World Trade Center (1973–2001)

World Trade Center
World Trade Center, New York City - aerial view (March 2001).jpg
The original complex in March 2001. The tower on the left, with antenna spire, was 1 WTC. The tower on the right was 2 WTC. All seven buildings of the WTC complex are partially visible. The red granite-clad building left of the Twin Towers was the original 7 World Trade Center. In the background is the
Record height
Tallest in the world from 1970 to 1973[I]
Preceded byEmpire State Building
Surpassed byWillis Tower
General information
Architectural styleStructural expressionism
LocationLower Manhattan, New York City
Coordinates40°42′42″N 74°00′45″W / 40°42′42″N 74°00′45″W / 
OwnerPort Authority of New York and New Jersey
Other information
Antenna spire1 WTC: 1,728 feet (526.7 m)
  • 1 WTC: 1,368 feet (417.0 m)
  • 2 WTC: 1,362 feet (415.1 m)
  • 3 WTC: 250 feet (76.2 m)
  • 4 and 5 WTC: 120 feet (36.6 m)
  • 6 WTC: 110 feet (33.5 m)
  • 7 WTC: 610 feet (185.9 m)
Top floor
  • 1 WTC: 1,355 feet (413 m)
  • 2 WTC: 1,348 ft (411 m)
Technical details
Floor count
  • 1 and 2 WTC: 110 floors
  • 3 WTC: 22 floors
  • 4 and 5 WTC: 9 floors
  • 6 WTC: 8 floors
  • 7 WTC: 47 floors
Floor area
  • 1 and 2 WTC: 4,300,000 sq ft (400,000 m2) each
  • 4, 5, and 6 WTC: 500,000 sq ft (50,000 m2) each
  • 7 WTC: 1,868,000 sq ft (170,000 m2)
Lifts/elevators1 and 2 WTC: 99 each
Design and construction
DeveloperPort Authority of New York and New Jersey
EngineerWorthington, Skilling, Helle & Jackson,[2] Leslie E. Robertson Associates
Main contractorTishman Realty & Construction Company
I. ^ World Trade Center at Emporis

The original World Trade Center was a large complex of seven buildings in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. It opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. At the time of their completion, the Twin Towers—the original 1 World Trade Center, at 1,368 feet (417 m); and 2 World Trade Center, at 1,362 feet (415.1 m)—were the tallest buildings in the world. Other buildings in the complex included the Marriott World Trade Center (3 WTC), 4 WTC, 5 WTC, 6 WTC, and 7 WTC. The complex contained 13,400,000 square feet (1,240,000 m2) of office space.

The core of the complex was built between 1966 and 1975, at a cost of $400 million (equivalent to $2.27 billion in 2018).[5] During its existence, the World Trade Center experienced several major incidents, including a fire on February 13, 1975,[6] a bombing on February 26, 1993,[7] and a bank robbery on January 14, 1998.[8] In 1998, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey decided to privatize it by leasing the buildings to a private company to manage. It awarded the lease to Silverstein Properties in July 2001.[9]

On the morning of September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda-affiliated hijackers flew two Boeing 767 jets into the North and South Towers within minutes of each other; two hours later, both towers collapsed. The attacks killed 2,606 people in and within the vicinity of the towers, as well as all 157 on board the two aircraft.[10] Falling debris from the towers, combined with fires that the debris initiated in several surrounding buildings, led to the partial or complete collapse of all the buildings in the complex, and caused catastrophic damage to ten other large structures in the surrounding area.

The cleanup and recovery process at the World Trade Center site took eight months, during which the remains of the other buildings were demolished. A new World Trade Center complex is being built with six new skyscrapers and several other buildings, many of which have already been completed. A memorial and museum to those killed in the attacks, a new rapid transit hub, and an elevated park have been opened. One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at 1,776 feet (541 m), is the lead building for the new complex, and was completed in November 2014.

During its existence, the World Trade Center was one of the major icons of New York City.[11] It had a major role in popular culture and according to one estimate was depicted in 472 films. Following the World Trade Center's destruction, mentions of the complex were altered or deleted, and several dozen "memorial films" were created.[12]

Before the World Trade Center

Radio Row in 1936, with the Cortlandt Street station in the background

The western portion of the World Trade Center site was originally under the Hudson River. The shoreline was in the vicinity of Greenwich Street, which is closer to the site's eastern border. It was on this shoreline, close to the intersection of Greenwich and the former Dey Street, that Dutch explorer Adriaen Block's ship, Tyger, burned to the waterline in November 1613, stranding him and his crew and forcing them to overwinter on the island. They built the first European settlement in Manhattan. The remains of the ship were buried under landfill when the shoreline was extended beginning in 1797 and were discovered during excavation work in 1916. The remains of a second eighteenth century ship were discovered in 2010 during excavation work at the site. The ship, believed to be a Hudson River sloop, was found just south of where the Twin Towers stood, about 20 feet (6.1 m) below the surface.[13]

Later, the area became New York City's Radio Row, which existed from 1921 to 1966. The neighborhood was a warehouse district in what is now Tribeca and the Financial District. Harry Schneck opened City Radio on Cortlandt Street in 1921, and eventually the area held several blocks of electronics stores, with Cortlandt Street as its central axis. The used radios, war surplus electronics (e.g., AN/ARC-5 radios), junk, and parts were often piled so high they would spill out onto the street, attracting collectors and scroungers. According to a business writer, it also was the origin of the electronic component distribution business.[14]

Establishment of World Trade Center

The idea of establishing a World Trade Center in New York City was first proposed in 1943. The New York State Legislature passed a bill authorizing New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey to begin developing plans for the project,[15] but the plans were put on hold in 1949.[16] During the late 1940s and 1950s, economic growth in New York City was concentrated in Midtown Manhattan. To help stimulate urban renewal in Lower Manhattan, David Rockefeller suggested that the Port Authority build a World Trade Center there.[17]

Plans for the use of eminent domain to remove the shops in Radio Row bounded by Vesey, Church, Liberty, and West Streets began in 1961 when the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was deciding to build the world's first world trade center. They had two choices: the east side of Lower Manhattan, near the South Street Seaport; or the west side, near the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad (H&M) station, Hudson Terminal.[18] Initial plans, made public in 1961, identified a site along the East River for the World Trade Center.[19] As a bi-state agency, the Port Authority required approval for new projects from the governors of both New York and New Jersey. New Jersey Governor Robert B. Meyner objected to New York getting a $335 million project.[20] Toward the end of 1961, negotiations with outgoing New Jersey Governor Meyner reached a stalemate.[21]

At the time, ridership on New Jersey's H&M Railroad had declined substantially from a high of 113 million riders in 1927 to 26 million in 1958 after new automobile tunnels and bridges had opened across the Hudson River.[22] In a December 1961 meeting between Port Authority director Austin J. Tobin and newly elected New Jersey Governor Richard J. Hughes, the Port Authority offered to take over the H & M Railroad. They also decided to move the World Trade Center project to the Hudson Terminal building site on the west side of Lower Manhattan, a more convenient location for New Jersey commuters arriving via PATH.[21] With the new location and the Port Authority's acquisition of the H&M Railroad, New Jersey agreed to support the World Trade Center project.[23] As part of the deal, the Port Authority renamed the H&M "Port Authority Trans-Hudson", or PATH for short.[24]

To compensate Radio Row business owners for their displacement, the Port Authority gave each business $3,000, without regard to how long the business had been there or how prosperous it was.[25] The Port Authority began purchasing properties in the area for the World Trade Center by March 1965,[26] and demolition of Radio Row began in March 1966.[27] It was completely demolished by the end of the year.[28]

Approval was also needed from New York City Mayor John Lindsay and the New York City Council. Disagreements with the city centered on tax issues. On August 3, 1966, an agreement was reached whereby the Port Authority would make annual payments to the City in lieu of taxes for the portion of the World Trade Center leased to private tenants.[29] In subsequent years, the payments would rise as the real estate tax rate increased.[30]

Other Languages
Bân-lâm-gú: World Trade Center
𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌹𐍃𐌺: World Trade Center (1973–2001)
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Sṳ-kie Mo-yi Chûng-sîm
Bahasa Indonesia: World Trade Center
Lëtzebuergesch: World Trade Center
Bahasa Melayu: World Trade Center
Napulitano: World Trade Center
Runa Simi: Awacha turrikuna
slovenščina: World Trade Center
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Svjetski trgovački centar
West-Vlams: WTC-toorns
ייִדיש: World Trade Center