Liberty Street: Encounters at Ground Zero

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9781584655510: Liberty Street: Encounters at Ground Zero
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Writer and feature filmmaker Peter Josyph spent a year and a half combing the streets and the debris-blasted buildings of Ground Zero, talking with workers and residents, and capturing its struggles and transformations. This book is a haunting record of the extraordinary world that was created on September 11 and has now vanished forever.

While much attention has been focused on the interior of Ground Zero, the surrounding neighborhood has been largely ignored. 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 the bans against photography made him "a spy in the house of destruction." Misinformed and marginalized by city and federal agencies, the neighborhood was on its own in coping with toxic infestation, landlords, insurers, and simple access to the place they were proud--and cursed--to call their home.

Josyph finds in every detail new ways to envision that morning, and challenges more simplistic, mainstream views of Ground Zero with vivid portraits of exceptional New Yorkers who made a place for themselves in that tragic and transitory neighborhood.

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About the Author:

PETER JOSYPH is an author and filmmaker. His books include What One Man Said to Another: Talks with Richard Selzer (1994) and The Wounded River, which was a New York Times Notable Book of 1993. His films include the award-winning documentary Liberty Street: Alive at Ground Zero (2005).

From Publishers Weekly:

Although cameras were prohibited at Ground Zero during the cleanup, Josyph, maker of the documentary Liberty Street: Alive at Ground Zero, surreptitiously filmed workers and residents as they salvaged the ravaged Financial District. He defends his clandestine actions, reasoning, "If I was out of line in wanting the world to see this, the line itself was out of line, for it was a critical entitlement for anybody touched by the news of the 11th." Armed with his video camera, Josyph grew close to carpenters, shoeshiners, dockbuilders and other locals who were affected by the attack that "generated an urban black hole, a nexus of negative energy that would suck down and disappear everything in its vicinity." Josyph's vivid accounts of being near Ground Zero long after September 11 (the area was blanketed by a stagnant "odor that even attacked lamentation itself," and all of his video footage "was tracked with the harsh metallic turbulence of the work, and pierced by the ubiquitous backup beeps of grapplers and trucks") create a clear picture of a singular time in a unique neighborhood, and his decision to ignore regulations and film the neighborhood's reconstruction is one that will prove essential to historical record. 21 illustrations.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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