Photo credit: © Joe McNally
Accession Number: C.2019.62.1
Dimensions: 109 in X 44 in X 0.08 in
Dimensions (Metric): 276.86 cm X 111.76 cm X 0.2032 cm
Credit Line: Collection 9/11 Memorial Museum. © Joe McNally.
Donald Sanchez, Jacqueline Zayas, Detectives, 52nd Precinct, NYPD
Life-sized Polaroid photograph taken by Joe McNally depicting NYPD 52nd Precinct Detectives Donald Sanchez and Jacqueline Zayas. Both detectives are wearing white Tyvek suits, hard hats, gloves, and yellow rubber boots. They have respirators hanging around their necks; Detective Sanchez holds a rake and Zayas holds a shovel. A bucket is placed between them.
The Fresh Kills facility on Staten Island, a former landfill slated to become park land, reopened on September 12, 2001, to provide an area for investigators to analyze and further search the wreckage of the World Trade Center. During the recovery period, more than one million tons of World Trade Center material were transported by truck and barge to the Fresh Kills Landfill for sorting. While the Fresh Kills operations were run under the aegis of New York City’s Department of Sanitation, its workforce in the aftermath of 9/11 was populated by shifts of FBI and NYPD crime scene experts, mortuary and forensic specialists from the city’s Medical Examiner’s Office, and vetted volunteers supporting their needs.
McNally’s portrait depicts a team of NYPD detectives from the 52nd Precinct, whose officers normally serviced the northern portion of the Bronx. Donald Sanchez and Jacqueline Zayas described their mission to McNally as combing through World Trade Center rubble while looking for items that might help identify victims. Sanchez explained, “You dig for hours, sifting through mounds of mud and twisted metal. It’s so impersonal until you come across a lock of hair, a shredded skirt, or a photo ID. Then the horror screams out at you, and you feel the pain of those lost lives all over again.”