I took this photo in 2000 from the rooftop of my workplace near the Flatiron building in Manhattan, on 19th Street between 5th and 6th. We worked long hours at our vibrant little web agency, and we’d often pop up to this rooftop for some air, a chat, a look at this view and to remember why we were in New York. Standing on the roof we were 17 stories up, at the level of the water towers and the birds – we were floating high above the streets in this vertical city. Down below us, New York and its people, from all over the world, flowed on through the streets, underground, up and down buildings. Living their lives.
On September 11th 2001, my boyfriend (now-husband) and I stood on another rooftop – 4 stories up on our apartment building in Brooklyn. We scrambled up the fire escape when we heard that something was going on. We had been listening to the radio while getting ready to go to work but the signal had died: our local NPR was beamed from the twin towers, and this was long before mobile internet. We stood on our rooftop and on the skyline a few miles away we watched another plane calmly, quietly fly straight into the second tower, and soon after, the whole thing collapsed in on itself. It was completely quiet around us on that beautifully sunny morning and I looked down over the edge of the roof to the street below. Instead of scenes of panic, people of all nationalities walked or drove down the street with their groceries. Living their lives. And that continued during the days that followed, people moving forward, not being afraid. And that will never change.
(I shot and printed this photo myself. It’s been hanging on the wall of all the houses we have since lived in, from the US to Canada to Norway to Italy and now in Ireland).