Help Identify This Photo: The Moment The Towers Fell

NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 2001
Patrick Witty
A crowd of stunned New Yorkers witness the collapse of the South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:59am on September 11, 2001. The photographer used social media to identify Benjamin Tabile, the man wearing glasses in the center of the frame.

I took this photograph exactly 12 years ago today, just as the South Tower of the World Trade Center started to collapse: a cross-section of New Yorkers, united in terror, standing at Park Row and Beekman Street in lower Manhattan. Since then it’s been published dozens of times in newspapers and magazines across the world, but I’ve never known the names behind the faces. Last year I posted the photo on Facebook and Twitter in hopes of discovering their identities. After it was shared more than 10,000 times, I now know two of them.

Edward Tabile contacted me, saying he recognized his father, Benjamin Tabile, as the man in the center wearing the glasses. Benjamin was supposed to be in the World Trade Center towers that day for a job interview but was running late.

“As I walked out of the subway, I saw the building on fire and didn’t know why,” he said. “I was in complete shock. I would have been in that building while the planes hit.”

I want to know them all. If you recognize anyone in this picture, please contact me at patrick_witty@timemagazine.com.


Patrick Witty is the International Picture Editor at TIME. Follow him on Twitter @patrickwitty.


(Related: The Most Powerful Photos from 9/11 and Why They Still Move Us )

 

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