documents a few of the spontaneous shrines that appeared around New
York City after September 11, 2001. These tributes to working people touched
the hearts of friends and strangers alike, as once anonymous public
spaces were transformed into places where people gathered and shared
both their grief and their hopes.
© Martha Cooper
CityLore photographer Martha Cooper recorded thousands of these creative
responses to the tragedy - memorials to the dead and tributes to the
survivors - on street corners, on construction walls, on t-shirts and
jackets and hats. This exhibit is a small selection of the many that
could be called labor art.
Responding to the September 11 attacks, New Yorkers "were able
to draw on their powers of creative expression to forge a civic and
spiritual response of a magnitude commensurate with the loss,"
according to Steve Zeitlin, director of City Lore: the New York Center
for Urban Folk Culture.
Photographer Martha Cooper, historian Marci Reaven and folklorist Zeitlin
curated an extensive multi-media exhibit--Missing: Streetscape of
a City in Mourning--with the New-York Historical Society for Spring
2002. This Missing exhibit uses selections from the earlier and larger
exhibit, and was inspired by it. We thank them, and salute their efforts
to "document the resiliency of the human spirit," in Cooper's
words. Viewers who might be able to contribute to that effort should
visit the websites CityLore
September 11 Digital Archive.
Viewers may also be interested in our Landscape of Lost Arts exhibit, which features two photos from the World Trade Center, one of ironworkers during the initial construction in 1970, and one of lathers during the rebuilding in 2009.