Thursday, September 10, 2015

A brief look back at the World Trade Center - Where were you?

14 years ago, the whole world stood still and watched as two relatively young (just under 30 years old) towering office buildings were destroyed. To this day, I think it's pretty safe to assume that every one of you can remember exactly where you were - and what you were doing when it happened.

Tuesday, 9/11/2001  -  8:46 a.m.

First, let me tell you where I was...

I was living in Cleveland at the time - and ironically, I was packing for a flight to Chicago the following day (Wednesday) for a trade show.  My boss was to arrive in Chicago that Tuesday, and I later found out that he was actually IN THE AIR when the first plane struck.  Of course, all flights were cancelled for a number of days.  I ended up driving the 6 hours to Chicago.  The Trade Show was being held at the Merchandise Mart, and security at the building was tight.  The Twin Towers, The Pentagon, the foiled attempt at the White House, etc. - The Merchandise Mart was (is) an iconic building in Chicago.  When it opened in 1930, it was the largest building in the world, with 4 million square feet of floor space.  At that time, no one had any idea of how many attacks had been planned - nor how the terrorists chose the targets. Speculation at the time was that the Merchandise Mart may have have been one (in a very long list) of potential targets.  It was (needless to say) a very dismal trade show. But I'm getting off track here, sorry.

That day certainly changed the world.  Yesterday, I asked my [12-year-old] daughter what she knew about the [14-year-old] event.  She quickly rattled off a number of facts about 9/11 and then it hit me. They're teaching it in History classes now.  How's that for surreal?

Anyway, I've been meaning to put this together for a while now (for many years, in fact) - sort of a memorial or tribute. Not like one of those 2-hour TV specials (who has the time), but just something short, thought provoking, interesting and possibly different than everything else you might be seeing in your social newsfeed today. So here goes.

Here's some history and other interesting facts that I've gathered* (that you may or may not already know about The World Trade Center)

  • The idea for establishing a World Trade Center in New York was first proposed in 1943, but plans were put on hold until 1949.
  • The final location (then known as Radio Row) had not been decided upon until 1961.
  • Business owners on Radio Row were each given $3,000 for displacement, regardless of how long they had been there - or how profitable their business was.
  • The Port Authority spent nearly a year acquiring the property for the project.
  • Demolition of 13 square blocks of existing buildings took a little more than 4 months.
  • Groundbreaking for the twin towers was in the Summer of 1966. It took over a year-and-a-half just to prepare the foundation, before actual construction could begin on the first tower, two years later in August of 1968 - and then another 5 months later for the second tower.
  • The first (North) tower was completed in 1972, and the second (South) tower in 1973.
  • Tenants started moving into both towers more than a full year prior to their respective completion.
  • World Trade Center was not rented out at full capacity until after 1979.
  • The project was originally estimated to cost $350 million. Late in 1966, The Port Authority announced that it would be closer to $575 million.  Critics at the time (including The New York Times) argued that these figures were still way too low, and claimed that $750 million was a more realistic estimate. Once completed, total costs to The Port Authority had reached $900 million.
  • The architect's original plan only called for 80 floors, but it was changed to 110 floors to meet The Port Authorities minimum requirement of 10 million square feet of office space.
  • The narrow windows were due in part to the architect's own fear of heights, as well as to make occupants feel more secure.
  • Both buildings were designed to support a tall rooftop communication antenna. But only the North Tower ended of getting an antenna fitted (and that wasn't until 1978).
  • The World Trade Center had a total of 95 elevators
  • In 1974, Philippe Petit walked between the towers on a tightrope (the steel cable between the towers was set with a bow and arrow). He actually did it a total of eight times.
  • The complete complex (including building 7, which was added in the 80's) occupied 16 acres of land.

That's all I have for now - thanks for joining me.  I may come back and edit this post at a later date (although it might not be until next September).  Feel free to page-mark it, post it, tweet it, or whatever it is you do with random and interesting stuff (which for me, usually means just being able to know where I can go back and find it again at a later date if I want to).

Here's a brochure/advertisement that I found
(printed sometime in the early 80's)


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