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  Field Notes From
ZipUSA: 10013



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On Assignment

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From Photographer
Ira Block



In most cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Photograph by Ira Block
 

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ZipUSA: 10013
Field Notes From Photographer
Ira Block
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The people who live in this community showed a lot of spirit and resilience in the way they came back after this devastating time. The neighborhood became a staging point for a lot of the rescue workers, police officers, and firefighters. Nino’s Restaurant served meals gratis to anyone working at ground zero. I went in there a few times and was amazed at the dedicated people hard at work. Absorbing their spirit and determination and capturing that on film boosted me up and made me realize the importance of documenting all these people who were doing so much under such horrific conditions.



I’m a native New Yorker, and I was in the city when it was attacked on September 11. It was pretty awful when I started my coverage of this assignment. I saw how the community was affected: Streets were closed off. Very few people were around. People’s lives were forced to change. Looking at the emotional impact on the people was difficult.



I was out on the streets attending a candlelight vigil one evening when I saw a beautiful golden retriever wearing a doggie vest with lights on it. At first I thought it was kind of odd, but maybe it was a rescue dog. I started talking to the owner, and he said, “No, he’s not a rescue dog. He’s a comfort dog.” I didn’t quite get that, but I spent some time with Nikie and his owner, Frank Shane. They were officially credentialed to be there among the people and the rescue workers. When people petted this big loving dog, I could almost see their tension release. I really understood then what Frank meant by “comfort dog.”





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