Wednesday, September 8, 2021

The Giant Twin Ghosts of Manhattan


Building the World Trade Center

Minoru Yamasaki, the designer of the Twin Towers with a model of the World Trade Center in 1964.

Excavating the foundations and basements, 1968.

Construction of the World Trade Center destroyed whole neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan.  Among them were "Radio Row," an old block of radio and television repair shops who fought the eminent domain orders tenaciously in court, and an old Syrian and Greek neighborhood.  What was then a tenement church of St. Nicholas was the sole survivor standing alone in a vast WTC parking lot.  The 9/11 attacks destroyed the original church along with the rest of the WTC.  Now St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church returns as a cathedral-scale structure designed by Santiago Calatrava.

The Twin Towers under construction about 1971.

Philppe Petit, August 7, 1975 photographed by James Moore.

Probably the happiest moment in the short history of the Twin Towers.


Philippe Petit's signature on a railing on top of the South Tower of the old WTC.  I remember seeing it on my one and only trip to the top in 1992.  Photo by Brian Rose.

Windows on the World

I never dined or had drinks at Windows on the World, but I certainly heard about it.  Now it's an object of very sad nostalgia for a lot of New Yorkers.

The old World Trade Center Borders Store

#5 World Trade Center with Borders Books on the ground floor.

The WTC Borders.

Inside the WTC Borders 

Former colleagues at the WTC Borders in the break room.  I'm still in contact with 4 out of the 6 people in this photo from about 1997.

Me at the WTC Borders, about 1997.

My old badge.

The WTC Borders on September 11, 2001.  

The store suffered relatively minimal damage and was used as an escape corridor during the attacks.  People exited through the store to escape falling debris.
By the time of the attacks, it had been 2 years since I left Borders.  There were still about 2 or 3 of the original opening crew that I knew still working there when the attack happened.  All escaped unscathed.

The End

Art Spiegelman's great New Yorker cover for September 11, 2001

Photograph of the WTC ruins by Andrea Booher, a photographer working for FEMA.

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