PATERSON, NJ- With last week’s 17th commemoration of the September 11 terrorist attacks quickly becoming a memory, one Paterson business continues to maintain a reminder of the day when nearly 3,000 Americans went to work in the Twin Towers and never returned home.

For Mario Tommolillo, long time owner of Classic Auto Body, the desire to memorialize the lives lost on that tragic day was a choice between making a financial donation or doing something “more permanent.”

Before the first anniversary of the attacks came, the entire side of Tommolillo’s building had been transformed into a full color mural, designed and created by local artist Paws, that depicts the events of the unforgettable day, and perhaps more importantly, the solidarity that came to be in the hours, days, and weeks that followed.

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Like Tommolillo, Paws, who had only just moved to Paterson when the attacks took place, wanted to create a mural to make sure that “no one would ever forget about that day.”

Like much his work, and all art, Paws told TAPinto Paterson, the meaning of a piece is in the eyes of the beholder. This particular project,  which took him two weeks to create with dozens of cans of spray paint, he continued, is meant to “raise consciousness” and help those that see it understand “why we do what we do.”

“How can we make the world a better place, and protect ourselves from evil,” Paws hopes viewers will ask themselves.

Tommolillo admitted that he was a little bit skeptical when Paws first climbed the ladder and started marking the, until them, yellowish wall with gray spray paint, a concern that quickly dissipated as the artist’s vision came life in a variety of colors. All he wanted, he said of his desire to commission the work, was a piece that gave attention to first responders, and depicted the hands of God.

And, with nearly a dozen police and firefighters, and several more members of the community paying their respects to the lost lives at the site of the mural on September 11, both were evident.


Classic Auto Body is an advertiser with TAPinto Paterson, and is located at 33 Beckwith Avenue.