Thursday, November 13, 2014

In the News: Dangling Scaffold and the Freedom Tower

Yesterday was not really my day. It was that kind of let-me-be, don't-bother-me type of day. No productivity. No creativity. I felt like I was coming down with a cold, and I had a migraine. (yes, migraines seem to visit me way too often, and as far as I can tell, they don't get easier, shorter or less frequent with age, but anyway....)

Dangling scaffold at One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, as seen from Jersey City waterfront. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Closeup view of the dangling scaffold at One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, as seen from Jersey City waterfront. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

So, I was trying to print out a photograph for Postcards From the Edge, the Visual AIDS annual fundraising event and art show. The printer didn't want to print right. It turned out that, indeed, I didn't have enough ink in one of the many cartridges. Hence, no printer head cleaning, and no nice printing either.

dangling scaffold at One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, as seen from Jersey City waterfront. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Dangling scaffold at One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, as seen from Jersey City waterfront. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
I had CNN Go running on my computer, in the background, to keep me company. They kept talking about the comet and landing on the comet, and I was rolling my eyes because they were kinda mispronouncing Darmstadt. For those interested, Darmstadt is a German town, about half-hour away from Frankfurt.

iPhone video at Lower Manhattan and surroundings, as seen from Jersey City waterfront. iPhone video by Alina Oswald.
iPhone video at Lower Manhattan and surroundings, as seen from Jersey City waterfront. iPhone video by Alina Oswald.


So...all this was going on when I heard something about something happening at the Freedom Tower sight. I switched my attention to CNN Go to see what they were talking about, and I found myself staring at the picture of the dangling scaffold. My first impulse was to leave everything and go check it out for myself, if anything possible, but I couldn't leave the printer as it was, and I wasn't sure if it was even worth it inquiring any further. What were the chances that I could actually see the scaffold from the Jersey side?

So I decided to wait a few minutes, and finish printing. When the printout still didn't come out right--I think I shook the last drop of ink out of that cartridge, so now I absolutely have to order a new one--I decided to grab the camera and go.

And I did. I grabbed my small camera with the kit lens (it's much lighter than the telephoto one I usually carry around), and took off.

When I finally made it in front of the Hyatt hotel, I could actually see it, the scaffold. The way it looked, from where I was standing...it seemed as if it was hanging straight down, not at an angle, as I'd seen online. The dangling scaffold, pointing down, reminded me of that photograph capturing a guy in free fall, escaping the burning towers. Or maybe the worst of thoughts take over one's mind 

It was a windy, partly cloudy day. The sun would peek out from behind the clouds, offering spectacular reflections on the brand new World Trade Center tower. Helicopters were hovering over the area, one closer to the tower, the others further south over the tip of the Manhattan Island. And then the helicopters simply disappeared, flew away, leaving behind a blue, quiet sky.

Although I couldn't see any movement from where I was standing, I told myself that it must have been over. And it must have ended in a good way. While on the waterfront, connection was horrible. I tried several times to tweet and post images online, to no avail. I waited a bit longer, but everybody seemed to have forgotten about the dangling scaffold.

On my way home, I could finally read on Twitter that the rescue operation had been a success. That was good news.


Thanks for reading!

Alina Oswald
Writer/Photographer

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