Postcards from NYC – 9/11 & Ellis Island
For the last installment of my Postcards from NYC series, I have some images from the 9/11 Memorial and Ellis Island to share with you. Now I live almost 4000 km away from the World Trade Centre site. And I do not know anyone directly affected by the terror attacks. As well, being Canadian, I am not aware of any long-lost relatives who immigrated through Ellis Island. So why did I want to visit these two tourist attractions? I was mostly interested in the architecture and history, and of course, I wanted to take a few pictures. However, I was not expecting to be moved as emotionally as I was at both locations.
Sometimes you remember precisely where you were and what you were doing when something significant happened in the world. There are three such events for me. The first is the Apollo 11 moon landing. The second is the space shuttle Challenger explosion. And, the last is the terror attacks of 9/11. The first time I was in NYC was April 2011, just before the ten-year anniversary of the World Trade Center collapse. The Freedom Tower was well under construction, and the reflection pools were almost complete. However, the entire area was still a construction site. So when I visited New York last June, I was interested to see the completed memorial. While I was there, my goal was to capture feelings and emotions, and not just take pictures of ‘things’.
Reflections and Lost Souls.
I spent almost four hours touring the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. It was such a moving experience, and I can’t recommend a visit there highly enough. As I wandered the grounds, it became apparent that what I was experiencing was far too big for my lens. And I don’t mean that my lens was not wide enough. Sometimes it is better to put the camera down and just take things in. The emotion, the feelings, and the remembrance of those who lost their lives that day were hard to capture in a single frame.
A Melting Pot.
On our last full day in NYC, my husband and I toured Ellis Island. With my structural engineering background, architecture is something I love to photograph. I was excited to be able to capture images of the old hospital and decaying buildings. We were able to book a behind the scenes tour of the grounds, but unfortunately, it was not a photography based tour. Our poor tour guide must have thought I was nuts taking pictures of old doors, broken chairs and shattered windows! But these items whispered to me the stories of those that walked these halls so many years ago.