World Trade Center
The original World Trade Center included two 110-story towers at the southern tip of Manhattan constructed in the late 1960s and early 1970s by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, at the insistence of Nelson and David Rockefeller. They were unique in their government ownership for the purpose of leasing to private companies engaging in world trade. Yet few of the tenants were actually trade organizations, and instead the offices were filled mostly with investment banks and large law firms.
The WTC was a government project that was supposed to cost $350 million, but by its completion more than a decade later actually cost at least double that. It lost money through the 1970s and probably never recouped the value of its investment and expenses. It never became fully occupied until the dot-com boom of the 1990s, and it was the internet industry, not world trade, that filled it. Promoted to the public as government-promoted export-import, only five percent of the WTC leases were held by trade service and export-import tenants.
By comparison, the privately developed Sears Tower was built around the same time at a cost of only about $150 million—only one-fifth the cost of the WTC—and took only three years to complete compared to the ten years for the WTC.
1993 Bombing Attack
For a more detailed treatment, see 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
The WTC became a symbol of American capitalism and economic dominance, and therefore a vulnerable target for Islamic terrorists. In 1993, Islamic terrorists detonated a massive truck bomb in an underground parking lot with the goal of knocking the towers over and killing its capacity of 25,000 workers. This attempt failed, killing only a few, but caused smoke and evacuation of the building.
For a more detailed treatment, see September 11, 2001 attacks.
On the morning of September 11, 2001 (9-11), Islamic terrorists hijacked airplanes from Boston and flew one airplane into each tower killing everyone aboard the airplanes and on the floors of the impact. The attacks occurred just before 9 AM, the beginning of the workday for many Manhattan workers, and the towers were therefore not filled to capacity. Many evacuated, but the towers collapsed from the ensuing fire before everyone could escape. 2,749 died in the attack, including hundreds of firefighters who rushed into the buildings in the hope of rescuing trapped workers.
A memorial in honor of the lives lost that day is currently being constructed at Ground Zero and was originally expected to be finished in time for September 11, 2011 (the ten-year anniversary of the attacks). The memorial opened to the public on September 12, 2011 with the accompanying museum opening on May 21, 2014. One World Trade Center, a building complex designed to replace the original towers, was also built on the site. At 1776 feet 1WTC, as it is commonly known, became the tallest building in the United States when it was completed on August 30, 2012. Conversely, as an insult to those who died, there is work on building a Ground Zero Mosque.
- The Cross and The Towers (Documentary Film)