A Towering Tribute

Published: September 10, 2021

Queensborough Community College remembers 9/11 

Close to one hundred Queensborough Community College students, faculty, staff, and members of the surrounding community joined today to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and view a new exhibit of more than 80 Ground Zero photographs taken by former Queensborough Community College student and retired FDNY Forensic Photographer Chris Landano. 

“My job was to get as close as possible on that frightful day and in the days that followed,” Landano said, talking to visitors as they studied his exhibit, A Tribute: 2001-2021, hosted by the QCC Art Gallery. 

Landano’s images, taken from all perspectives, including from a NASA helicopter that hovered above the rescue and recovery operations captured the scale of the destruction and the exhaustion of first responders. Among these images is the destruction of the Winter Garden Atrium (pictured).   

 9/11 Winter Garden Atrium by Chris Landano

“Chris was born and raised in Queens and survived cancer connected to his exposure at the site. Thank you, Chris, for your bravery and determination to take these haunting images,” said Queensborough President Dr. Christine Mangino. 

Joined by New York State Senator John Liu and Assembly Members David Weprin and Ed Braunstein as well as the Office of Council Member Barry Grodenchik, Landano provided an emotional insight into his eyewitness experiences. 

“I was photographing the scene and all of the heroes working down at the site. Lots of the images I was capturing made me feel like I was nowhere in New York City. It looked and felt like an absolute war zone.” 

“Chris was able to capture images of people who did not think of their own safety but only the wellbeing of others. That is what I remember and treasure most,” said Senator Liu. 

“This memorial is incredible. 9/11 showed the worst of humanity, but it also brought out the best of humanity as we can see,” said Assemblymember Weprin. 

“9/11 reminds us that we must always stand together, and never forget,” said Assemblymember Braunstein. Landano said Queensborough enabled him to succeed.  

“Everything I learned from my art and photography professors at Queensborough was used to capture the images of the rescue and recovery operations following the September 11, 2001, attacks,” said Landano, a life-long Queens, New York resident, and cancer survivor related to his exposure at Ground Zero. The Tribute installation is accompanied by a student-curated exhibit of archival photographs and images of artifacts from the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s permanent collection.   

“This exhibit is very much about never forgetting and always remembering. Remembering that ‘community is who we are; remembering our call to serve one another and to lift each other up in times of need, and to be towers of strength,” added Dr. Mangino. 

Following the launch of the exhibits, Queensborough initiated a Day of Giving and service to the community in response to a current crisis – Tropical Storm Ida, which destroyed parts of Queens and devastated many of the College’s students, faculty, and staff. 

The QCC Cares Food Pantry distributed non-perishable food, household items such as cleaning supplies, school supplies, personal hygiene products, and new or gently used clothing to students, faculty, and staff in need. In addition, the College’s Advocacy Resource Center and Office of Financial Services were on-site to help connect students in crisis with financial and other resources.  

The exhibits are currently on display only to the Queensborough campus community, due to COVD-19 restrictions.  The public can learn more about Chris Landano and access images from A Tribute at the QCC Gallery’s website.


Retired FDNY Forensic Photographer speaks with Queensborough’s Debra Maslanko.

Retired FDNY Forensic Photographer speaks with Queensborough’s Debra Maslanko. 

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NYS Assemblymember David Weprin, NYS Senator John Liu, Queensborough Community College President Dr. Christine Mangino, NYS Assemblymember Ed Braunstein, Mr. Faustino Quintanilla (Executive Director of the QCC Art Gallery) and Ms. Irene Cheung, Director of Operations for NYC Councilmember Barry Grodenchik at the QCC Art Gallery on September 10, 2021. 

Queensborough Community College President Dr. Christine Mangino welcomes guests to the Qcc Art Gallery

Queensborough Community College President Dr. Christine Mangino welcomes guests to the Qcc Art Gallery.

 Queensborough’s Mike Donahue, Dr. Arthur Corradetti, and Dr. Christine Mangino view Chris Landano’s images.

Queensborough’s Mike Donahue, Dr. Arthur Corradetti, and Dr. Christine Mangino view Chris Landano’s images.


Contact:  Michael Donahue or Alice Doyle

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