to my office and walked past the mini Arc of Triumph in Washington Square Park by the time the first tower collapsed at 9:59. The map at end of essay, shows Randy Taylor's path. Randy concludes with: ''the path shows how I blindly wandered into ''ground zero'', indicated in red. I probably arrived at the main rubble area, where I remained most of the day, about 10:50am. Things I photographed are on the map. The main rubble area is where the firemen are climbing the wreckage with the skeletal remains of the twin towers rising in the background. The map is of the area today, not 20 years ago. The two blue memorial areas are the footprint of the towers when they were standing. Where it says One World Trade Center, that's the new building that is there now. '' Scott Mc Kiernan: Thank you Randy for sharing. To all those whom lost their lives or had friends and family, ZUMA Pess one all to NEVER FORGET those whose lives were forever changed and destroyed!.
© Randy Taylor : FIRST PERSON September 11, 2001, Tuesday 9-5, Lower Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA. Randy Taylor: ''As I exited the subway on September 11th, twenty years ago, everyone was standing in the street by the Flat Iron Building, looking at something. I turned to see smoke billowing from the Twin Towers. Someone said a plane hit the towers, and I knew instantly it was intentional. There were blue skies in all directions and visibility for miles around. I had a camera in the office and a few rolls of film that I grabbed. A co-worker, Evan Frohlich, and I started walking down Fifth Avenue towards the World Trade Center. When we passed Washington Square Park, where the small streets were lined with people watching, tower one collapsed. ''Awesome'', ''Cool'', ''Wow'', ''Oh My God'' were the shouts of spontaneous astonishment and excitement. Within seconds, the crowd of people fell silent as they realized they weren't watching a video game or TV show. This was real. A moment later, a person began to cry. Then another, and another. The enormity of so many people realizing all at once what they had just witnessed was palpable. As I got closer, I could see bodies falling from tower two. I didn't know if these were people who were accidentally falling, who couldn't hang on any longer, or who had given up hope and jumped. I chose not to take that picture. I was a few blocks away when tower two fell. Everyone turned and ran from a wall of smokey debris that was rolling down the street. It was like a sudden sandstorm in the Sahara desert that quickly overtook everyone on the street. I'd never been to the World Trade Center before. With visibility now about a block, I made my way by instinct. Past the burning cars in a parking lot. Past the dust covered tables and public art. Across an empty square. Then I saw four firemen in full gear walking in, and I got in line behind them. We were the first to arrive on the West side of what would later be known as ''ground zero''. The visibility was not yet clear enough to see the remains of the twin towers. But what we could see was horrific, as if a giant bomb had detonated. Entire fire trucks were thrown against the walls of buildings, like toys. Windows were smashed as far up as one could see. And the eerie silence was broken only by the occasional sound of loosened windows crashing to the ground and exploding in tiny pieces. I pulled my shirt over my face to try to filter what I was breathing. After the initial disbelief wore off, one of the firemen turned to Evan and me and asked us to help gather oxygen tanks. We were to drag them to this spot and make a pile. Oxygen would be needed to begin search and rescue, we were told. And so, we did this for a while. I was in an Emergency Medical Services vehicle, getting a tank, when the back door opened, and a person in an EMS uniform asked what I was doing in his vehicle. Nobody was in charge yet, and there was confusion, as a growing number of emergency workers gradually arrived at the scene. I picked up a helmet, which reassured me a little as the windows continued to come crashing down. I learned later I was at what used to be the Marriott Hotel. It and the nearest tower had been turned into a huge pile of twisted metal that was beginning to become visible. Water rushed through what used to be a street, from broken water pipes. Dust covered everything. But it was unlike any dust I'd ever seen. Inches thick in some places, it sparkled, like pixie dust, as if someone had put glitter in it. It took awhile for me to realize this was pulverized glass from the collapsing towers. Some of the emergency personnel tried to clear a street of debris, in hopes that vehicles could reenter the area. It was clear they wanted to mount the rubble and begin looking for survivors. But it wasn't happening, probably because of the extreme hazard to the rescuers. At one point, an old fireman came and spoke with James Nachtwey and me. He walked out on an I-beam, looked down at us, and told us how he had been dispatched to the fire truck to get something when the tower collapsed. He said the rest of his crew was buried in the rubble. And then he described with great passion how this would not stop firemen from doing their job, that young men would take their place and save lives. What he was telling us was so powerful, so emotional, so profound that neither James nor I took any pictures at that moment. By mid afternoon, I was about out of film. I offered to hand carry James' film to Time, which I did. I walked back to the office, and home that evening. The island of Manhattan was completely shut down. Nobody was allowed in or out with a vehicle. The New York Times was not even delivered the following morning. I went back for the reopening of the NY Stock Exchange a few days later, which had overwhelming security. But other than those two days, I never returned until some visiting guests wanted to go to the museum at Ground Zero. Evan and I never spoke of that day ever again. Now, twenty years later, I've dug out the archive and am looking at my photos of that fateful day, and reliving the shock of it all.'' Interviewed by Scott Mc Kiernan Scott Mc Kiernan: Great efforts in a tough situation. You had been a magazine photographer. Also apart of legendary picture agency Black Star, as was I and James Nachtwey. So, why did no one every see these amazing images? Randy Taylor: I was not on assignment. I was no longer an active photographer at that stage. I was ''all in'' on one of my tech companies by then. Hence, no agency either. No syndication. I processed film, scanned and called around. The only magazine I remember that published one was Business Week. If I remember, they ran the shot of the business man, covered in dirt, walking next to the fireman. A funny side note. James Nachtwey had to think long and hard whether he trusted me to carry out his film. Who knows what I could have done with something that important. But he did. It was in the afternoon. I'm guessing about 4pm, which answers what time I left to walk back to the office. He, of course, wanted to stay and shoot more, but also needed to get his film out. Quite a difficult decision for any photojournalist on scene. I took his film back to my office (which was at 23rd Street and the intersection of Broadway and Fifth at the Flat Iron Building, the 23rd street exit on the N-R line at Madison Square Park, which is why I could clearly see the Towers straight down Fifth Avenue when I exited the subway and called Time from there. They sent a courier to pick it up. Scott Mc Kiernan: What camera did you use and film or any other tech specs? Randy Taylor: The camera was a Nikon. I've always been a Nikon guy. I don't remember which one. Maybe an FM. It's a miracle that I had a small camera bag in the office at all, in case something important happened one day. Old habits die hard. I had one camera and two lenses - a 35mm and an 85mm. I had, maybe, three or four rolls of film. So I was very careful about what I shot. The cell phone network was overwhelmed. Nobody could get a call in or out. Dagmar, my partner, finally got through to me in the afternoon, maybe 2pm, to ask if I was alive. I was unable to call anyone for most of the day. Manhattan was shut down and sealed off. No vehicles or trains in or out. I stayed at Dagmar's home at 96th Street that night. There was a lot of walking that day! A lot of walking. The next evening, I walked home, over the Brooklyn Bridge, to my apartment in Green Point. Since looked up Wikipedia and it says: ''One World Trade Center (WTC 1, or the North Tower was hit at 8:46 a.m. Eastern time and collapsed at 10:28 a.m. Two World Trade Center (WTC 2, or the South Tower was hit at 9:03 a.m. and collapsed at 9:59 a.m.'' So, I'd say I came out of the subway about 9:10am. Both towers were hit, and I had gone upstairs to my office and walked past the mini Arc of Triumph in Washington Square Park by the time the first tower collapsed at 9:59. The map at end of essay, shows Randy Taylor's path. Randy concludes with: ''the path shows how I blindly wandered into ''ground zero'', indicated in red. I probably arrived at the main rubble area, where I remained most of the day, about 10:50am. Things I photographed are on the map. The main rubble area is where the firemen are climbing the wreckage with the skeletal remains of the twin towers rising in the background. The map is of the area today, not 20 years ago. The two blue memorial areas are the footprint of the towers when they were standing. Where it says One World Trade Center, that's the new building that is there now. '' Scott Mc Kiernan: Thank you Randy for sharing. To all those whom lost their lives or had friends and family, ZUMA Pess one all to NEVER FORGET those whose lives were forever changed and destroyed!.
The World Trade Center twin towers at sunset. The World Trade Center twin towers began their vertical climb in 1968. The North Tower was completed first in December 1970, followed by the South Tower in July 1971. More than 425,000 cubic yards of concrete were required to construct the World Trade Center, enough to pave a sidewalk from New York City to Washington, D.C.
© Scott Mc Kiernan/ZUMA Press Wire
A man looks out his apartment window just minutes before WTC Tower Two collapses in the morning of September 11, 2001 after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses at 9:59am, 56 minutes after the impact of Flight 175.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
US Flags wave on Fifth Avenue as WTC Tower Two burns in the morning after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
US Flags wave on Fifth Avenue as WTC Tower Two burns in the morning after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
Birds fly past as WTC Tower Two or South Tower collapses at 9.59am in the morning after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
New Yorkers run from the fast moving wall of dust and debris as the second tower collapses on the morning of September 11, 2001 after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
GROUND ZERO 10:20 AM: New York City firefighter KEITH MCELWAIN, looks at surreal scene, near where the World Trade Center was on the morning of September 11, 2001 in New York City. The terrorist attacks resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people after 4 hijacked planes crashed. 2 into the World Trade Center, 1 the Pentagon and 4th crash landed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The first people to arrive after the collapse of the second tower are NYC Fire Department firemen around 10.20 AM, minutes after the last tower (WTC Tower One) collapsed. Firefighter McElwain remembered driving through the tunnel into Manhattan from Brooklyn and “when we got out, the clouds of smoke were everywhere and most of us didn’t know the towers had fallen yet. But I knew my brothers were in there and I had to bring them home.' The FDNY lost 343 firefighters on 9/11 and more than 20 of his brave brothers from Battalion 57 lost their lives as the towers collapsed. Their bodies were never recovered from the rubble.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
New York Fire Department firemen assess the damage and how to safely search for survivors amidst the rubble and twisted metal remains of the twin towers, after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
Under a foreboding blackened morning sky, the first people to arrive after the collapse of the second tower are New York Fire Department firemen after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
A lone New York Fire Department fireman stands atop of the remains of the Marriott Hotel and the second collapsed WTC tower after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
Amid twisted metal and rubble, New York Fire Department firemen climb the remains of the Marriott Hotel and the second collapsed WTC tower in the frantic search for any survivors after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
Amid twisted metal and rubble, New York Fire Department firemen climb the remains of the Marriott Hotel and the second collapsed WTC tower during the search for survivors after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
NYC Fire Department firemen struggle to cross a street flooded with water, and blocked with twisted metal where the Marriott Hotel and the second tower collapsed after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
New York Fire Department firemen survey the scene and the remains of the Marriott Hotel and the second WTC tower to collapse after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
Dust and smoke fill the air as New York Fire Department firemen climb the remains of the Marriott Hotel and the remains of the second WTC tower in a search for survivors, just hours after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
New York Fire Department firemen check oxygen breathing equipment and prepare to climb the remains of the Marriott Hotel and WTC Tower Two, after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
New York Fire Department firemen pull a hose to put out small fires in the remains of the Marriott Hotel and the second collapsed WTC tower after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
In a haze of dust, a New York Fire Department firemen pushes through water in the street past the twisted metal remains of the Marriott Hotel and the second collapsed tower after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
Wading through knee deep water, New York Fire Department firemen carry a rescue basket and rope in hopes of finding survivors amidst the remains of the Marriott Hotel and the second collapsed tower after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
Exhausted firemen return from an attempt to find survivors amongst the remains of the Marriott Hotel at 'ground zero,' after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
In the search for survivors, New York Fire Department firemen climb the twisted remains of the Marriott Hotel and the second collapsed WTC tower after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
A New York Fire Department fireman is passed an oxygen tank and breathing apparatus to help protect him from the caustic air that is dense with particles of pulverized glass and dry wall from the collapse of the twin towers after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
Smoke fills the air as New York Fire Department firemen climb the remains of the Marriott Hotel and second collapsed WTC tower during the search for survivors after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
NYFD Firemen rest on the ground exhausted and covered in dust from the collapsed twin towers, after rescue efforts in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
Thick dust fills the air as NYC firemen walk though piles of trash and office papers scattered in the streets during the aftermath of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
A NYC fireman stands near a dust covered gurney and ambulance at 'ground zero' in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
A statue of a businessman stands covered in thick dust in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
New Yorkers help wash the face of a dust covered survivor as they exit ''ground zero'' after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
A lone NYFD fireman takes a break along side a vehicle that was blown away by the force of the falling towers after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
An emergency oxygen tank and breathing gear of a NYC fireman lies covered in dust and office papers in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
Dust and trash cover a poster for NYC council election beside a bike chained to a lamppost at 'ground zero.' 9/11 was election day for New York City, the Mayoral Primary, as well as the day of the attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
A dazed businessman covered in dust and still clutching his belonging's and a flashlight, walks past fireman during the aftermath of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
© Randy Taylor/ZUMA Press Wire Service
Randy Taylor: ''As I exited the subway on September 11th, twenty years ago, everyone was standing in the street by the Flat Iron Building, looking at something. I turned to see smoke billowing from the Twin Towers. Someone said a plane hit the towers, and I knew instantly it was intentional. There were blue skies in all directions and visibility for miles around. I had a camera in the office and a few rolls of film that I grabbed. A co-worker, Evan Frohlich, and I started walking down Fifth Avenue towards the World Trade Center. When we passed Washington Square Park, where the small streets were lined with people watching, tower one collapsed. ''Awesome'', ''Cool'', ''Wow'', ''Oh My God'' were the shouts of spontaneous astonishment and excitement. Within seconds, the crowd of people fell silent as they realized they weren't watching a video game or TV show. This was real. A moment later, a person began to cry. Then another, and another. The enormity of so many people realizing all at once what they had just witnessed was palpable.
© ZUMA Press Wire
NEVER FORGET: Apocalyptic Tuesday September 11, 2001, NYC's World Trade Center where, 2,763 died that day. All victims remembered here A-Z. Terrorists crashed into the twin towers, built 1973, 110 Stories high. 343 firefighters/paramedics, 60 New York City/Port Authority police officers lost their lives trying to help evacuate and save others. TIMELINE: American Airlines Flight 11, AA11 a nonstop flight from Boston to Los Angeles, crashed into WTC North Tower 8:46 AM. Then United Airlines Flight 175: UA175 also a Boston to Los Angeles non-stop slammed into WTC South Tower 9:03 AM.
© Scott Mc Kiernan/ZUMA Press Wire
ZUMA Press Contributing Photographers

ZUMA Press Contributing Photographers and Newspapers partners have photographed the lead up to the Rio Olympics 2016. (Credit Image: © ZUMAPRESS.com):800



HELP