World Trade Center & Ground Zero

The World Trade Center was located in the heart of New York City’s Financial District. The main symbol of the World Trade Center was the twin towers. At one time the 110-story steel and glass twin towers, measuring 1,350 feet high, were the tallest buildings in the world and were easily visible throughout the city and covered an area of 16 acres. They dominated the skyline of Lower Manhattan. The twin towers of the World Trade Center dominated the skyline of Manhattan from the time they were completed in 1973 until that fateful day of September 11, 2001 when they were brought down by two passenger aircrafts under the control of terrorist hijackers. The World Trade Center was home to 450 businesses and 50,000 workers. About 90,000 visitors a day would come to the World Trade Center to see the views from the observation decks or the rooftop promenade at Two World Trade Center.

The twin towers of the World Trade Center were more than just buildings. They were the embodiment of New York City. Built at a time when New York’s future seemed uncertain, the towers restored confidence and helped bring a halt to the decline of lower Manhattan. Brash, glitzy, and grand, they quickly became symbols of New York. The north tower was opened in Dec. 1970 and the south tower in Jan. 1972; they were dedicated in April 1973. They were the world’s tallest buildings for only a short time, since the Sears Tower in Chicago was completed in May 1973.

September 11, 2001, is a day that remains indelibly etched in the hearts and minds of New Yorkers, Americans, and countless millions of people around the world. Thousands of tourists stream into lower Manhattan daily to observe the work at Ground Zero, the site of the former World Trade Center. Five towers are under construction and are scheduled to open soon. While the construction is going on there is a walkway around the perimeter that allows visitors to pay their respects.

The Tribute WTC 9/11 Gallery offers walking tours around the perimeter of the WTC construction site. While they don’t go anywhere that you couldn’t walk on your own, what you do get is a tour guide who has a personal connection to the events of 9/11 and a story to tell. They can also point things out, which is useful as the WTC site is essentially just a big hole in the ground with lots of construction equipment around it.

While at Ground Zero, it is recommend to visit St. Paul’s Chapel on Broadway and Fulton. During the horrific events of 9/11, crowds of people, including friends and families of victims as well as international visitors, began leaving mementos on the fence in front of the chapel. The St. Paul’s staff quickly erected a temporary wall on their front and side fences for all of the items. This “wall of memories” grew into an amazing impromptu memorial. People attached thousands of posters, flags, signs, mementos and personal belongings of the loved ones that were lost in the disaster. Unfortunately, the church has removed the wall and placed the mementos in storage. The church does offer an exhibit commemorating the many rescue workers that sought respite and solace in the chapel during the long cleanup operation.

World Trade Center site is located in Lower Manhattan. Unlike the rest of New York City, Ground Zero is respectfully quiet. As busy and loud as New York City tends to be, Ground Zero is very sedate and calm.

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