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9/11: Then and now – 15 years later

The twin towers of the World Trade Center burn behind the Empire State Building, Sept. 11, 2001. (Photo: Marty Lederhandler/AP)

#2 of 10 Most Popular News Galleries of 2016: 9/11: Then and now - 15 years later

(Originally posted on September 10, 2016)

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Each August and September, as summer fades into fall, Yahoo News photographer Gordon Donovan finds himself in a familiar spot – snapping images in the area where the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place 15 years ago.

“I do it because I love the city, the history of the city and how we’re not going to be put down,” explained Donovan, who was born and raised on Staten Island and watched the twin towers being built from across the harbor.

But his photos aren’t random shots of the evolving downtown landscape. He returns to document the exact scenes of many memorable images taken by photojournalists that tragic day in 2001.

“It’s fascinating to see how it has changed over the years, because it was just this big pile of rubble the first time I went down there about a week afterward,” said Donovan, then a graphic artist at CBS News, who was at work on the Upper West Side the morning of the attack.

Today there’s a museum honoring the nearly 3,000 people killed, a recently opened transportation hub and other signs of development yet to come.

“Now you can’t even recognize what happened,” Donovan said. “It’s beautiful what they’ve done down there. It’s just revitalized the whole area after such tragedy and put it back to life.”

Donovan’s then-and-now project, he said, is also a testament to the city’s strength and an opportunity to share the changes with New Yorkers who may have moved away over the past 15 years.

He said his project also honors the photojournalists who took the original images on 9/11. “These people risked their lives,” Donovan said. “It’s still home for them.” (Yahoo News)

Photography by Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News – Follow Gordon on Instagram

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