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Memories of Manhattan
Ten years? Really? Can it really be 10 years since this terrible day?
In memory of that horrible day, and all those who lost their lives, It's become an annual tradition to change the date on my favorite photo of the Worlds Trade Center to move it up to the top.
I can't believe it has really been 10 years since that day. I still remember it like yesterday. I was actually out early that morning, cruising around the beach in Belmar, New Jersey. I was doing a shoot for New Jersey Monthly magazine. The DJ on the radio announced that a plane had hit one of the towers. I thought, 'That sucks!' Like everyone else, I just assumed it was a little single engine, private plane. The radio went about playing a few more songs. I kept seeing strange things happening. It took a while for my brain to put all the pieces together. I tried to make a call on my cell phone, and all circuits were busy. Never heard that before. There was a guy on Belmar boardwalk frantically pulling a huge flag down to half mast. I wondered, 'who died?' Then the DJ on the radio announced that a second plane had hit. I thought, 'now this is getting weird.' They went back to playing another song, and I could see tons of black smoke filling the horizon, looking out at the ocean, towards New York City. I wondered, 'what's burning?' Suddenly everything came together in my head. I realized' 'Oh SHIT! This is something REALLY BIG!' Just as I had that thought, the DJ cut off the song and said... "I'm sorry... I didn't realize the enormity of what is happening here. Someone just poked their head into the studio and told me a plane had hit the towers. This is really BAD! I'm going to switch over our broadcast to CNN news for the rest of the day" I ended up driving all the way to Sandy Hook that afternoon. I just had to see it with my own eyes. I couldn't believe what I was hearing on the radio was really happening. Sandy Hook has a great view of Lower Manhattan. I just stood there on the beach in silence, with a thousand other people, looking across the water at the smoke... Looking at a skyline now missing two huge buildings that I could see out my bedroom window as a kid. I still can't believe they're really gone. I went up to the top of one of the towers just a few months before they fell. It was so hard to believe that a few months later they were just rubble.
Here's something really weird. Just a couple days before 9-11, I did an outdoor art festival, selling some of my photography. I met the nicest couple. We talked for a while. They were asking me all about the big camping trip I had just taken out west. I invited them to come to the opening of a gallery show I was doing the next week. They said they would love to see the show, but they're flying to California on Tuesday, but they would love to see the show when they come back... A couple of days later, I saw their photos in the newspaper. They were on the infamous Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania.
This was taken from Liberty State Park, back around 1990. It was a very long time exposure 5-10 minutes. The clouds were moving fairly fast, which created the streaky looking sky.
J. G. Ballard
Granda Publishing Limited
Published in 1975 by Panther Books Ltd
First published in Great Britain by Jonathan Cape Ltd 1973
Cover illustration by Chris Foss
From the back cover:
A starkly powerful novel where the technology of the automobile explodes into a repellent yet totally fascinating climax of violent sexuality...
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