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"THE CITY ON THE HILL":
The New York Historical Society chronicles the World Trade Center recovery efforts after the attacks of 9/11/2001

11/27/03

The New York Historical Society chronicles the World Trade Center recovery efforts after the attacks of 9/11/2001.

On November 25, an exhibit of photographs and artifacts opened in New York that tells the story of what happened when post-9/11 recovery efforts moved from Ground Zero to the Fresh Kills Landfill on 9/12/01.

It's a fearful story, a story of blood, sweat, and tears, when people and organizations came together, in New York Police Inspector James Luongo's words, to process 1.8 million tons of debris and 1,300 cars; to recover over 4,200 human remains; and to positively identify over 200 people "that would never have been identified if it wasn't for the work that's being done by these very dedicated people."

Special Agent Richard Marx, who headed up the FBI's Evidence Response Team at Fresh Kills, said this about the Historical Society's proposal to document the effort: "We normally never let outsiders see a crime scene, let alone take photographs or touch anything. We were a tough sell. You became part of the team here. You have to remember we were here to find human remains. We were so focused we didn't realize we were part of history.

How big was the crime scene? Huge. Here are some statistics:

  • The site covered 175 acres.
  • 24 local, state, and federal agencies participated, with as many as 1,000 workers a day
  • 17,000 tons of material were processed daily.
  • 55 FBI Evidence Response Teams worked the site -- over 1,000 agents -- plus FBI medics, safety officers, and other specialists.
  • New York Evidence Response Team members worked over 8,000 hours at the site, at the morgue, and at Ground Zero -- and one, Special Agent Gerry Fornino, personally worked over 1,818 hours at the vehicle recovery operation with the Port Authority and NYPD.

On this Thanksgiving celebration, we thought you might have a chance to visit the New York Historical Society's website, if not its exhibit at West 77th Street and Central Park West, and remember over your holiday meals the families and loved ones of those lost on that horrific day in September 2001.