By Dirck Halstead
September 11, 2001 Aris Economopoulos was sleeping in.
A staff photographer for The Newark Star Ledger for less than a year,
Aris was scheduled to start his shift at 2:30pm on the 11th. Shortly
after 8am, his mother called and told him to turn on the TV. Irritated,
he pushed the button on his remote to see the World Trade Center in
flames. In less than 10 minutes he was out the door of his
Jersey City apartment, running toward the Hudson River ferry. As he
turned a corner, he heard the roar of a plane coming in low and fast.
By the time he could see Manhattan, a second jetliner had hit the World
The next eight hours would be an experience that would alter his life
forever. He was at Ground Zero when the towers collapsed. He barely
escaped with his life, and wound up groping his way through the darkness
into a lobby where he took an incredible picture of survivors hugging
each other. They kept saying "My God, we are alive!"
Last week, Aris went back to Ground Zero for the first time since September
11th. He had been recovering from severe cornea damage to his eyes.
He walked us through his path that day, and you can watch his journey
in the video clips in this section.
Later in the day, he took a CD of his photographs to the "Here
is New York" exhibit in lower Manhattan, where the public can buy
prints of the work so many photographers did on that dark day. To go
to the Here Is New York website, click on http://www.hereisnewyork.org.