North Pool, Ground Zero

North Pool

9/11 Memorial, New York. Gary and I walked all over New York last Saturday and while we hadn’t planned to visit Ground Zero, it was something both of us wanted to see as we’d seen it under construction but never finished.

I have to say, the two reflecting pools marking the foundations of the twin towers are impressive and reminded me of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC designed by Maya Lin.

I spent time in the Twin Towers, both on business and pleasure and this was the fist time I got a real hit of how much time has passed since 9/11. What brought that home was the fact that there were thousands of people around these pools, all taking pictures (selfies and more) and many seeming to not quite remember what happened here. If I’m truthful, I don’t think it hit Gary and me all that hard while we were standing there either.

It really hit me when I got home and picked up last week’s New Yorker (which I’ve not looked at yet since Gary was here) and looked closely at its cover illustration by Adrian Tomine.

When I took these images (and I took many more) I hadn’t seen that cover illustration and in a way, I’m glad I hadn’t, but I did notice the general scene that cover depicts and now, in retrospect I find it a bit disturbing.

The Pools are exactly the right architectural memorial and some day I’d like to visit when there are fewer people to see if I can get a better fix on the event and what’s left.

North Pool


  1. Richard, what fine images that really captures how well those memorial pools pay tribute to the huge loss of life that occurred on 9/11. Like you, I’m still thinking about, and trying to sort out how I feel about seeing all those people at the memorial the day we were there. Like you, when I saw the cover by Adrian Tomine on The New Yorker, it brought back disturbing thoughts. While at the pools, I found the throngs of people very disorienting. With so many in summer clothes, t-shirts & shorts (as we were), fine due to the hot weather, but even so, the scene felt very touristy to me, lacking the respect and reverence for the dead that I had anticipated. I may be wrong about that, but the atmosphere was much different than I expected.

    1. Gary, I think you’re spot on on your feelings of “tourism” clashing with “reverence” at the Pools. But, when you put that many people in a place like that I think it’s asking too much to expect them all to be silent with their heads down. A piece of me is delighted it’s turned into a place to be rather than a place to avoid. Still, like you I have a mixed set of feelings about the entire thing.

  2. Beautiful pictures.
    Today, I visited the Memorial with my family. It was a bit disturbing to see certain people taking selfies and one woman in a bright pink dress posing for a picture in front of it like a model. But I found that most people were relatively reverent. Seeing roses placed on victims’ names who would’ve celebrated their birthday that day was particularly moving and caused me to really mourn that person’s passing.

    1. Thanks for the comment mithriluna. That sounds very similar to my experience there. It will be interesting to see how the place and mood evolve over time. As it gets further and further from the actual event a higher percentage of people will not have indirectly experienced it and that will change things, like a World War II memorial.

      That said, I’ve been to Maya Linn’s Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC numerous times and have never seen quite what I experienced at ground zero. Of course, I was there before the internet age and the age of the selfie.

      Things are definitely different now.

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