A haunting record of the destruction and rebirth of the neighborhood surrounding Ground Zero.
When writer and feature filmmaker Peter Josyph spent a year and a half combing the historic streets and debris-blasted buildings of Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan, talking with workers and residents, capturing its struggles and transformations, he became what he calls a “citizen-artist,” personally shooting over two hundred hours of footage for his film Liberty Street: Alive at Ground Zero, and writing this haunting, eyewitness account of the extraordinary world that was created on September 11 and has vanished now forever.
When the Ground Zero neighborhood was misinformed and marginalized by city and federal agencies, it was left to its own devices in coping with round-the-clock deconstruction, toxic infestation, corrupt landlords, reluctant insurers, and simple access to the place they were proudand cursedto call their home. But loyal Downtowners who ran for their lives from the collapse of the Twin Towers returned with a resolve to restore their world to order. Exploring this “dust-driven world of collateral damage,” Josyph documented their struggle at a time when there were few there to witness it, and bans against photography made him “a spy in the house of destruction.” In what the New York Times called “a personal, impressionistic, almost poetic account,” Josyph finds in each detail a new way to envision that terrible morning, and he challenges the more simplistic, mainstream views of Ground Zero with vivid portraits of brave, exceptionaland complexNew Yorkers who made a place for themselves in that tragic and transitory neighborhood.
This expanded edition includes a new chapter and additional photographs.
About the Author
Peter Josyph is an award-winning writer, painter, actor, and filmmaker. He is the author of What One Man Said to Another: Talks with Richard Selzer; editor of The Wounded River: The Civil War Letters of John Vance Lauderdale, M.D., which was a New York Times Book Review’s Notable Book of 1993; and editor of Letters to a Best Friend by Richard Selzer, also published by SUNY Press. He lives on Long Island.
Table of Contents
Part I. Behind the Green Door
1. What’s Burnin Now
2. Worse for Them
3. I Have to Work with This
4. Just Don’t Let a Cop See you
5. Cats’ Claws, Twisted Beams, Big Red Crane
7. The Nausea
Part II. Touching People
8. The Mud People
9. I Lost My Benchmark
10. Mister Mark Stays for Breakfast
11. Mister Mark Stays for Breakfast
11. Dark Science
12. Notes on Dust
Part III. Asking Questions
13. David Frank: At Work with the North Tower
14. William Langewiesche: National Correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly
15. Tex Mccrary: First Resident of Battery Park City
16. James Creedon: New York City Paramedic
17. Jason Mazzone