A view of the Towers: Video that captured 9-11 to screen at Brooklyn Historical Society

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Call it a reminder of the day we will never forget.

On the 17th anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks, the Brooklyn Historical Society will screen an hours-long film of the New York city skyline that inadvertently captured the moment of the attacks, previously only seen at the 9-11 Memorial and Museum in Manhattan. Visitors can stop in any time during the day to watch the time-lapse video “2001,” by internet artist Wolfgang Staehle, projected onto a screen in the museum’s Great Hall.

Staehle installed a pair of cameras on top of a building in Williamsburg in early September of 2001, pointed them towards Manhattan, and set them to take a picture every four seconds for the next several weeks, along with other cameras clicking away in Berlin and in the bucolic German countryside. Staehle thought that his art piece would show the banality of daily life at the beginning of the 21st century, said one of the organizers of the event.

“The art piece was intended by Staehle to reflect on how mundane and normal life is, that really nothing happens and that it’s all very similar, and his assumption was that pretty much nothing was going to change,” Marcia Ely, of the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Instead, Staehle’s cameras captured the moment of the city’s most dramatic transformation, said Ely.

The video will start at 8:30 am and will show the entire course of the day, with the planes crashing at 8:46 am and 9:03 am, followed by the aftermath, running for more that 10 hours until sundown. According to Ely, the film is both a piece of art and a way for visitors to reflect on what has happened since that day.

“It’s going to be a powerful prompt to reflect on how the world has changed since then and to remember all sorts of things that we now consider routine and normal, such as security in airports, and to remember a more innocent and simpler time pre-2001,” she said.

The day will also shine a light on the experience of Brooklynites who watched the dramatic scenes from right across the river, in the neighborhood of the museum, she said.

“Brooklyn Heights, for lack of a better term, had a front-row seat of this horrific tragic incident,” Ely said. “The Brooklyn community has specific memories of not just watching images on TV but going to the Promenade and seeing charred paper floating in the sky, watching people cross the Brooklyn Bridge, that flow of humanity just leaving Manhattan.”

Just as everyone has their own memory of that day, Ely said, they will each have their own reaction to the footage.

“This piece of art is a kind of thing that each individual is going to have a such idiosyncratic and different response to it, there’s not many works of art that you could say that about,” she said.

After the screening, a panel of speakers, including journalist Pat Kiernan, poet Tina Chang, and Clifford Chanin of the 9-11 Memorial and Museum, will discuss how New York City and the world have changed since the attacks.

“2001” at Brooklyn Historical Society [128 Pierrepont St at Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 222-4111,;]. Sept. 11, 8:30 am–7 pm. Free.

“Transformed Overnight: The Impact of 9-11” at Brooklyn Historical Society. Sept. 11 at 7 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
Posted 12:00 am, September 11, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Zaxby says:
What no puns in this article? 9/11 still too soon, but dead cats are ok?
Sept. 5, 2018, 10:06 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Looking at that image really makes me want to know why the Twin Towers weren't just simply rebuilt with better safety modifications instead of what we wound up with at the end, which I feel is more of a monument to the very terrorists and helping them finish the job of destroying something so important.
Sept. 5, 2018, 2:33 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Tal -- You're a commercial real estate developer now?
Sept. 6, 2018, 8:53 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Tyler, I have been numerous hearings involving the WTC site, and hardly anyone outside the panel supported what ended up getting built there. According to numerous polls, many actually did prefer the rebuilding of the Twin Towers over what is there now and by a landslide on most of them. The only symbolism I see that illegitimate replacement is fear, elitism, and egoism. To me, not rebuilding the Twin Towers is saying that the terrorists did change us that day. I suggest you read, Sixteen Acres and the Outrages Struggle for Ground Zero, by Phillip Nobel to get an idea of what really went on, plus you can also read, Debacle: Failing to Rebuild the Twin Towers, by Joe Wright, which features a collection of essays from pro-Towers advocates such as myself.
Sept. 6, 2018, 12:52 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I meant to say that the first book was titled Sixteen Acres and the Outrageous Struggle for Ground Zero.
Sept. 6, 2018, 1:06 pm
Tyler from pps says:
So, nostalgia for ugly, impractical 70's architecture didn't win the day when planning a multi-billion dollar project?

Oh, man. How sad for you.
Sept. 6, 2018, 1:20 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
If the ESB were destroyed by terrorists or some other natural or manmade disaster, then would wanting them rebuilt mean going back to the 30's?
Sept. 8, 2018, 4:18 pm
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
The Empire State Building is attractive.
Sept. 11, 2018, 2:11 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I liked the design of the Twin Towers for the simplicity and that they didn't need to look the best to be best, plus they were considered revolutionary when they were being built especially since they were the first skyscrapers constructed with kangaroo cranes for the first time that even the ESB didn't use, though I'm not trying to diss the ESB by saying that as I like that building as well.
Sept. 11, 2018, 5:20 pm
Old time Brooklyn from Slope says:
Tyler you have no idea what you are talking about Hey the Brooklyn paper offered to interview you a while ago - what happened- why no interviews Tal - I agree The towers should have been rebuilt
Sept. 12, 2018, 12:54 am
Tyler from pps says:
I don't know what I'm talking about? That the planners/developers of a multi-billion dollar project decided to build a modern building instead of just rebuilding ugly, impractical nostalgia? Yeah. That's really hard to understand.
Sept. 12, 2018, 11:14 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Old time, it was the call for rebuilding the Twin Towers that got me into the fight for activism in the first place. This practically predates all the other things such as congestion pricing, bike lanes, transit, and even the Atlantic Yards. I know that many wanted them rebuilt from the hearings on that I had attended in the past not to mention the number of the times this was polled where the majority were in favor of having them back in a landslide over anything else. I even had letters on numerous newspapers such as the NY Post, Daily News, and Downtown Express as well as even making PBS's America Rebuilds. As for that interview, that was only because someone from this paper saw me at that Vision Zero Hero hearing and wanted to interview to get a better understanding of what I meant. Nonetheless, I'm not someone who just hides behind their keyboard never to be seen in public.
Sept. 12, 2018, 5:21 pm
Old time Brooklyn from Slope says:
Yes Tyler - you do not know what you are talking about - your rely highly indicative How is life in Flatbush Btw where did you go to high school
Sept. 12, 2018, 8:39 pm
Old time Brooklyn from Slope says:
Tal - the interview question was for ty - sorry I have read/ seen your stuff and it is spot on So ty - what happened to the interview the bp wanted to do with you?
Sept. 12, 2018, 8:41 pm
Tyler from pps says:
I was never asked to do an interview as far as I know. And where I went to high school doesn't seem to be relevant to a nostalgia-based replica of a crappy building. -- What date should we freeze in time to make you happy? -- "Knowing what we know now, would you build it again?" The answer is NO. So they didn't.
Sept. 13, 2018, 11:46 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Just for the record, nobody ever asked me to join the fight for any causes, I did that on my own, which is why I tend to represent myself at a number of hearings, and not any particular groups.
Sept. 13, 2018, 12:36 pm
Old time Brooklyn from Slope says:
Tyler I remember very well when the bp offered to interview you - cold Feet i guess - comprehensive reples vs snark - to each his own . I guess you are more of a ged guy . How is life in Flatbush - la Shona Tovah 😘
Sept. 13, 2018, 6:18 pm
Tyler from pps says:
I'm glad *you* remember it. I would have to be aware of this offer to have cold feet, right? Again, what date should we freeze in time to make you happy?
Sept. 14, 2018, 9:59 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Tyler wanting the Twin Towers rebuilt wasn't really to go back in time, it was about restoring the skyline to what defined it so well, which is why they were attacked in the first place. Of course there is no call to have them built with the same engineering then and even the Restoration Alternative, that was drafted by the LMDC, mentions that rebuilt Twin Towers must have updated engineering. Even the late Osama bin Laden knew what they stood for when he said this, "Those awesome towers that speak of human liberty and freedom have gone up in smoke." Just saying that it's to freeze time is just another excuse those in charge used to not have them back. Just imagine if the Williamsburg Savings Bank (now 1 Hanson Place) was destroyed and those in charge said that they aren't rebuilt it. Would you fight tooth and nail to have it back, but only engineered better, or would you just accept a memorial or something completely different there? The same can apply for the ESB or even the Statue of Liberty let alone other known places in that matter. When I asked this to those I have encountered on other message boards, they had the tendency to either dodge that, sometimes get defensive, or even use a double standard to it. Overall, whenever I look at what's there now, I see it more as defeat rather than victory, not to mention how much of a boondoggle all of it was whereas rebuilt Twin Towers would have cost much less according to financial studies.
Sept. 14, 2018, 5:30 pm
Old time Brooklyn from Slope says:
Tyler my love - your name always gets a laugh A time before simpletons Tom cup of coffee, Ohio got here Mazal tov and la shone Tovah
Sept. 15, 2018, 5:21 pm
Tyler from pps says:
l'Shanah Tovah to you too Old Time... You should work on your spelling if you're going to use Hebrew as some sort of "You're a carpetbagger" insult. Next time you're at shul, ask them to help.
Sept. 16, 2018, 10:08 am
Old time Brooklyn from Slopr says:
Ty - auto correct can be a pita I am Rc 12 years then bc My wife is formerly orthodox and does Christmas like nobodies business I pass and have been mistaken for Jewish many times I offfer la Shona Tovah in the spirit of goodwill
Sept. 19, 2018, 12:54 pm

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