30 Minutes in July: The View from the Freedom Tower | Colleen Putman


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30 Minutes in July: The View from the Freedom Tower

Jul 31, 2017

I moved to NYC less than 2 years after September 11th, 2001, but that fateful day, like most Americans, I felt like a New Yorker.  I had visited multiple times before 2001, and remember standing on the observation deck of one of the twin towers as a teenager, looking down at the city I knew I’d call home one day.  A few months after the towers fell, I drove down from school in Vermont for an internship interview and remember seeing ground zero still smoking, remnants of the towers still leaning haphazardly as recovery workers sifted through the rubble for remains.  I couldn’t bring myself to go back for years, even after I moved to the city.  Then there were years of discussions about how to rebuild and what to do with the site.  The years flashed forward and suddenly, the Freedom Tower rose gleaming above the other skyscrapers to show the world that New Yorkers cannot be defeated.  I remember the overwhelming feeling of pride to see this new World Trade Center rise above the beautiful memorial pools, and I was even prouder knowing one of my friends was part of this process, as one of the elevator engineers integral to these new buildings.  The construction on One World Trade Center began 11 years ago, and it was completed about 3 years ago, but only this month have I been drawn back to view my city once again from the tallest building in the western hemisphere.  Looking down at the city, vying for window space among the tourists speaking so many languages around me, I couldn’t be more proud.


As you may remember, these “30 Minutes in the Life” posts that I do each month are part of a wonderful group of talented photographers from around the world.  Please feel free to click on Hayley Hay’s post to see what 30 minutes in Switzerland looked like for her this month.  I promise you won’t be disappointed!

comments +

  1. Liz Godfrey says:

    Colleen – your words and images are expressed beautifully. From such painful period comes beautiful new beginnings and hopes for our future.

  2. Sarah Keene says:

    I am a New Yorker as well and I still have not been able to go back to the site, all these years later. Looking at your pictures, perhaps it is time. <3 Love seeing NYC in fog!

  3. Sharleen says:

    Colleen, every time I see your images I tell myself I am going to visit New York. Perhaps when Amy comes home. I love your images this month. Did you go all the way to the top? I did 52 stories in the Columbia Building in Seattle and that was enough for me. I love the incredible views that you captured and especially love the little girl in the window.

  4. Stacey Markel says:

    Colleen, these are beautiful images that capture a beautiful city. What an beautiful tribute to your city.

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