The Man Behind the Camera
Somehow, most of the pictures from that last weekend are of Brianna Reynolds at the Bronx Zoo, coasting above the trees on the safari ride, or back in her grandparents' apartment in Inwood for her fourth- birthday cake. Her father, Bruce Reynolds, must have stayed on the business side of the camera.
That weekend, Brianna and her baby brother, Michael, played in the rooms where their father had grown up, a city kid in a sixth-floor apartment in northern Manhattan who loved nature. A bird cage ran from the floor to the ceiling. Down the street was the garden in Isham Park that Officer Reynolds's parents, J. A. and Geri Reynolds, had cultivated, and where Bruce, their only son, planted cherry plum trees.
When Bruce Reynolds met Marian McBride, they settled in Knowlton, N.J., not far from the Delaware Water Gap. There, they could fish, grow vegetables, swim in their own pool.
It was a long ride for Officer Reynolds, 41, to the George Washington Bridge and his work as a Port Authority police officer, but he was undaunted by big journeys. "They often went to Donegal in Ireland, where Marian is from," said his father. "Bruce loved it there. That gave me joy."
His father has planted bulbs at the garden in his son's memory, and the Port Authority has promised a flagpole. "Maybe they'll raise it in the spring," Mr. Reynolds said. "When the daffodils bloom."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 31, 2001.
Bruce Reynolds, 41, there to help others
While most teenage boys were playing hoops or hanging out at the mall, Bruce Reynolds spent many of his adolescent days diligently tending to his neighborhood garden.
People who lived in the Inwood section of Manhattan called it "Bruce's Garden" and watched the spectacular array of roses, evergreens, lilies, mums and violets sprout annually from the rich soil.
For Mr. Reynolds, the garden offered serenity and tranquillity -- an appreciation he inherited from his father, J.A. Reynolds.
One day, when he was 12, Mr. Reynolds surprised his parents by announcing he wanted to be a police officer. That dream crystallized on June 23, 1986, when he joined the Port Authority Police.
On the morning of Sept. 11, Mr. Reynolds reported for his regular shift at the George Washington Bridge when the Twin Towers were first hit. Mr. Reynolds and other Port Authority officers were sent to the scene. A fellow officer, out of concern for Mr. Reynolds' respiratory problems, told him to stay outside. But Mr. Reynolds was last seen rushing in, determined to help people make it out of Two World Trade Center.
The 41-year-old Knowlton resident leaves behind two young children, Brianna, 4, and Michael, 1.
"He was a good cop. Everything he did was always the right thing," said officer George Hickmann, who was Mr. Reynolds partner for 16 years. "If you could exemplify the qualities you'd want in a police officer, he was it."
Mr. Reynolds loved to fish, take trips to Ireland and of course, garden. Two weeks ago, he returned from another trip to Donegal, his wife's hometown, where he had become a local celebrity.
"Even though we lived there all of our lives, people stop and have a conversation with Bruce when we went to all the shops," said brother-in-law Michael McBride.
Mr. Reynolds had a deep appreciation of Irish culture and believed it was important for his two children to connect with their Irish roots. He recently sent Brianna to Ireland for seven weeks to stay with relatives, and she returned with an Irish brogue.
"He had a great love for the Irish people, and they returned it," said J.A. Reynolds, his dad.
The senior Reynolds said he was planning on talking to his son about how he should manage his finances as he entered the twilight of his life.
They never had that talk.
"He was so important to me and my wife," J.A. Reynolds said. "I had so much to look forward to with my son."
In addition to his father and two children, Mr. Reynolds is survived by wife, Marian; and mother Geraldine W. Reynolds.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Knowlton Fire Department and Rescue, P.O. Box 231, Delaware, N.J. 07833.
Profile by Katie Wang published in THE STAR-LEDGER.