New Midtown mural honors 9/11 firefighter
Photo © 6sqft
The number of first responders who deserve to be honored for their courageous efforts after the September 11th attacks is many, but a new Midtown mural of one particular firefighter serves as a symbolic honor to all of those brave men and women. The Post first reported on the mural by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra, painted on eight-stories of a building on East 49th Street and Third Avenue. The image replicates a photo of FDNY member Mike Bellantoni “overcome with exhaustion and despair” on 9/11, originally taken by Post freelance photographer Matthew McDermott.
Passersby stop to look at the mural on September 11th, 2018. Photo © 6sqft
The mural is painted on the side of a short apartment building that abuts the 49-story office building at 780 Third Avenue. Kobra, who is also behind the current colorful NYC murals of Michael Jackson and Mother Teresa/Gandhi told the Post, “I think this image managed to transmit all of this feeling, because of the position he was in. The lament, the feeling that the firefighter demonstrated.”
And there certainly was a lot of feeling. Now 50-year-old Bellantoni, a Staten Island resident, lost several friends that day, among the 343 firefighters killed. But when the photo started to draw worldwide recognition, he had mixed feelings. “Look, there were so many guys there that day who did more than I did, guys who were on the scene before the towers even fell,” he told the Pueblo Chieftain in 2011. “I didn’t get there until 30 minutes after the second tower went down. When that photo was taken, I was kneeling down to rest a minute because my back was killing me.” He added, “To tell you the truth, I don’t like it because it singles me out for attention and I feel guilty about that.”