New York City residents were profoundly affected by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Stories of the firefighters, police officers, survivors and victims have been told at length in the near decade since the tragedy occurred. However, not many stories of how kids in New York City were personally affected have been told. Until now.
Brook Peters, 14, lives in lower Manhattan. Sept. 11, 2001, was his second day of kindergarten at Public School 150 in Tribeca. On April 30, his documentary film, aptly title, The Second Day, will be shown at the famed Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
“I have memories of that day I’ll never get out of my head,” Brook said. “Some kids had never talked about it to their parents, even.”
The film is about how the terror attacks affected the more than 5,600 kids who were at school near Ground Zero. Brook started working on it when he was 11.
“I think [the kids] told me more [than they told their parents],” he told the New York Daily News. “An adult could be more overpowering, rather than someone who understands what they’re thinking and going through.”
Brook captured 18 hours of footage and trimmed it to a running time of 38-minutes. Following the screening at a swanky 913-seat theater will be a panel discussion with him and some of his interview subjects. He also interviewed firefighters for the film.
“I have known the firemen forever,” Brook said. “They were my family, really. I took my first steps at a firehouse.”
I wish I were going to be in New York this weekend to see Brook’s film. When I think about 9/11, I usually think about the adults who were affected or the children of the victims. It doesn’t usually occur to me to consider how children in lower Manhattan reacted that day, although I still remember the chaos and the smell from the burning towers much further uptown, and so I’m sure the account of the kids featured in The Second Day will be powerful, to say the least.
“The Second Day” will be screened for free at 2:30 on Saturday, April 30th at BMCC Tribeca PAC (at 199 Chambers Street, between Greenwich & West Streets). Doors open at 2:00 pm.
Understanding the phenomenon: What do children remember, and what do they forget?