six days at ground zero
sept 13 - 19, 2001
the trip so far...     contact kevin & aimee

 << Back to Day 15, Rhode Is.

Sept 11, 2001
The Pier
The Early Volunteers
Crossing the Hudson
First Sight
The Observation Room
Change of Priorities
The Scariest Night
Avoiding Detection
Selected Stories from GZ
Spirit of New York
More Stories from GZ
The OEM Arrives
The People
Back To The Real World
Thank You, To Everyone

Chronicle Journal, Sept 13
Personal Journal Documents Days Events

Chronicle Journal, Sept 17
Lakehead Grads in on Intense Volunteer Support Effort

NY Daily News, Sept 17
Camping at Ground Zero

Chronicle Journal, Sept 20
Hope, Horror Clearly Visible in New York

At seven o'clock, the sun started to rise and the rain started to slow down. It was then that we got our first real look at our surroundings.

We were under the American Express building right next to the marina. This spot was chosen because there was an overhang for cafes that was shielding the supplies from the rain. It provided access to the docks, and was far enough removed from the site that the food and supplies would not be caked with dust within moments of being placed on the table. In the marina there were 10 or 15 small sailboats, covered in dust and soggy papers, bobbing up and down in the water as though nothing had happened.

We had the good fortune to meet Scott, a firefighter from out of state volunteering at the site. He was kind enough to bring us around the area a bit, basically expanding our comfort zone with the site and letting us see things that we would not have believed.

The inside of the remaining building were sometimes as fascinating as the Pit itself. There is a fine layer of dust covering the entire scene, so it looks as though everything is a plaster cast of what used to be there. Parts of it look like a model, or a display at a museum. We crawled through a window on our way to the observation deck - being careful not to cut ourselves on the shards of glass still jabbed into the panes, and on our way passed through a fitness centre. Row upon row of stationary bicycle and treadmill, all perfectly encased in a quarter inch of dust. A rack of free weights, a row of Stairmasters, a Sony television suspended from the ceiling, perfectly still and serene, preserved in a dull white colour. If anyone has ever seen shots of the ruins in Pompeii and experienced the chill when you realize these people died while performing their ordinary daily tasks, it's the same chill. We didn't want to touch anything in case it crumbled.

The dust did provide the perfect medium for graffiti. Where there's a wall, there's a word. Groups of rescue workers and volunteers alike had left their mark, from "K.P. was here to help" to "God Save their Souls". Most were words of support or despair, though occasionally anger took the pen away: "Payback's a bitch!", "Vengeance is coming!" or a chilling "Fuck Allah".

It was on the second floor of the Amex Building--the same one Aimee had rummaged through earlier in the dark in an attempt to find a section to turn into a cafeteria--that we took most of our photos. The firefighters had named the room the Observation Deck because of the unhindered views it afforded of The Pit. Scott said that when they bring Bush to the site that day, they were bringing him here.

Let's just say that it's different than how you see it on TV. Television is prepackaged for maximized viewing potential. You see the most exciting angles or the fade ins and fade outs. The cuts are chosen from the most sensational, though they've edited the most disturbing. That's not how you see it when it's in front of you. You're not going to go to a commercial break in a few minutes. It's right there, in full panoramic wide screen, and it's not moving until you do.

Current Location
Merrill Lynch Building, WFC

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© 2001. Kevin Beimers and Aimee Lingman.