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The events of September 11 affected far more than they should have done. I've seen news clips of thousands of people dying day after day throughout the world and whilst I'm left feeling saddened, angry, and more often than not helpless, I carry on pretty much as before. I knew no-one who lost their life or was even in the World Trade Centre, the Pentagon, or even Pennsylvania that day, but having previously visited all those places the horror was far more real for me than any newsworthy event I'd seen before. New York was the biggest shock for me. The defining buildings of its' southern skyline had gone and it seemed that there was a danger of people upping sticks and leaving the city permanently. I needed to go back and check that New York was still alive and well. Security checks leaving Heathrow were marginally tighter than usual, but the presence of security personnel seemed if anything to be lower key. There was definitely a more nervous edge to passengers, and co-operation with security staff was far less grudging than normal. Arrival at JFK was no more stressful than normal and we joined the immigration queue expecting the normal interrogation to be even more hostile. I was wrong about that. The INS guy I talked to was delighted that so many British and Irish people were planning on spending the New Year in New York, and whizzed us through with a cheery 'happy holidays'. He was however, one of a large number of New Yorkers who expressed fears of another attack, specifically on New Years Eve. New York is different now. There is no getting away from it. As we neared Manhattan New York virgins looked in awe at the skyline, their attention focused on the festively lit Empire State, while others looked quietly downtown, where the skyscrapers blurred into one without the towering towers. Billboards on the bridges onto Manhattan call to New Yorkers to 'rise above' and there are pl
enty of posters attesting to the heroism of the NYPD and NYFD. The TV carried ads encouraging people to seek counseling and ensuring them that it was 'time to feel good again'. The city was always full of Star Spangled Banners flying from stores, businesses, public buildings and apartment blocks, but now they are seen on cars, with every single storefront boasting some sort of US flag, even if it was a pullout copy from the New York Post. The slogan of choice seems to be 'United We Stand', but in a more worrying trend small businesses owned by non-white operators seem compelled to put statements like 'Proud to be American' outside their Chinese laundry or Lebanese restaurant. Whilst US immigrants have always been 'Proud to be American' these hurriedly prepared signs look like they've been put up after others have questioned their patriotism. Perhaps the moment that brought New York's loss into sharpest focus for me was when walking back from an evening out and passing a Fire Station draped in black with photos and potted biographies of two firefighters who had lost their lives framed by the doors. Looking south from the fire house you could just make out the downtown skyline, but with no WTC. Major stores like Bloomingdales and Macys were selling NYPD and NYFD merchandise to raise funds for families. Street hawkers were selling similar merchandise to make a quick buck. More tastelessly souvenirs such as snowdomes of the NYC skyline with fire trucks stuck to the outside and postcards of the devastation were selling well. We'd thought long and hard about visiting 'Ground Zero'. In some ways I wanted to just see it for real, to put the streaming video from September 11 out of my mind, but in so many other ways I really didn't want to go stand by a mass grave and take photos. There is now a viewing platform, allowing people to get up close and personal for twenty minutes
at a time. Plenty of time on a tourist schedule, but rather limiting for people dealing with real grief. The most disturbing element of the Ground Zero viewing area is that the neighbourhood has its? own street hawkers selling some fairly tasteless tat, alongside woolly hats emblazoned 'Ground Zero WTC NYC 91101'. There were people wearing them. As a New York visitor I wanted to pull off their hats and slap them around a bit, so quite what it is like for people who lost family and friends, or who survived the attacks, to see happy holiday makers in the black beanies I can't begin to imagine. Having ventured downtown none of us had the stomach to visit Ground Zero, particularly as news reports were emerging that recovery workers had found a small pocket of people with worn away finger tips, suggesting that they had survived for hours if not days in the underground mall. Instead we took a trip on the Circle Line ferry out to Liberty and Ellis Islands to get acquainted with the new skyline. There is no getting away from the fact that the attack has made New York look a little smaller, less bold, but that is certainly not reflected in the spirit of the place. Sailing past WTC the cranes can be seen as work goes on pretty much 24/7. The remaining buildings of the WTC are covered in giant black shrouds, not in morning, but to prevent falling glass, steel and masonry from falling onto workers below. The largest surviving building is adorned with the biggest Old Glory I've ever seen, shining bright against the black background in typically American pride and defiance. The Statue of Liberty still welcomes people into New York harbour. America still welcomes people from all directions. Having been back to downtown Manhattan, and New York in general I've been able to get a better perspective on September 11. I love New York more than ever.
It surprised me how the Twin towers of the World Trade Center has affected the lives of so many people around the world. It seems we all know someone who worked, visited or knew someone there. My parents next door neighbors had relatives who worked there, they had been up the top as well on a visit to New York. A customer of mine had a friend killed in the tragedy. Someone who went to the school down the road, was also killed in the tragic event last month. Without realising it, the twin towers were always a part of my consciousness. Whenever I looked at photos of New York, there they were. Sometimes noticed, but, quite often not. Referred often by the media as a great monument to human ingenuity and resourcefulness, and a coming together of all nationalities, ....I never really took a great deal of notice. They just seemed to go on living day after day, huge pillars of power and prosperity. Little did I know, or any of us know, that they were only temporary and would never live a fraction of their natural life span. I wished I had observed them more, now. We'll never see them again. Something will be rebuilt there, but, the Twin towers that were there, are now only memories. The ideals that they stood for, are still burning in the hearts of many, and this will probably mean that what's built in it's place will hold the same, but, probably more significance than ever.
The World Trade Center represented America's strengths, centred around a gargantuan pair of monoliths on the southernmost tip of Manhattan Island, and erected to the power and wealth of the country. The complex of buildings in New York City's financial district were a powerhouse of commerce, and an immediately-recognisable landmark known throughout the world. It is difficult to believe that the towers are no longer standing. For anyone who hadn't visited New York City before September 2001, it's difficult to actually conceive of the scale of the twin towers, and the size of the area the buildings occupied. The tragic images we witnessed on television on the 11th September 2001 did little to convey the extent of the damage that the crashes had, or the effect that they would have had on the lives and minds of New Yorkers. In this opinion, I want to describe my own experiences of visiting the complex over the last few years, and to try to convey the sheer size of the buildings and the significance that they had for both America and the Western world. I will describe complex itself, and why the towers were such a target for America's enemies. It is inevitably difficult to write an opinion such as this, following the events of the 11th September 2001, and I hope that you will allow for a more personal account than you would normally expect from me. With the advent of the Internet, we have all made friends throughout the world, and I am sure that many people reading this either have friends, or friends of friends, who were directly affected by the disaster in some way. My heart and mind has been with those who have been affected by the terrorist attacks on America for the past few days, and I'm sure I'm not alone in extending my sympathies to the victims and the bereaved. THE COMPLEX There were seven buildings in the World Trade Center complex, including the two twin towers. The twin towers, often re
ferred to as the North (One) and South (Two) towers, were both one hundred and ten stories tall. For a short period in 1972, after completion of the first tower, it was the tallest building in the world. The North tower was over 50% taller than Britain's tallest building - Canary Wharf in London. Each of the twin towers contained some 99 lifts, with two sky lobbies on the 44th and 78th storeys, allowing rapid access to each floor from ground level. Each of the towers included some 406,000 square metres of rentable office space. The express lifts from the ground floor lobby of the South Tower would ferry tourists the 107 floors up to the observation deck in under a minute. At the top of the North Tower could be found the Windows on the World restaurant, offering stunningly expensive food and incomparable views over lower Manhattan and beyond. On a typical day as many as 50,000 people would have been working in the twin towers, and many thousand more tourists would have taken the rapid elevator trip from the lobby up to the observation deck in the South Tower each day. The third building in the World Trade Center complex was the Marriott Hotel. Four World Trade Center was the home of the United States Commodity Exchange, visitors could look down on the trading floor from a viewing gallery. Five and Six World Trade Center were office buildings, and Seven World Trade Centre - the Salomon Smith Barney building - was the administrative centre of the Center, and the location of the New York Crisis Center, built to deal with hurricanes and terrorist attacks on the city. Beneath the World Trade Center complex was a six floor basement, housing a garage with space for 1,800 cars. There was also a large shopping mall beneath the complex, and a Subway station serving the C and E lines, though you could walk through underground tunnels to stations on the 2, 3 and A lines. The PATH subway system connecting Hoboken and Newark in New Jersey wi
th Manhattan also left from the World Trade Center. RECOLLECTIONS OF THE CENTER I first visited New York in September 1999, and took the tourist lift to the top of the South Tower with a couple of friends. It took under a minute for the lift to cover the 107 floors up to the observation deck, and the inevitable changes in air pressure associated with travelling such a long distance, straight up, in such a short period of time meant our ears all popped en route. However, the view from the observation deck more than made up for this minor discomfort. We exited the lift, and were immediately presented with the tall windows of the south face of the tower, and looked out upon Liberty and Ellis Island, and beyond to Staten Island. The tops of the towers were partially shrouded in clouds that day, so the view was not as clear as it could have been, but nonetheless, it was awesome. As you walked around the observation deck, you could look down upon Manhattan spread out beneath you like a model village. To the North, you could look along West Broadway towards Midtown and beyond. To the East, you could look across the East River beyond the Brooklyn Bridge towards the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. To the West, you could see the New Jersey coast beyond the Hudson River, and look into the North Tower. Because of the cloud cover, the rooftop viewing deck was closed when I went up the tower. The roof would otherwise have been accessible up a short escalator, allowing visitors to literally stand on top of the world. I never had the opportunity to stand on the roof, however, a friend of mine who has tells me that standing upon the roof, you could actually feel the building sway slightly in response to the wind blowing around it. At the top of the tower were a couple of gift shops, selling the usual collection of little plastic souvenirs. There was also a brief helicopter simulator, showing a simulation of a flight over Manhattan around
the World Trade Center. In the basement of the World Trade Center was a large, spacious, and scrupulously clean shopping mall, with numerous cafés serving the workers and tourists visiting the complex. There were also several souvenir shops, as well as large branches of Sam Goody and Borders. The subway station beneath the complex was a spectacularly complicated rabbit warren of passages connecting the various lines, with some confusingly ambiguous signposts. The plaza around which the buildings of the World Trade Center were arranged was larger than St. Mark's Square in Venice, and was loosely designed along similar principles. As you walked around the plaza, the temptation to look up at the twin towers was difficult to resist, their dizzying height dwarfing all of the buildings in the immediate area in a way that no photograph could ever do justice to. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOWERS The location and design of the towers was such that they dominated the skyline of South Manhattan, and dwarfed the other buildings in the financial district of the city. For these reasons, the building was an attractive one for many financial firms looking to establish a strong presence in the city. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter occupied some 25 storeys of the South Tower, Lehman Brothers and the First Union National Bank both had major headquarters in the North Tower. The towers' height and financial significance inevitably made them a target for terrorism from those with a grudge to bear either against the United States in particular, or the Western economy in general. In February 1993, a bomb exploded in the enormous car park beneath the centre, killing six people and injuring over a thousand more. This attack was attributed to Islamic fundamentalist Osama Bin Laden, which is one of the reasons why the finger of blame was so quickly pointed at him following the September 2001 attack on the towers. But the towers were more than
mere symbolism - they were also a place of work for around 50,000 people, many of whom would have been either in the building, or on their way to it at the time of the attack that brought the towers down. It was all too easy, on the day of the attack, to forget the numbers of lives that were threatened or indeed lost - and it is only in the following days that the world watched in horror as the true extent of the disaster became clear. However large the ultimate death toll of the attack on the World Trade Center, as New York Mayor Rudolph Guiliani has said, "it will be more than any of us can bear". THE ATTACK Like so many tragic events in recent history, everyone will remember where they were when they heard the news of the events in New York on the 11th September 2001. I myself was watching television at home, relaxing after having handed in my Ph.D. thesis, when suddenly the news came on that a plane had collided with the North Tower of the World Trade Center. It must have been around 2pm our time, 9am in New York - the middle of the rush hour there. As I sat watching in disbelief, I watched as a second plane wheeled around in the sky to collide with the South Tower. Over the next hour I watched dumbfounded as the news of a third plane's collision with the Pentagon in Washington came in, and then news of a fourth plane crashing near Pittsburgh. Then, the unthinkable happened - the two towers collapsed. First the South Tower, then the North. Millions of others watched those same images, witnessed the same events live. These were some of the most harrowing images ever to be shown on live television - the scenes of the two jets colliding with the towers, the images of workers trapped in the building desperately waving for help from the windows, and the towers' collapse. THE FUTURE It's difficult to know what the future is for the New York skyline. There were calls for the reconstruction of t
he World Trade Center as it was before, just a few days after the attack, as a show of defiance against the terrorists responsible. However, the World Trade Center towers took some ten years to construct, and it is unlikely that the city will want to spend so long on its recovery. As increasing numbers of companies and people want to move into cities, there are only three options - build up, build down or expand outwards. With the network of tunnels and pipes that exist under Manhattan, and with so little empty space in and around the borough, it is likely that there will be substantial pressure to build a new office tower on the site. However, it is unlikely that such a proposal would be approved without the presence of a fitting memorial to those who lost their lives. CONCLUSIONS The World Trade Center was a symbol of the wealth and prosperity of the United States. Its two quarter-mile-high towers were a powerful icon on the Manhattan skyline, dwarfing even the many skyscrapers of the borough. Unfortunately, the conspicuousness and the symbolism of the towers made them a target for terrorist action against the country, though no one could ever have anticipated the nature and scale of the attack upon them. As a tourist attraction, the World Trade Center was, for almost thirty years, an essential part of a visit to the city, offering incomparable views out over Manhattan Island and the surrounding boroughs. As a place of work, the World Trade Center represented some of the most expensive real estate in the world, in one of the most important locations of the world. It is no surprise that Western leaders have interpreted the attack upon it as a declaration of war against America and democracy. Let us not forget the lives of those who died on the 11th September 2001. If you want to support the relief efforts in New York City, then make a donation to the American Red Cross through amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com
Construction, of the World Trade Center began in 1966 and cost an estimated $1.5 billion. One World Trade Center was partially completed in late 1970. Completion of the upper stories were done by 1972. Two World Trade Center was finished in 1973. When these two towers were completed, One World Trade Center stood at 1,368 feet and Two World Trade Center stood at 1,362 feet. Each tower consisted of 110 stories and at the time they were the world’s tallest buildings. The Sears Tower surpassed them both in 1974. The World Trade Center were more than just the twin towers. It consists of a complex of seven buildings and was situated on 16-acres, constructed and operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The Architect selected to design the project was Minoru Yamasaki project. The architect company Emery Roth & Sons handled production work and the firm of Worthington, Skilling, Helle and Jackson served as engineers. The Port Authority envisioned a project with a total of 10 million square feet of office space. To achieve this, Yamasaki considered more than a hundred different building configurations before settling on the concept of twin towers and three lower-rise structures. Designed to be very tall to maximize the area of the plaza, the towers were initially to rise to only 80-90 stories. Only later was it decided to construct them as the world's tallest buildings, following a suggestion said to have originated with the Port Authority's public relations staff. Yamasaki and engineers John Skilling and Les Robertson worked closely, and the relationship between the towers’ design and structure is clear. Faced with the difficulties of building to unprecedented heights, the engineers employed an innovative structural model: a rigid "hollow tube" of closely spaced steel columns with floor trusses extending across to a central core. The columns, finishe
d with a silver-colored aluminum alloy, were 18 3/4" wide and set only 22" apart, making the towers appear from afar to have no windows at all. Some fascinating facts are: 1) More than 1.2 million cubic yards of earth and rock were excavated to make way for the World Trade Center. The excavated material was placed in the Hudson River to create 23.5 acres of new land deeded to the City of New York. This landfill area is now Battery Park City. 2) More than 200,000 tons of steel was used in the World Trade Center's construction. 3) At peak periods of construction, some 3,500 workers were on the site daily. 4) There were 43,600 windows in the Twin Towers with over 600,000 square feet of glass window area cleaned by automatic window washing machines traveling on stainless steel tracks. 5) With 60,000 tons of cooling capacity, the World Trade Center's refrigeration plant was the largest in the world. 6) The 360-foot television mast atop One World Trade Center supports 10 main television antennas, numerous auxiliary antennas and a master FM antenna. Transmissions from the mast began in June, 1980. Ten television stations in the metropolitan area, including all the major networks, used to broadcast from the mast. In addition, six stations broadcast high-definition, digital television from the World Trade Center. 7) The Tower's skylobby elevator systems separate express from local runs. There were 239 elevators and 71 escalators in the four buildings operated by the Port Authority at the complex. The sky lobby express elevators were capable of carrying 55 people, a 10,000 pound capacity. Express elevators can travel at speeds of up to 27 feet per second. Various notable works of art were on display at the World Trade Center. These included works by Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson, Joan Miro, Fritz Koenig, James Rosait and Masyuki Nagare. The World Trade
Center housed offices of hundreds of different companies from around the world and was truly a "World Center" as the name implied. There was a variety of dining choices at the World Trade Center including fast food and full service restaurants. The famous Windows on the World restaurant, with its spectacular view from the 107th floor of One World Center, offerred an exceptional dining experience. The World Trade Center was an important landmark for tourists. The view from the top of the buildings was absolutely breath taking especially on a clear day. The architecture and sheer size of these buildings was an awesome site indeed. Visitors to the World Trade Center were thought to exceed 200,000 per day. This included those visiting on business aswell as pleasure. It is my hope that these buildings are re-constructed in exactly the way. Partly as a mark of respect and as a demonstration of America’s true sense and character. Some possible changes could be made to make it more resilient to the attacks that left its predecessors in ruins. Long lives the memory of the World Trade Center. I pray that I will see these magnificent structures, yet again in my lifetime, occupying the New York skyline with all their pomp and glory. NOTE: THE INFORMATION RELATED TO THE FACTS, FIGURES ETC WERE OBTAINED FROM A NUMBER OF WEBSITES RELATED TO THE WTC.
King Kong climbed the Twin Towers in the cheesy 70s remake of the original monster movie - perhaps he was an annoyed investor on Wall Street, situated quite close to the World Trade Centre. If you are a tourist in Manhattan, you will almost certainly be in the vicinity of the Twin Towers anyway, as the ferries to Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty leave from this area. While you are here, visit the Twin Towers. The view from the top is spectacular, with a perfect vantage point to look at the cluster of glorious Midtown skyscrapers (Empire State, Chrysler Building, Rockerfeller centre) all lined up together. The view isn't quite as stirring as that from the Empire State, because you aren't as close to other tall buildings. However, you aren't force to peer through railings - here you really can wander around on the top of the building. Don't miss this: it's one of the most exhilarating experiences New York has to offer.
'On Top Of The World' you really are when you take the speedy ride upto the top of the World Trade Centre. Not only do you get the delights of experiencing the splendid views of Manhattan, and as it seems the rest of New York State, but on a clear day you can actually see the curve of the world. With a shop and resturant on the top after you've marvelled at the amazing views you can sit back, relax and take it all in. It will be an experience you won't forget in a hurry!
Having heard wonderful things about this restaurant from friends, we booked a table for sunday brunch before we left for New York. It was pretty expensive and we had been told you had to dress quite smartly and that jackets were a must for men. So after a bit of sightseeing in the morning we went to the World Trade Centre, my brother moaning about the fact that he had had t carry his jacket around all day (it was about 95 degrees). When we got there about 3/4 of the men had jackets and ties but the rest didn't and hadn't been turned away which annoyed us somewhat. The view was nice, but if your not on a table right next to the window then you don't really get the full benefit and to be honest might as well be in any other nice restaurant. They do have raised levels so that everyone can at least see out but its not the same when you have to look over the whole restuarant to see out. The food was nice, better than average but probably still not worth the cost of it.
Since I first wrote this, my husband began working in the WTC. He stopped working there on 11/09/01. This was one of my first ever dooyoo opinions, and brought me my first dooyoo crown. Never did I imagine that I'd be updating it because the twin towers had fallen. Never did I imagine that our family would have been so traumatised by terrible events at the WTC. They seemed invincible. My husband lived in the WTC vicinity. Every day we would walk through the WTC mall to the WTC subway or just through to Broadway and the shops the other side of the WTC. So many times my husband would tell me how the towers had been built to withstand attack - how they had stood strong and tall after the bombing in 93, and how they would continue to stand strong and tall - we imagined forever. Others have written about the facts and figures - I leave that to them. For us, the WTC was a huge and important part of our lives. Just tonight I've spent time searching for the photos we took in that area. Photos of the kids and myself at the top of the Trade Center, photos of friends with us there and photos of my favourite view in the entire world which was the one from the top looking out to sea. There were even photos of the kids sneaking onto the marble fountain in the Trade Center Plaza which was so closely policed during the day, but which they climbed onto one night when we were walking home late after watching a Yankees game. I remember the delight and triumph the moment that photo was taken. They'd achieved the impossible and conquered the forbidden fountain! Almost every day we walked through the walkways which hang uselessly now. My sons and I sat so very many times and ate our breakfast of bagels and doughnuts in the Plaza between the towers after their dad had gone to work, enjoying the New York sunshine and savouring these moments of happiness which have always remained special. We have had our
own traumas in the past week, but as we grieve for the people and feel for the families who have suffered losses as we almost did, we also grieve for the buildings and for the beauty they lent Manhattan. We grieve for the Plaza with its fountain and flowers and for the towers soaring skywards and their power and apparent strength. The jacket I'm wearing I bought in the GAP store in the TRade Center Mall. The stars glowing on the kids ceilings came from the Discovery Store in there. The CD on my player came from the WTC Borders store.We spent hours wandering the mall, and wherever we'd been in New York, walking through the Trade Center was a sign we were almost home. I can hardly believe they're gone. My husband is homeless and part of our lives which seemed beautiful and permanent has gone forever. We watch the scenes of the wreckage and cry. I find it hard to leave my original opinion in place after the events of the past week, but I will. That was the TRade Center as we knew and loved it. It will forever have a place in our memories and in our hearts. We will never forget New York before the 11th Sept 2001 and we will never forget the events of that dreadful day. How can you imagine people hurling themselves to inevitable death to avoid a more painful but equally inevitable death in the place you have spent so many happy hours? I've seen the WTC filled with orchids. The perfume was spellbinding. I'm not sure my mind can comprehend the horror of what was to happen just a week ago. My memories are of life, strength and beauty in the very place which is now filled with death and despair. Enough. I leave you with the original opinion. It was my favourite place. This is an absolute *must* for a visit to NYC.......some people feel that the Empire State Building is *it*, but for us, the World Trade Center has to be one of the most memorable experiences in the city. The view is nothing le
ss than totally awesome - gaze out across Manhattan, New Jersey and New York, the East and Hudson Rivers, with the Statue of Liberty and out to the ocean with all the ships......it's quite literally like being on top of the world and maybe the only place you'll look *down* on planes flying ! Apparently on a *very* clear day you can see the curvature of the earth....... Entry is not particularly cheap, but it is worth every last dime. There are places to eat with a reasonable selection,but predictably overpriced, on the lower deck where all the famous sights are marked. For eating more cheaply I'd recommend going up the WTC early morning (but only if it's a clear day) and lunching outside by the fountain sculpture in the World Trade Center Plaza. Just don't put your hands in the fountain, I've never known such paranoid security gurards, whose sole function in life seems to be preventing people touching the water! There is a Krispy Kreme donut seller nearby which also sells bagels and a Starbucks across the road......and more places to eat in the Financial Center Mall. I recommend going early because otherwise the queues are dreadful. There is, in addition, a half price ticket booth in the WTC selling cheap show tickets etc. Quite a different experience can be had by going up in the late afternoon and waiting to see the sun set and Manhattan illuminate.....truly stunning. I'd do this again and again, as would my kids.