A Flickr account, September Mourning, post some interesting information about the sequence of events that unfolded in Union Square Park in the days following September 11th, 2001.
He or she says someone named "Jordan Schuschler [sic] taped thirty-foot long sheets of paper to the ground and laid out boxes of crayons and markers for passers by to leave their messages of hope and condolence."
Union Square Wednesday afternoon
Union Square Wednesday Afternoon
Eloquence amongst the chaos.
Union Square Wednesday Afternoon
Amy Waldman, writing in the New York Times on September 14, 2001, Grief Is Lessened by Sharing and Solace From Strangers, also mentions this same Jordon Schuster, although by the sound of it, she was told this second-hand on Wednesday
"The square became a site of convergence almost by accident. On Tuesday afternoon, Jordan Schuster, a 19-year-old student desperate to do something, had taped down a piece of butcher paper to give people an outlet. By yesterday, well over 100 sheets of paper had been filled with tributes, prayers, opinions, and counteropinions."September Mourning says that the "paper rolls disappeared with the rains on Thursday to be replaced by chalking on the pavement the following day."
Union Square Friday evening (The Candlelit Vigil)
Union Square Friday Evening
But he says that by "Saturday Union Square was awash with flowers and tributes of all descriptions as mourners came to pay their respects. The weekend saw the square transformed into an impromptu shrine of remembrance. The photograph above, of the little girl lighting the candle, was taken at this spot the night before. It shows how quickly the scene changed from one day to the next in that week."
Union Square Saturday
This changing sequence over the days seems very suspect to me. It was very generous of the young Mr. Jordan Schuschler/Schuster to provide the "boxes of crayons and markers" and "well over 100 sheets of paper" for everybody to use, and Schuschler/Schuster doesn't seem averse to publicity either.
I suspect the beautifully wrought and misspelled memorial remembrance by Nash Inc., which we see in one image, was paid for by somebody, if not Schuschler/Schuster. So was the chalk. But we really start going to town on the weekend, with so many flowers, candles, and flags provided for that it's really over the top.
All of these are signals somebody with deep pockets was putting a lot of thought into the communal experience.
Sunday afternoon in Union Square
"Around noon on Wednesday, two Armenian immigrants arrived at Union Square lugging a concrete-covered column about eight feet high, and attached what looked like a wire-mesh Christmas tree on top. It was a tribute to the victims of the attacks; the two had stayed up all night making it.I don't trust September Mourning, not with the following image from his Flickr account.
"The column, dominated as it was by the statue of George Washington looming over it, at first seemed faintly absurd. But yesterday, it seemed utterly necessary. The area around its base was covered with flowers, candles, and photos of the missing, and people gathered around it as if it were a campfire. They stared. They read. They knelt. They wept. They looked as if they would have clutched onto the column if they could have."
Grief Is Lessened by Sharing and Solace From Strangers by Amy Waldman, The New York Times, September 14, 2001,
The "fact" of Roger Mark Rasweiler being the "first" missing-person poster put up after the attacks is quite heavily promoted in the news record, even though I can't understand how anyone could make such a determination like that until I saw this image, which seems to show it actually getting done. However, that would have to make it on the Tuesday evening, and not Wednesday evening, as September Mourning claims.
8th Avenue Sidewalk Wednesday night
Roger Mark Rasweiler
"My assistant and I came across this missing poster as we walked along the sidewalk early on Wednesday evening. It was the first we had seen."
"At the time, many of the most satisfying commemorations were spontaneous ones, the handmade signs, the heaping piles of flowers, the neighborly gatherings at firehouses. But these gestures, by their very nature, were one-time events. Even Jordan Schuster, who as a 19-year old student at New York University led the transformation of Union Square into the site of a mass vigil, no longer marks the date in any particular way. "I didn't want my life to be 9/11 for the next 10 years," he said."Jordan, I'd give you 25 to life myself.