Block, Klukas, Manzella & Shell - September 2018

September 2018 815-726-9999 | www.blocklaw.com THEBKMS BULLETIN

The World Trade Center How the Towers Came to Be

On Sept.11, 2001, at 8:46 a.m., American Airlines Flight 11 struck the north tower of the World Trade Center traveling at 470 mph, ripping a hole in the building from floors 93 to 99. At 9:03 a.m., a second plane smashed into the south tower traveling at 590 mph, cutting a gaping hole from floors 75 to 85. Within an hour, the south tower collapsed due to the sheer weight of the building combined with the damage dealt by the impact and the burning jet fuel. At 10:28 a.m., the north tower followed. The rubble and debris from the collapsed towers caused fires and further damage to the surrounding buildings and areas. Within hours, nearly 3,000 people had lost their lives. The attack left the world in a state of terror and grief, and the United States was changed forever. Today, the twin towers’ last day is remembered as the worst terrorist attack in history, but few people know how the buildings became part of New York City’s skyline in the first place. A world trade center pavilion was first hosted during the New York World’s Fair in 1939 — the exhibit was dedicated to the slogan “world peace through trade.” The idea for the World Trade Center was then abandoned after seven years, until David Rockefeller revived the concept to reinvigorate lower Manhattan.

Rockefeller took the reins and continued the project, finding premises near the Fulton Fish Market on the East River, and construction on the $250 million complex began. He also turned to the Port of New York Authority for financial support to ensure the World Trade Center’s completion, and the first real plans for the World Trade Center were put into action. It was then that the Port Authority decided the towers should break the record for the tallest building in the world, beating the 1,250-foot Empire State building. To do this, architect Minoru Yamasaki designed the towers to hold 110 stories each, but they would not have the traditional glass-and-steel- box design used for most skyscrapers at that time. Instead, Yamasaki worked with structural engineers to come up with a revolutionary design that would disperse the weight throughout. The plan included two hollow tubes supported by steel columns spaced closely together and wrapped in aluminum, while floor trusses connected this shell to the tower’s central steel core. Construction of the World Trade Center officially began in February 1967. The north tower was completed in December of 1970, and the south tower was finished in July of 1971, but construction continued for the next two years until the outdoor plaza was

finished. An estimated 10,000 workers labored to build the World Trade Center. The towers had 99 elevators, 43,600 windows, 40,000 doors, and 3,000 miles of electrical wiring, and each building weighed 250,000 tons. They were the tallest buildings in the world until Chicago’s Sears Tower was completed less than a year later. The towers were first attacked in 1993. Down in the basement of the north tower’s parking garage, a 1,200-pound bomb was set off. The attack cost six people their lives, and over 1,000 people were injured. The Port Authority wasted no time in renovating the building; over the next eight years, the company spent $700 million on renovations, including added safety features such as battery- powered stairway lights and a separate emergency command center for each building. The towers remained an iconic part of NYC’s famous skyline for another eight years. Today, the towers are gone, but the peace they once symbolized lives on in the tranquility of Ground Zero, and every man, woman, and child who lost their life on Sept. 11, 2001, is memorialized on the stone monuments and through the annual reading of names. As Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl, said, “If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.”

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