WTC 9/11/2015

One World Trade CenterI made my first trip back to the WTC site after many months. The date was 9/11/15 when I photographed the WTC site for my submission to e-Oculus,  the e publication of the American Institute of Architects, the Metro Manhattan chapter.

Last year at this time we photographed the completed Visitors Center with its magnificent encapsulation of the basin and the actual slurry wall. This year I viewed the newly opened Observation Deck in WTC – 1 on the fourteenth anniversary of the tragic event.

WTC 1I  went to the Observation Deck (a little bit pricey at $32 per viewing,  $30 for seniors) with my good friend and my “go to guy for web design”, Edward Ferry III. While we ascended, there was the video show as we reached the top. At different levels we saw a simulation of how Manhattan looked years ago. When we arrived on top we saw a simulation of the view on the 100th floor and then the dramatic live view.

When you go yourself, you may want to get an elevator that’s not too crowded to photograph some of the simulated “time capsule” views as you ascend. We also decided to pick a 7:15 PM time slot for that dramatic shot at dusk. We were somewhat successful , however, we had to contend with the ambient light from the giftshop and some other areas.

To those who read my blog, I am interested in your experiences at the WTC especially if you have gone up to the observation deck. Please comment (leave reply link above) and feel free to click on the Share Buttons above as well to share this post with your friends.

With my best wishes,


The day of 9-11-2014 site viewing

For the first time on 9/11 the WTC site was open for a public evening viewing. For an aerial view, I would recommend the W hotel lounge terrace on the 5th floor that overlooks the site.

Photos of the Museum were presented on my last post.  A visit to the Museum is the best way I know of understanding the events of that tragic day and seeing the remaining slurry wall (basin) and other structural artifacts, etc..

For visiting the WTC and the museum go to memorial museum site.

All photos taken by Frank Ritter on 9/11/2014

© Frank Ritter, 2014

WTC One, 1776 feet high, the highest skyscraper in the U.S.

A note to a loved one who perished in the 9/11/2001 attacks.

The Survivor Tree, a callery pear, survived the 9/11 attack. Fascinating story.

The 2983 bronze engraved names of the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks.

The memorial’s reflective pool and the names of the victims engraved in bronze plaques around it.

Ceremonial beam viewed from service road adjacent to West Street.

You may also view more of my photos on e-Oculus, the official publication of the Metro New York American Institute of Architects.


World Trade Center Museum

What is unique about this museum?  It is built around sections of the remaining structure of the Twin Towers.  The  museum prominently displays the slurry wall (the containment basin) and goes down to the bedrock of Manhattan.

All photos taken by Frank Ritter on 9/1/2014

© Frank Ritter, 2014


Trident, an architectural element from the North Tower.


Slurry Wall, the concrete retaining wall, to prevent river water from flooding the site. Fortunately it was not breached during the attack.

The Last Column to be removed from the site on May 30 2002. Responders, volunteers and victims were invited to affix messages or other tributes to it.


FDNY Ladder Co 3 truck bumper and back panel which was originally displayed at the ladder company headquarters on east 13th St. NYC.  The original fire truck was damaged beyond repair when the north tower collapsed and the front cab was shorn off.

Batch-0323Multi Ton Steel Column that stood at the core of the South Tower between the 30 and 33rd floor. It folded during the collapse splitting open the four welds that held it together.

Batch-0400 Museum Exterior

These photos are, in part, for those who have not yet had the opportunity to make a visit.

To purchase tickets for the museum go to:

WTC Museum website



D Day Anniversary 2014 – “A debt owed that I can never repay.” by Frank Ritter

Freedom is not free. I had the good fortune to photograph Rick Carrier, eighty-eight years young as he set out from West 22nd Street for the 70th D Day ceremony in France. Seeing him in his woolen kaki World War II uniform was like tearing a page out of the military history. I guess the uniform looked the same as it looked in 1944 except for all the metals that now hung neatly across Rick’s chest.

Rick Carrier on his way to the 70th anniversary of D-Day at Normandy Beach, France.
(NY1 News Picture of the Day, June 3, 2014, Kristina J. – Producer)

Rick was drafted shortly after his eighteenth birthday in 1943. He and his fellow soldiers had to eat porridge in their finally days aboard ship as they crossed the Atlantic on their way to the invasion. Many of the men were sea sick and throwing up aboard the ship, Aquitania..


Medals and ribbons shown including the ones given by the US Holocaust Museum and the Israeli Government for the liberation of Buchenwald.

Rick was part of the First Wave that landed on Utah Beach June 6, 1944. He job was to clear the hedgehogs (obstacles put by the Germans on the beach), dynamite the German sea wall, and mark the heavily mined areas. I asked him if it was like the first scenes in the Tom Hanks movie, Band of Brothers. He said yes, only it was for real and instead of lasting only twenty minutes as portrayed in the movie it lasted all day. The noise was tremendous especially with the US aircraft bombardment and the US naval support needed in this amphibious landing.

Rick survived even though most all of his fellow soldiers did not. He participated in the front lines of five battles in the European theatre including the Battle of the Bulge and the Remagen Bridge. The bridge allowed Allied troops to cross the Rhine into Germany for their final assault.
On his twentieth birthday he accidently discovered Buchenwald Concentration Camp. Since he was alone with only two locals including a priest, upon hearing gunfire inside the camp he left hastily to report to his superiors. The following day hundreds of US Army liberators brought freedom to thousands of prisoners. He said they took the healthier members of the camp with them. There were many who had no hope for survival that were left behind. The stench and inhumane conditions were unbearable and Rick throw up since he forced to bear witness to it.

When I asked Rick if he had any advice for future generations he said “beware of dictators”.

At the end of his life, my father an Air Force Captain once said his war years were a waste of nearly five of his young life. I agree, but they were sadly among the most important and necessary to defeat the monster Hitler.


Leaving New York en route to the 70th D-Day Anniversary Reunion. Being sent off by myself and other well wishers

It has been reported one hundred million souls lost their lives during World War I and World War II.

Written by Frank Ritter with the special assistance of Lynn Ramsey. Photography by Frank Ritter. Article and photography may not be reproduced without permission.

The 69th Regiment Armory Historic Site

The 69th Regiment Armory Historic Site is the home to many art exhibits, not to mention the Victoria’s Secret annual fashion show. At a recent art exhibit I enjoyed viewing the art murals depicting famous military ballets from American history. In addition there are also guided tours of this historic building of interest.

Photography by Frank Ritter.


regiment armory1


Driving Along the Palisades Parkway

If you have to travel north of Manhattan, a route I might recommend is the Palisades Interstate Parkway.

palisade pkwy map

Approximately ten miles from the George Washington bridge is a scenic view you might want to check out. The area was once known as “Millionaire’s Row.” On this site there stood an estate called “Rio Vista.”

palisade pkway view

frank palisade palisade info

The manor house is sadly gone but the wrought iron fencing still remains along the cliffs edge. The estate was built by sugar baron Manuel Rionda who owned sugar plantations in Cuba. Hope you enjoy the view!


A Great Destination: The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC

Biltmore Estate

For those who want to see European architecture in America the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC is your destination. As an architectural photographer this French Renaissance Chateau with its 250 rooms leaves little to the imagination. The architect was Richard Morris Hunt famed for doing the Breakers, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, etc. He is also known in my father’s home town, for the Howland library. His brother in law was Joseph Howland.

The Biltmore Estates Library also has approximately 10,000 books all of which it was said George Vanderbilt read. It is the largest house in America. I enjoyed the architects tour which gave me many special views from the roof tops and balconies. Unfortunately photography is not allowed inside the premises. However the exterior details are plentiful for any architectural photographer who wants to capture them with a camera.

The landscape architects design is most beautiful in April with a large variety of flowers and plants in the magnificent gardens.Biltmore Estate

Biltmore EstateBiltmore EstateBiltmore EstateBiltmore EstateBiltmore EstateblogFBRIMG_7853

Architectural Photography at the World Trade Center 9/11/2013

Frank Ritter

I was pleased to have a premiere show at the 331 Main Gallery in Beacon New York. Finally this space which I labored to renovate is now in use. As an architectural interior photographer my 9/11 photographic show concentrated on World Trade Center 1. Finally it is nearing the time of occupancy.

At the ceremony on 9/11/13 the lines of the building were defined and its different faceted surface sparkled, glowed, and silhouetted against the bright sun. I am not sure what the architectural critics will be saying about the building but I believe this elegant 1776 foot structure fills the void in this area that has been vacant all too long.

Photo: Photographer Frank Ritter with artists Arthur and Christopher Wood

I hope you enjoy this video of my 9/11/13, which shows the latest progress being made at the World Trade Center site and the history of the progress of this construction in the aftermath of 9/11/2001.

The World Trade Center

9112013_aAs an architectural photographer I am reminded by the architect who proposed the Freedom Tower to be 1776 feet that buildings are really not significant it’s the people who occupy them.

Having attended the twelfth anniversary ceremony of 9/11 that quote rings true.  Those who attend the ceremony hearing the nearly 3000 names read out loud of those who lost their lives involving this 9/11 tragedy brings home that message.

As a real estate photographer specialist indeed it is certainly more than the real estate and the elegance of WTC 1 but the people it will serve.  Will it be safe?  The original corner stone that was placed was moved because of security concerns.  The cost of the site and memorial is also significant. It is stated because of the cost of security checks an admission will have to be charged to enter the new on site memorial.  As an interior photographer I look forward to seeing the interiors of both the memorial part of the site and the interior of WTC 1.   Both interiors are scheduled for completion in 2014 and I am looking forward to assignments photographing these new areas.

The architectural photos on this page were taken in the month prior to this years 9/11 ceremony.  They are accompanied by photos taken at this year’s 9/11 ceremony and other locations around the city.






I must thank my production, location, and web site specialist Edward J. Ferry III who accompanies me as I photograph exterior views at different locations on the 9/11 anniversary every year.

My Bridge Fire Photo picked up by AP

QueensboroBridgeFireAP-QueensboroBridgeFireFire in a city like New York can be devastating. Twelve years ago we did not react at first when we heard of a fire resulting from a plane hitting a tower.

Fortunately we have been kept safe since then either by a preventive act from G-d or on the other hand we have just plain lucky. As an architectural exterior photographer, I occasionally open my blinds to see what I may.  However, on last Friday, August 16, I noticed a plume of smoke over the 59th Street Edward Koch bridge.

It was also a spectacular day as I thought of the events of a similar day twelve years ago. Fortunately as I focused my lens I felt safe as I peered down from the 34th floor tower where I live and work.

As I finished my digital processing not too many hours later my photos were picked up by Associated Press in New York. The photos were then published in newspapers and media from my New York base to the St Louis Post-Dispatch and then to el Centro, California, to appear in the Herald Palladium.

Photos were also to appear in the midwest up north to Benton Harbor , Michigan and finally to the EPOCH Times which covers 35 countries and 21 languages. Lastly they finally traveled to the Daily Star which cover Lebanon and a large swath of area in the Middle East.

By night fall I was happy to say the bridge fire was long extinguished and the Friday traffic jam was fortunately the only inconvenience of the day.